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LISNR tech startup partners with CAC for interactive museum experience


Thanks to a new partnership with LISNR audio-technology providers, the Contemporary Arts Center will soon launch a “digital docent” app to help visitors connect more deeply with installations like the current lobby exhibit “Solar Bell Ensemble” by artist Tomás Saraceno, which will run through June 18.

The app will be activated and powered by LISNR and will feature exclusive content, messages and experiences, including a personal greeting from the artist. Visitors can download the app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Pre-loaded content is then unlocked as they explore the exhibit.

“For the visitor, it's about the experience,” says LISNR co-founder Chris Ostoich. “You get to hear directly from the artist, and the app brings to life the exhibit in ways that the physical world won't allow you to. For example, the exhibit that is installed in the lobby is actually built to fly — you can be standing in front of the artwork, and then in the app you can be simultaneously watching video of that same exhibit flying through the sky.”

The idea for the partnership was born from last year’s ArtsWave “tech hackathon,” a problem-solving event that brought together the region’s most talented tech, design, marketing and creative professionals to solve real-time business problems in the arts sector.

“A participant in the event had the idea to use LISNR technology to enhance the visitor experience,” says Ostoich, who co-hosted the event. “We launched version one of the app in the winter and rolled out more formally last month.”

Ostoich and fellow co-founder Rodney Williams started LISNR in early 2012 with four other members of the local startup scene. Since then, the company has raised millions in investments and garnered international recognition, with accolades that include being named among Extreme Tech Challenge’s “Top 25” and Consumer Electronics Show’s “Top Software Product in 2017.”

Similar to Bluetooth, LISNR links digital devices, but instead of relying on radio waves, LISNR’s technology uses inaudible sound waves — a process that proponents say is faster, more efficient and more sustainable, as it requires less battery power than its traditional alternative.

Organizers say the CAC partnership is just the beginning. Whether users are attending a sporting event, visiting a museum or unlocking their car, fairly soon all those experiences could be powered by LISNR technology.

“There are myriad ways organizations can use our technology to revolutionize their business,” says Ostoich. “For example, we are working with arts organizations and venues to re-invent their ticketing process. Instead of spending money on paper tickets or expensive bar code scanners, a Smart Tone could be used as an audio ticket. We replace scanners, paper and the need to wait in line at the box office.”
 


Pipeline H2O member engages in program, continues partnership with University of Kentucky

 

Lexington-based PowerTech Water, part of the inaugural Pipeline H2O class, formed to commercialize a water treatment technology developed at the University of Kentucky.

 

“We are looking forward to exploring Pipeline’s strong network and plugging into the ‘city as lab’ model to further test and validate our systems,” says Cameron Lippert, CEO of PTW.

The water purification system developed by PTW removes dissolved salts, minerals and metals such as sodium, calcium and lead from water supplies through de-ionization. Its proprietary system runs water through stacks of porous carbon and titanium plates where carbon electrodes remove the ions, cleaning the water as it moves through the system.

 

“Our system uses low energy, and has no filters to replace,” Lippert says. “The technology requires less maintenance, requires no anti-foulant chemicals, has a long lifetime and therefore will have substantially lower capital and operational costs than competing solutions.”

PTW is in the process of scaling up its module to be able to process one gallon of water per minute. The startup is also continuing to partner with the University of Kentucky.

“We have access to the scientist and engineers that developed the IP to answer any technical questions we may have, and if need be, we have access to lab space and instrumentation,” Lippert says.

The carbon electrode system can be used to clean water for disposal after being used in industrial processes, as well as reclaim water for re-use. In addition, the process is reversible and the system itself is renewable, providing significant cost savings in energy usage and replacing filters.

“We achieve a lower cost of treatment without the use of added chemicals, membranes or consumables, yielding a 60 percent reduction in cost, a 70 percent reduction in energy consumption, a 90 percent reduction in maintenance time and a 40 percent increase in water efficiency,” Lippert says.

Currently, PTW is targeting clients in the food and beverage industry, particularly distilleries and beverage bottlers.

“We are actively producing commercial prototypes that are being tested by potential customers for pilot and demo testing,” Lippert says. “Meanwhile, we are looking for pilot customers and strategic partners that can help reduce the time it takes to get to market.”

In addition to PTW, the Pipeline cohort includes two other water purification systems, Searen and WEL Enterprise.

“We are talking with both parties to see if we can all do a pilot together,” Lippert says. “Searen targets solids and VOCs, not dissolved solids or ions, and WEL is more of an engineering firm that installs technologies.”

Like several other cohort members, PTW is only on site in Hamilton each month during the week of classes and programming. Pipeline cohort members are then given assignments to work on during their time away from the program.

“Luckily the homework for Pipeline aligns well with the needed duties of running a startup,” Lippert says. “So it is a complementary process.”

Read profiles of other Pipeline members Searen, ANDalyze, kW Hydroelectric and WaterStep International

 


'Engaged' local orgs win big at Cincinnati Neighborhood Summit


Five Cincinnati grassroots organizations each received $10,000 in city grants to fund their innovative ideas at the 2017 Engage Cincy Grant Awards ceremony. The event took place last weekend at Xavier’s Cintas Center as part of the annual Cincinnati Neighborhood Summit.

