#StartupCincy by the Numbers 2.0

When I joined Cintrifuse as an intern last semester it was a fantastic learning experience to be immersed in all things #StartupCincy! Among the many initiatives I helped the Cintrifuse team with, one was taking a census of our ecosystem. As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I found the results of our survey fascinating. This effort actually began late 2014/early 2015 when Cintrifuse created a common taxonomy to profile each startup and understand aggregate statistics about the region’s startup businesses.

In September we conducted version 2.0 of this initiative. Things in the startup world move very quickly and we need to keep up. Understanding the #StartupCincy landscape helps us allocate our resources so we can more effectively grow our community. Cintrifuse is no different than any other business implementing data schemes and we think it’s important to understand and communicate a “State of #StartupCincy” based on real stats. Below you can find a link to a Google spreadsheet with all the stats we used for this post.


As outlined below, we kept all the taxonomy fields the same but added other “business demographic” fields to round out our knowledge of each startup, and therefore, the region.

Cintrifuse Taxonomy:

• Industry – Broad classification of a business’ product or service.
• Innovation Category – Describes the benefit and ultimate business reason for working with a startup.
• Solution Category/Sub-category – Describes the type of technology and/or use case a startup provides in specific categories and related sub-categories.
• Buyer Type – The purchaser and/or beneficiary of a business’ product or service.
• End-user Type – The consumer of a business’ product or service.
• Functional Category – The specific line of business that would implement a solution, if applicable.
• Tech Deployment Method – How a startup closes a transaction and/or distributes a solution to its customers.
• Investment Stage and Funds Raised to Date – The most recent funding round received.

Business Demographics:

• Date founded – The age of the company, in months, based off their founding date.
• Product Development Lifecycle – This one is really important as no one has ever asked this question. Report the answers and make sure to say what the options are
• Total number of employees and total employees in Cincinnati – Tracks how many jobs are being created in Cincinnati.
• Founder/Leadership Team – Helps us understand the average number of leaders per team, functions represented per team, and startup experience for each team.
• Minority-owned businesses – We wanted to know totals and specific types of minorities represented.

To capture this information we surveyed our 216 members (at the time – this number is always going up which is the sign of a healthy ecosystem), of which 132 startups, or about 60% of our portfolio, responded.

In this blog, similar to Kevin Mackey’s posts last year, I outline and analyze the statistics behind Cincinnati’s growing startup community.

With that context, let’s jump into the specifics!


1. Information Technology/Software: 29% (38)
2. Consumer Products & Services: 18% (24)
3. Entertainment & Media: 7% (9)


The first two are no surprise. With Cincinnati’s growing tech-based economy, and with many of the region’s BigCos in the CPG industry, it makes sense for Cincinnati startups to favor these verticals. However, we were surprised to see the Entertainment & Media category rose two spots since the last analysis conducted six months ago.

This shift demonstrates the accuracy we gained by having startups classify themselves (versus us doing it for them). For instance, our initial survey was biased toward “software” (almost 60%) but half of those startups told us they were in different industries, even if they are tech-enabled.

Solution & Sub-Solution Categories

This category helps us understand exactly what a startup does. In other words, what solution can a customer expect from a startup’s product or service?

To go a couple levels deeper than “industry”, Cintrifuse created a list of 26 solution categories and 91 sub-solution categories. These lists are not comprehensive – many startups had a difficult time selecting one category that exactly fit their product/service – but asking for each company to select their primary category does point us in the right direction.

1. Collaboration/Productivity Tool: 11% (15)
2. Big Data Analytics: 9% (12)
3. Peer to Peer Marketplace: 8% (11)
4. Marketing Automation/CMS: 8% (10)
5. Consumer Packaged Goods: 7% (9)

Similar to what we saw with “industry”, there was some movement in the top five. For example, while Collaboration/Productivity Tool and Marketing Automation/CMS stayed the same, we saw a shift from Big Data Analytics and CPG to Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces.


The following is a breakdown of the sub-categories for each “solution”:

Collaboration/Productivity Tool

1. Messaging and Communication: 53% (8)
2. Scheduling: 13% (2)
3. Cross-Functional Management: 7% (1)
4. Document Management: 7% (1)
5. Logistics & Supply Chain Management: 7% (1)
6. Employee Engagement: 7% (1)
7. Task Management: 7% (1)

Big Data Analytics

1. Business Intelligence: 56% (10)
2. Data Integration: 28% (5)
3. Data Visualization: 11% (2)
4. Geo-location/Geo-mapping: 6% (1)

Peer to Peer Marketplace

1. Goods: 62% (8)
2. Services: 38% (5)
Marketing Automation/CMS
1. Campaign Management: 38% (3)
2. Social Media Marketing: 25% (2)
3. Advertising: 13% (1)
4. Content Marketing: 13% (1)
5. Social Commerce: 13% (1)

Consumer Packaged Goods

1. Electronics & Accessories: 45% (5)
2. Food/Beverage: 27% (3)
3. Household Items: 9% (1)
4. Other: 9% (1)
5. Toys: 9% (1)

Buyer Type & End-user Type

Having helped with Cintrifuse’s Customer Connections program, I came to appreciate how important the distinction is between “buyer type” and “end-user type”.

Buyer type is pretty straightforward – it’s the person or entity actually paying for your product or service. The common classifications for Buyer Types are Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C), or a hybrid of both, meaning a paying base of consumers/users can be further monetized by selling data or something else of value to a business. Choremonster is a great example of a hybrid business.

