The Brandery in 2017: What's new? What's better?

Applications for The Brandery’s 2017 class are officially open!

Like any other company, tech or startup, the smart-minded people from Cincinnati’s oldest startup accelerator have some fresh ideas to keep them at the forefront of nationally ranked accelerators.

To learn more about what went into the decision to sharpen the focus of the already successful model, we sat down with Tony Alexander, general manager at The Brandery.

Word of The Brandery’s new focus has been out about a week. What’s the best feedback you’ve heard?

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 3.26.55 PMTony: “This is a no-brainer,” one person said. It is, but there were many good reasons we couldn’t get this focused in the past. We’ve been on a seven-year journey to get to the point where we can finally get laser-tuned to what The Brandery, and Cincinnati, is uniquely suited to do.

Is the focus at The Brandery truly “new?” Or is it a type of “tightening of the lens?”

T: It’s more “tightening the lens.” The type of companies we are looking for are not new to us. Most of the examples in our press release were Brandery graduates (see here). What is new is the discipline to not take other fantastic companies if they don’t fit into what we’re going after. We’re all in on this track.

Can you explain anything different in the inner-workings of The Brandery in ’17? Business as usual still?

T: We’re always learning and growing (I hope!). The inner workings have not changed much but you will certainly see changes to the program itself as Justin Rumao (Program Manager) goes into his second program. For the first one, he was following a playbook he didn’t write. Now he knows enough to write his own. We’re also re-thinking how we deal with Demo Day and some other things. I’d describe it as a (hopefully) great evolution of something that was already working pretty well.

What are you hoping this year’s applicants bring that past years may not have?

T: More traction. In the past we’ve taken companies that were just too early to raise funding right out of the program. The VC climate is different now than even 2015. We need companies that are further along so the expectation is aligned with the reality of raising capital in 2017.

What is your shortest, really concise description of the “ideal candidate?” (We know the process is complicated!)

T: Talented team, product in market, have raised seed round, have revenue and growing, having trouble raising an A-round because to the VCs they “aren’t quite ready” – with our resources and partnerships, we’ll take them the rest of the way.

Anything else different we should expect as this class moves through the process to Demo Day?

T: As with every Brandery class, expect cool people doing really cool stuff!

Final thoughts?

T: The Brandery is stronger because of the support of Cintrifuse, CincyTech, and all of StartupCincy. The one big ask I have for anyone reading this is to SEND GREAT COMPANIES OUR WAY! Ninety percent of running a great accelerator program is getting great companies from the start. If we nail that, the rest of the year should be pretty smooth sailing (or as smooth as it could be!).

Do you have a startup you’d like to refer? Do that here.

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