On September 21st, we had a big week with the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund Annual Meeting. As many of you know, this meeting would be my last as Fund Manager. I couldn’t help but to sit back and reflect on the enormous progress we’ve made together in a short period of time.
Three years ago, we held our first meeting with a big goal in mind: make Cincinnati the premier destination in Midwest for startups. Our strategy was simple: get connected. We believed that a key driver of growth in our ecosystem was getting our talent-fueled community access to venture capitalists and startups around the world. Furthermore, we wanted to support the corporations in our community, which we nicknamed “BigCos,” by providing them access to the best thought leaders and innovations.
Today, the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund is partnered with 12 top-tier venture capital firms who have invested in nearly 300 startup companies. Beyond the fund’s financial performance, it has proven to be a key driver of growth in the ecosystem: our local startups have connections and visibility to hundreds of venture capital sources. Our BigCos are telling us that our efforts have helped them remain at the forefront of innovative ideas and products. Best of all, startups and BigCos alike are better able to recruit and retain premier talent than ever before.
Hosting FounderCon next month is the quintessential proof that #StartupCincy has made a name for itself on the national, and even international, entrepreneurial stage. For those of you who don’t know, FounderCon is an annual, multi-day gathering that hosts hundreds of TechStars startup founders from around the world. TechStars, the preeminent global ecosystem to support startups from “idea to IPO,” will provide two days of rich programming and networking opportunities to the world’s most promising entrepreneurs, right here in our own backyard.
It is the proverbial “Woodstock of Entrepreneurship,” where stars and upstarts alike convene to learn, explore and bond with one another, and with us. As my good friend, partner, and Cintrifuse CEO, Wendy S. Lea so eloquently stated in her recent editorial, Cincinnati’s rich history of entrepreneurship and shared family and community values make it the perfect place to host such an event. Hosting FounderCon is a wonderful testament to the efforts of many people – too many to mention – that put #StartupCincy on the map.
While I am excited about what this event says about our past efforts, I am even more excited about what hosting FounderCon says about our future, and the future of the Midwest region. I am convinced now more than ever that the Midwest is the next “Entrepreneurial Frontier,” and that our community is well-positioned to lead it.
In regards to the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund, I am honored to pass the torch to the very capable hands of Sarah Anderson. Sarah will no doubt deepen the connections we’ve made. To our friends and partners at the BigCos, I challenge us to find new opportunities to innovate together. And to our entrepreneurs, keep thinking big. Better yet, think even bigger.
My work in the community is far from finished. In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing details about my next frontier, and my vision for the future of our region with you. For now, to honor the efforts of the many who have helped us get this far, and in anticipation of all who will help us build the future, I leave you with the legendary performance of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969. His festival-closing set was not only a culmination of Woodstock, it shaped the sounds and images of a cultural movement we remember almost 50 years later.
Schigel is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship as chairman and founder of ShareThis, the world’s largest sharing network. He was previously with Blue Chip Venture Company, where he led the firm’s investment in marketing and technology leaders such as Advertising.com (AOL/TW), Nielsen Buzzmetrics (Nielsen) and Third Screen Media (AOL/TW). Prior to Blue Chip, Schigel was an entrepreneur and international consultant leading innovative projects for Apple Computer, Hitachi, Hallmark Cards, Motorola and Procter & Gamble. Schigel earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. You can read more about Tim’s work on his blog If Then Riff