The seven-year itch usually implies a level of unhappiness or dissatisfaction, but for two Cincinnati startup accelerator programs, turning seven has inspired exciting and positive changes.
In 2010, The Brandery began an accelerator program to leverage the marketing and branding talent in the Greater Cincinnati region. Since then, 66 graduates have completed the program. Last month, The Brandery announced a new focus for future cohorts, emphasizing Digitally-Native Full Stack Products and startups that support those companies.
“We are playing to our strengths as an accelerator,” says Justin Rumao, program manager at The Brandery. "The expertise of our mentors, our most supportive and engaged venture capitalists/investors and the work our creative agency partners do with consumer brands every single day. Bringing in 8-10 companies that our accelerator can better speak to and support makes all the difference, both during the program and after.”
The Brandery is looking for companies that have built a physical product that they sell primarily online; startups that use artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and analytics to connect digital and physical shopping; and marketing technologies focusing on CRM, mobile marketing, analytics and sales technologies.
“We’re seeing a higher quality of application, as the companies applying now understand the value of our relationships with P&G, Kroger and other bigcos in town,” Rumao says. “Investors know Cincinnati is the place to launch a consumer brand, so the firms that are investing in this space have already taken an active interest in the region. They expect great things from The Brandery as the opportunity to invest in startups that are disrupting the Consumer Goods space grows across the country.”
The first class with this new emphasis will start June 20; applications are being accepted through April 29.
Bad Girl Ventures
Bad Girl Ventures started in 2010 to provide capital investment to small, female-owned startups. Last week, the incubator announced a new name and brand: Aviatra Accelerators.
“We saw the female entrepreneur evolve from an edgy, bootstrapping entrepreneur into a corporate woman who is leaving a really big job to pursue her dream,” says Nancy Aichholz, president and CEO of Aviatra. “Changing the name to a more mature, professional name meets women where they are and brands us as a more substantial player in the ecosystem of startup organizations.”
The rebranding was driven by research conducted by Northern Kentucky University and Lindner Women in Business. Brand evolution agency Hyperquake conducted additional market research and to help craft the new brand.
“Aviatrix, or female pilots, stood for pride and strength,” says Holly Shoemaker, creative director at Hyperquake. “The name embodies the feeling of moving forward, confidence, passion, strength and drive.”
The name — Aviatra — combines two Latin words: avis for bird and atria, meaning open to the sky.
“Our mission has not changed,” says Aichholz. “We just need to do it differently now than we did in the past because women have changed and the ecosystem has changed. ‘Ventures’ in the original name only represented part of our work. We do so much more. We help women from ideation to exit and everything in between. We’re here to help all women entrepreneurs, not just women who have come through our programs. Aviatra Accelerators has become a resource center for all women entrepreneurs.”
The first class of Aviatras will graduate in May.