The annual Neighborhood Summit is presented by Invest in Neighborhoods, in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, the Community Building Institute, LISC and the CDC Association of Greater Cincinnati. Hundreds of community leaders, volunteers, city officials and nonprofit professionals were on hand for day-long discussions focused on helping groups work more effectively to improve the quality of life across Greater Cincinnati.

More than 120 applicants submitted proposals for this year’s Engage Cincy grants. The field was then narrowed down to 10 finalists by a selection committee. City Manager Harry Black reviewed the committee’s recommendations before awarding grants of $10,000 each to the following projects:

Healthy Food for All Northsiders
Project leads: Churches Active in Northside (CAIN), Apple Street Market Cooperative Grocery Story and the Northside Farmers Market
This group’s mission is to build community through food-sharing by offering quarterly community meals and cooking demonstrations based on healthy, affordable recipes that use ingredients from community gardens and farmers’ markets.

Just Hire Me
Project lead: Lawrence Jones
This staffing platform offers a website and mobile app that works to connect neighborhood teens with businesses that are looking for employees. Participating teens age 14-18 can take part in a four-week job-readiness “boot camp” that helps them effectively interview, establish their own bank account and secure employment in the community.

Physi
Project lead: Marty Boyer
Physi’s state-of-the-art activity platform uses artificial intelligence to promote active lifestyles by connecting like-minded residents based on activities, interests, physical proximity and availability. Physi is available via mobile app and online.

Bridgeable
Project lead: Dani Isaacsohn
Bridgeable organizers collect community data and feedback and alert leaders to the conversations going on in their communities, thereby enabling conversations that lead to healthier relationships, better decisions and stronger communities.

Faces of Homelessness
Project leads: ArtWorks and Strategies to End Homelessness
This public art, public education and community engagement program was designed to encourage empathy and understanding by engaging local agencies and shelters with the populations they serve. The program pairs paid youth apprentices with professional artists on a variety of art and community-building projects that will include a permanent public art mural on Vine Street, in partnership with the Over-the-Rhine Community Housing’s Recovery Hotel.

“Every year it seems that the submissions become more creative in the ways they want to go about making our neighborhoods more engaging places to live,” says City Manager Black, who received unanimous support from the Mayor and City Council for the awards program. “We want that trend to continue for years to come.”

For photos from the event and more information about the Neighborhood Summit, check out the event’s Facebook page.
 


Nonprofit WaterStep International brings third-world water solutions to the U.S.


WaterStep International isn't the traditional accelerator program participant, as it is the only nonprofit organization in the inaugural cohort of Pipeline H2O.

“We are doing things a little backward,” says Mark Hogg, WaterStep's CEO and founder. “Usually, a corporation eventually forms a nonprofit to give back. We’re trying to figure out how we can sell, market and develop a plan for our products that will bring financial strength to our nonprofit.”

As a nonprofit, WaterStep works in developing countries to help communities get access to safe water solutions by providing water purification systems and health education, and by teaching residents how to repair and maintain their own wells. The solutions offered by WaterStep are often technologies it developed with community partners.

“There are so many engineers and innovators who want to be part of our work,” Hogg says. “During the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, we received a call from Project Hope requesting help obtaining bleach. We had developed a chlorine generator for other purposes, but we were able to work with GE and the University of Louisville to develop the product they needed.”

The chlorine generator, also known as the M-100 Chlorinator, was recognized in 2013 by Sustania as one of the 100 most promising solutions and projects in the world. The small device generates chlorine gas, which can be used to kill pathogens in water.

The portable bleach maker also won the New Product of the Year award from Environmental Protection, an online resource for environmental professionals. The device uses water, salt and a 12-volt car battery to make bleach on demand through electrolysis.

WaterStep came to Pipeline for help forming a business and for assistance in developing its latest product, a portable system that can provide safe drinking water in an emergency or disaster.

“The City of Louisville had a couple of major water main breaks and emergency management came to us asking if we had a response to provide safe water fast,” Hogg says.

The solution is a mini water-chlorination plant, about the size of a housekeeping cart at a hotel. WaterStep has already sold several to regional cities, including Louisville and Indianapolis, and is interested in expanding its market to hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities where access to clean water is critical.

In addition to seeking new clients, WaterStep has several other challenges it is exploring through Pipeline. The culture and language of nonprofits and businesses can be quite different, yet Hogg hopes to form a corporation with a culture that will complement WaterStep's existing nonprofit. In addition, WaterStep is learning how to tell its story to investors rather than philanthropists.

“We’ve proven ourselves in the developing world,” Hogg says. “We manufacture our own products. So we’re not coming to this hat in hand. Pipeline takes us seriously and challenges us. Everyone in Pipeline wants to change the world. This is the greatest moment to be working in the water field when we can do things that impact lives now and could still be making a difference in 100 years."

