“I understand the value that startups can bring to big corporations. I understand how Greater Cincinnati Region is uniquely positioned to get this done.”
David Hollabaugh has spent his career on both sides of the fence. The past five years as a serial entrepreneur for a handful of StartupCincy companies. And before that — on the corporate side of the line working for a Fortune 500 company in Cincinnati. Hollabaugh joined the Cintrifuse team in early May as the Product Director of Spry Labs.
“Our region is primed to be this connection point,” says Hollabaugh. “Because of the participation from BigCos, growth of StartupCincy and work from Cintrifuse we have seen a successful convergence between the corporate and startup worlds.”
Hollabaugh’s product experience with both BigCos and startups brings the Cintrifuse team unique value and a new perspective into business building from which members and partners will greatly benefit.
When Hollabaugh thinks about what effect he hopes to have on the team and the ecosystem, he wants to focus on volume of startup pilots — even more than their success rates. This means more projects with Spry Labs, more exposure to big companies for our startups and more connection points throughout our ecosystem.
“We need to see more pilots, more insights, more learning experiences,” says Hollabaugh. “BigCos need to spend more and more time working with startups, even with the risk of potential failure. Their are invaluable insights that nearly every one of these companies have, and it’s critical for BigCos to capture them.”
As Hollabaugh points out, nine out of 10 startups “fail” in any given market, but that one success can be business-altering.
“I want to be a partner that enables MORE BigCos to be MORE agile and take MORE risks with startups here in our ecosystem,” Hollabaugh added.
The BigCo Innovation team saw David’s expertise as experiences as the ideal tool to prime the pump of local corporate engagement.
“Our whole team has known David for a long time,” says Emily Geiger, VP of BigCo Innovation at Cintrifuse. “When the position opened up, I knew right away that David was the type of guy that roll up his sleeves, stir the pot and dig into the venture builder model feet first. He’s made an impact on the ecosystem — a natural builder who’s done it before.”
Prior to joining Cintrifuse, Hollabaugh spent five years in the local startup space, most recently as the Founder and CEO of Picnic Insights, a member of Uptech’s Class 6. Hollabaugh built Picnic Insights to simplify the unknowns and intangibles of software planning by bringing fresh and valuable insights to stop potential software failures before any line of code has been written.
Before his time at Picnic, Hollabaugh was the Head of Product and Business Development at ChoreMonster — another StartupCincy company that previously went through the Disney Accelerator. This stint was preceded by helping launch another startup called Candidly, a peer to peer photography platform, in their first five cities.
“When I was given the opportunity to work alongside the team at ChoreMonster (especially after they went through the Disney Accelerator), I learned how critical relationships with big corporations were not only to the success of our business, but to the success of the BigCos as well,” says Hollabaugh. “This is obviously something I hope to impart upon startups that I get to work with from my position at Cintrifuse.”
Before commiting to a career in the startup world, David held a number of positions in the business analyst team at Great American Insurance Group. David says his time at Great American allowed him to learn the pace of a large, global organization.
“You can’t just call a BigCo slow,” said Hollabaugh. “They’re not slow, they just have different problems to solve at scale. They can’t react as rapidly as a startup might be able to. This is exactly why they need to partner with startups to uncover rapid bits of learning for them. Again, engagements provide critical learnings, regardless of eventual success.”
Hollabaugh will work with both the Cintrifuse and Spry Labs teams in his role, engaging corporations on the innovation side and plugging startups through pre-existing programs and systems at Cintrifuse.