It was great to see so many of our startups at the Cintrifuse member gathering August, 11th. The event was an opportunity to get a preview of Union Hall (which is looking awesome) and it was an opportunity to look forward to Cintrifuse’s H2 goals.
For H2, Cintrifuse is focusing on our three core member services – startup talent, customer connections, and funding connections. We identified these services as the main engine that will drive #StartupCincy and the most crucial services for our member entrepreneurs. We’ll keep doing all the other stuff but we really want to knock these initiatives out of the park. Cintrifuse will also be looking to our Syndicate Fund to help strengthen and support these three services.
Because we have a strong belief in transparency, here’s an overview of what we’re looking to do in the last half of 2015.
[pullquote]Our goal is to develop startup talent in the region; both entrepreneurs and those who want to work for a startup – Jordan Vogel, Startup Talent Lead[/pullquote]
The startup talent initiative is designed to develop and educate entrepreneurs and those who want to work for startups. The goal is to attract, immerse and connect people interested in the startup world to the resources they need to be successful. We’ve identified five critical success factors that will increase the impact of our Startup Talent initiative.
Educational institutions are where startup talent is grown and Cincinnati has four great universities to tap into. While these universities are already engaged and supportive of #StartupCincy, Cintrifuse wants to strengthen the bond we’ve already developed with them.
Big Tech Companies
Big Tech companies have a presence in every successful startup ecosystem. For H2, we want to establish relationships with companies like Microsoft, Pivotal and Box and get them to deliver discounted services and educational opportunities for our members. The long play – get one or more of these companies to establish a physical presence in Cincinnati. We’ve already made some headway with IBM.
Entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know. Cintrifuse wants to fix that. Based off H1 member feedback, we’ll offer more educational events for startups in the market entry and growth stages as well as continue to offer broad appeal events for everyone. For startups in the ideation and incubation stage, we’ll be increasing the scope of and engagement with our Advisor Network and Mentorship Program.
We want to make it easier for startups that are ready to build a team to access great talent. In H2, we’ll be increasing our effort to identify, place and re-circulate top-talent in #StartupCincy. And if you need talent or are looking for job with a startup, be sure to follow our Cintrifuse Jobs Twitter account or visit our job board.
Startup Advocate Program
Startups need different help during different points in their life-cycle. We do a great job helping startups in the ideation and incubation stages but we could do better for startups in the growth and scale stage. Our goal is to develop a startup advocate program that delivers the right help to the startups in this later stage.
[pullquote]Our goal is to introduce startups to potential game-changing customers and to be a trusted innovation resource for our BigCos. – Katie Austing, Customer Connections Lead [/pullquote]
Our Customer Connections initiative looks to introduce startups to our BigCo partners in the hopes of giving our members access to potential customers. The program was very successful in H1 and we identified three critical success factors that will help the initiative grow.
In H2, we want to focus on engagement with the Cincinnati corporations who have already shown in interest in our Customer Connections initiative. We’ll look to strengthen our relationships with investors in the Syndicate Fund, BigCos engaged with the Corporate Innovation Network and BigCos that have identified cross-functional leaders.
Just like entrepreneurs, BigCos don’t know what they don’t know. We want to help educate them on current tech strategies and help them articulate what solutions they need from our startups.
Corporate Innovation Network
There are several corporations in town involved with our Innovation Network. We want to make sure we’re communicating effectively and efficiently with all the people in this network.
[pullquote]Funding Connections provides education, structure and introductions to help venture-ready startups develop a network of VCs and close funding rounds – Tim Schigel, Syndicate Fund Manager[/pullquote]
Cintrifuse’s funding connections program is pivotal for helping startups receive the funding they need to grow and scale. We are constantly looking for opportunities to educate, connect and help startups close funding rounds. There are two H2 critical success factors for our Funding Connections initiative.
We try to introduce venture-ready startups to as many VCs as possible. While this helps our entrepreneurs grow their VC network, we need to better communicate the feedback we receive from VCs after these introductions. This will help our member entrepreneurs be better prepared for their next meeting.
[pullquote]The Syndicate Fund is designed to increase the amount of venture capital activity in Greater Cincinnati and create financial returns for our investors – Tim Schigel, Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund Manager[/pullquote]
The Cintrifuse Fund is, and always will be, an integral part of our funding connections program. The fund’s activity constantly brings VCs into Cincinnati and increases our national profile (It even makes other ecosystems jealous). But we noticed we can increase the effectiveness of the fund and better leverage the resources it creates. In H2, Cintrifuse will look to utilize the Syndicate Fund to provide greater value to our members and supporters.
For Customer Connections, we’ll be introducing more of the fund’s portfolio companies to our BigCos in an effort to educate them and warm them up to digital innovation. For Talent Connections, we’ll bring in more CEOs from our portfolio companies to interact with our startup’s founders. Both of these actions will increase the effectiveness of our three core services and continue to increase #StartupCincy’s national reputation.
Onward to 2016
The second half of 2015 will be an exciting time for our ecosystem. The Cintrifuse team is looking forward to continuing the success we saw in H1 and helping drive #StartupCincy into the new year.