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Innovation News

Crossroads community providing fertile ground for entrepreneurs with Unpolished, Ocean Accelerator

Crossroads Church, already known as one of the biggest and most influential churches in the Cincinnati area, has begun to make more of an impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in 2014. 
 
Previously, Soapbox reported about the Unpolished initiative, which began in June 2013 as a grassroots group of Crossroads members gathering together to “encourage, educate and engage aspiring entrepreneurs.”
 
Since then the group has hosted a handful of events, which have attracted anywhere from several hundred to several thousand people, held office hours to provide members with free legal, marketing and tech advice, and begun offering “coworking” days at Crossroads for entrepreneurs to work side by side and learn from one another.
 
Now, some of the same people spearheading Unpolished are starting a new, high-tech accelerator called Ocean. Tim Metzner of Differential, Chad Reynolds of Baterii and Tim Brunk of Cladwell have come together as the leadership team of the project.
 
“From a high level, what we’re trying to do is more than just throw companies toward exit,” Brunk says. “We want to build a company that comes along with great founders, trains them how to build great businesses.”
 
Brunk, Metzner and Reynolds, all founders of their respective companies, have promised that Ocean will be unique among other accelerators in the region.
 
“We have this bond because of our faith and because we’ve been participating in Unpolished together,” Brunk says. “The group allows us to have conversations that we couldn’t have in other groups.”
 
The launch date for Ocean is tentatively set for January 2015, with applications for the first class opening late summer/early fall of this year. In addition to the faith-based component, Ocean’s accelerator format will be different in that it is a six-month program, with Demo Day—the day that the accelerator’s companies present to investors—arriving in the middle of the program, as opposed to at the end.
 
“Our philosophy is that a rising tide lifts all boats,” Brunk says. “I hope that in the longterm, this accelerator can contribute to that rising tide by pumping more successful companies into the Cincinnati ecyosystem.”
 
By Mike Sarason
 
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