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Innovation News

Roadtrippers employees launch Side Project Cincinnati, start urban garden

Roadtrippers, the Cincinnati travel-based startup, can’t seem to stay out of the news. The app-based company was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 50 best websites of 2014 for its easy-to-use interface that allows users to plan trips and includes curated descriptions of hidden gems along the way. It also recently raised $2.8 million in venture funding and is now up to 47 total employees, making it one of the largest companies to graduate from the local accelerator the Brandery.
 
Now, two Roadtrippers employees, Chelsea Koglmeier and Matt Fulton, have partnered together to create Side Project Cincinnati, a meetup group for the rapidly expanding tech and entrepreneur community in Cincinnati.
 
“We decided that we want Roadtrippers to be more of a focal point for innovation discussion happening in Cincinnati right now,” Koglmeier says. “We want to open up our space and create an environment, not just for Roadtrippers employees, where people can share and explore creative ideas.”
 
Koglmeier is not looking to create another avenue for businesses to pitch ideas, but rather wants hackers, tinkerers and creative thinkers to come share their side projects and ideas.
 
“We’re doing these meetings about every quarter,” Koglmeier says. “We give each presenter five minutes to talk about their project and then 10 minutes to answer questions. We want to help foster that creative community and maybe even help people find collaborators for their projects.”
 
After doing very little advertising, the group has already grown to more than 150 online members, and meetings have drawn 40 to 60 people. The next meeting for Side Project Cincinnati is Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Roadtrippers headquarters.
 
As if this weren’t enough, the actual building Roadtrippers occupies, on McMicken in the Brewery District of Over-the-Rhine, has recently gotten a bit of an upgrade. First, Artworks has just finished a brand new mural on the building. Second, Koglmeier, with the help of friends and family, has planted a garden right next to the mural.
 
“We were going to just pave over the lot, and I asked our CEO, James, to give me until the winter to try to turn it into a garden,” Koglmeier says. “Thankfully, he said yes. So I raised money to build it out and had a lot of help setting it up. Now, every few days I harvest kale, chard, hot and sweet peppers, rosemary and more and just leave them on the counter for our employees to take home.” Even neighborhood kids have pitched in to help tend the garden.
 
Koglmeier created a group to chart the progress of the garden; you can follow it here.

Read more articles by Mike Sarason.

Mike Sarason is the Innovation News Editor for Soapbox Media. In addition, he is a musician, traveler, food enthusiast and thinker. He loves the city of Cincinnati and is happy to be able to report on the rapid strides forward it is taking. 
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