About 60% of startups are B2B with an additional 33% self-selecting as a “hybrid”. Only 21% are pure B2C.

buyer type

Because local BigCos look to Cintrifuse for innovation sourcing, it’s important to understand which products/services can be consumed by said BigCo versus those that would benefit their customers. That’s why we created a category for “end-user type”.

According to our survey, 48% of our startups’ end-users are businesses and 52% are individual consumers.

end user

Tech Deployment Method

1. Cloud and Mobile: 40% (53)
2. Website Only: 19% (25)
3. E-commerce: 14% (19)
4. Cloud Only: 9% (12)
5. Mobile Only: 6% (8)
Besides describing what a product does via “solution category”, we also wanted to focus on how customers access our startups’ products/services. “Tech deployment method” describes the how.

Having the largest contingent of startups offering products via cloud and mobile makes sense because of our high percentage of B2B and hybrid buyer types outlined in the last section. Customers are increasingly expecting “tech deployment” to be versatile, and it seems #StartupCincy companies are giving it to them.

The second largest group, website only, is reflective of a company’s stage in that many pre-revenue/bootstrap companies are still building their product so, at the moment, they are considered “website only”.
tech deployment method

Investment Stage and Funds Raised to Date

1. Bootstrap: 39% (52)
2. Seed: 27% (36)
3. Pre-seed/Angel: 23% (31)
4. Series A: 5% (7)
5. Series B+: 2% (3)
I found it surprising that 39% of #StartupCincy’s companies are bootstrapped, meaning the founders created the company with little to no capital or financed the entire operation themselves. Furthermore, the majority of our respondents are in either the pre-seed or seed round stages of funding.

Overall, 68 startups told us they raised (including personal money invested for Bootstrapped startups) a total of $73,069,585. The averages per stage are as follows:

• Bootstrap: $176,000
• Pre-seed/Angel: $100,295
• Seed: $912,290
• Series A: $4.26 million

73% of our startups said they are either currently looking or will be looking for investments within the next six months, creating great opportunities for investors to jump in our fast-growing community.

Important note: These numbers are not meant to provide a comprehensive analysis of the ecosystem but rather a directional overview based on startups that responded to our survey.

investment stage
Date Founded

Surprisingly we never captured the date our startups were founded. In this survey we did and learned the average age of a #StartupCincy business is 31 months.

For context, Crunchbase data shows the average age for a company to be acquired is about 7 years and roughly 8.5 years for a company to IPO.

Product Development Lifecycle

1. V1 Release: 36% (48)
2. Working Prototype/Pre-launch: 19% (25)
3. Multiple Verticals: 11% (15)
4. Private Beta/MVP: 11% (15)
5. Non-technical Prototype: 9% (11)

In the past, Cintrifuse relied on the State of Ohio’s terms to determine a startup’s lifecycle. You may recall the nomenclature:

• Imagining
• Incubating
• Demonstrating
• Market Entry
• Growth and Sustainability

No one understood what these terms meant so our data was always very inconsistent. We’re now going to use “business demographic” fields to determine where startups are on the State’s continuum (note: some elements not listed in this blog. (Click here to see complete list of fields.)

“Product development lifecycle” is one of the most important elements as it’s always evolving for a startup.

Per the stats above, most startups have either just left beta or are about to enter beta. 11% in the “multiple vertical” category represent companies that have found product-market fit and have transitioned into several markets. We want to see this number increase!

prod ev cycle
Total Number of Employees and Total Number of Employees in Cincinnati

Our local startups employ 757 people or 6 per company in Cincinnati and, in aggregate, #StartupCincy businesses employ 1,749 people or 13 per company across the country. Which is awesome!


1. First-time Startup Entrepreneur: 132
2. Repeat (2+) Startup Entrepreneur: 110
3. Successfully Raised Funds: 55
4. One startup had exit/liquidity event: 20
5. Multiple startups had exit/liquidity event: 19
One of my favorite parts about the #StartupCincy ecosystem is meeting all of the entrepreneurial leaders in our community.

While most of our entrepreneurs are first-timers, we also have a good amount of entrepreneurs who have started 2 or more companies! They come from diverse backgrounds, and serve a variety of roles in their current startups. On average, there are 2 leaders/founders per startup.

Minority & Woman-Owned Businesses

1. Woman: 13% (17)
2. African American: 9% (12)
3. Hispanic: 4% (5)
4. Asian: 4% (5)
5. Veteran: 3% (4)

34% (45) of #StartupCincy startups are either minority or woman-owned. These 45 startups show us the diverse pool of startup talent in the ecosystem, which is only growing from year to year! Below, you can see the breakdown of minority or woman-owned businesses.

Closing Thought

My closing thought is this: I’m proud to be part of #StartupCincy! It’s really cool to have an organization like Cintrifuse so invested in the success of the region. I was proud to participate as a student and am excited to begin building my career knowing there’s so much support around me. I hope you feel the same way I do! In case you’d like to do your own analysis of our ecosystem, here a like to the aggregate statistics Google Spreadsheets.


Caroline May

Caroline is a Miami University undergraduate studying Psychology, Entrepreneurship, and Management graduating in May 2016.  She is a Cincinnati native, a lover of Skyline, and passionate about the growing #StartupCincy community.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ready for startup support? Join Cintrifuse membership.

Apply Now