Read profiles of other Pipeline members Searen, ANDalyze and kW Hydroelectric.


kW Hydroelectric works to harness the future of hydroelectricity


Hamilton-based kW River Hydroelectric joined the water accelerator program Pipeline H2O to develop technology that could transform the future of hydroelectric power generation.

“Our module allows significant amounts of power to be extracted from the fall of water over a low-level dam,” says Paul R. Kling, chief operating officer. “This will have a significant worldwide impact in the energy industry, as well as substantial implications for humanitarian efforts supplying power to underdeveloped regions.”

At the center of the module is the Williams Cross-Flow Turbine, which was developed by retired Air Force officer Fred Williams. While working at Cintrifuse, Williams met Kling, who had recently retired from Duke Energy. Together they formed kW Hydroelectric to turn Williams’s invention into a system to generate electricity.

The turbine is designed specifically for low-head dams, weir-like structures that span the width of a river or stream, creating a drop of 1-15 feet in water level. Thousands of these dams were built in the 19th and 20th centuries to power mills, feed canals and improve municipal water supplies. Unfortunately, the dams also create dangerous currents for swimmers and boaters. In addition to generating electricity, the turbine also improves safety for recreational water users.

“The turbine is installed on the downstream side of the dam and the top of the device creates a slope from the top of the dam to the water surface,” Kling says. “The energy we’re taking out is the backflow that made the dams so dangerous. The water not going through the turbine flows over the top, allowing fish, debris and even canoes to travel safely downstream.”

Because most dams are owned by local, state or federal agencies, kW Hydroelectric has developed flexible models for deploying its system. The dam owner may purchase the equipment outright and install it themselves, or have kW Hydroelectric install the system. King and Williams are also working on agreements with dam owners where kW Hydroelectric builds, owns, operates and maintains the system directly. Each system is anticipated to last 30 years and generate enough revenue to cover costs within the first eight years.

This technology will require EPA approval, and less than a month into the Pipeline program, kW Hydroelectric has already started setting up those meetings, as well as meetings with the Department of Commerce and Small Business Administration.

“We need to get more exposure to State of Ohio officials to have them recognize how significant the development of our technology could be for the state as a renewable energy source and a source of new manufacturing jobs,” Kling says. “This is also a great example of academic and industry collaboration within the state, and can further put the state at the center of water resource development.”

kW Hydroelectric tested a laboratory-scale version of the turbine at Central State University and is completing computational fluid dynamics testing there as well. In the coming months, the team plans to implement a fully functional field test with the City of Hamilton.

“Pipeline will force a very high quality ‘investment grade’ focus as our business models and financial projections are further refined and developed,” Kling says. “We will get fantastic exposure to actual investors who will be able to assess the value of our companies using their rigorous tools and comparisons. It’s tough work, but in reality, it's exactly what needs to happen.”

Read profiles of other Pipeline members Searen and ANDalyze.
 

ANDalyze analyzes water contaminants through portable unit


Pipeline H2O, a new water technology accelerator program based at The Hamilton Mill, welcomed its first class last week. The eight cohort members represent local and national companies, including Champaign, Ill.,-based ANDalyze.

“ANDalyze is always on the lookout for ways to build awareness of its technology and meet new customers and water industry VIPs,” says Marty Dugan, the company's chief marketing officer. “We found the application submission invitation online and thought Pipeline looked like something ANDalyze was a great fit for.”

The company grew from technology developed in the chemistry labs at the University of Illinois. Using DNA enzymes, ANDalyze devices can detect and measure water contaminants with portable testing units.

“Existing field test kits are notoriously inaccurate and difficult to use," Dugan says. "You really need to be a trained chemist to use the old-style kits. ANDalyze products are used by water quality professionals in a variety of industries, including municipal drinking water, industrial water processes, environmental water, mining and laboratory testing. The value to these customers is the speed and accuracy of the measurement of testing water on site and the cost savings as compared to testing in a laboratory.”

The U.S. EPA provided a testing and validation report for the portable meters and its sensors in 2014. Since then, ANDalyze has sold 200 meters and more than 100,000 sensors. They're hoping Pipeline will help them grow their existing product, as well as roll out a new product.

“In 2017, we will launch an automated system that can test for two metals concurrently and send test data through a network to warn cities and towns of unacceptable levels of heavy metals in their drinking water,” Dugan says. “Trials are taking place in school systems around the country.”
 
The automated system would be installed at a specific site and run water tests on a set schedule. The results of the tests would be reported through a computer network to the system owner, allowing for consistent monitoring of water safety.
 
“Small companies like ANDalyze always struggle to get noticed,” Dugan says. “We are hoping to learn ways to better use our limited resources to get exposure to customers and strategic partner companies from the Pipeline H2O experience. We are confident that after customers try our product, it will become an integral part of their water quality operations to identify heavy metals in their drinking water supply network and in school buildings.”
 
ANDalyze is also hoping Pipeline’s “region as lab” philosophy will help them find a partner municipality or industrial customer to test their new product.
 
“We hope to understand better the needs of the water utility market,” Dugan says. “We are also looking for insight on how to develop partnerships with larger water technology companies who may be interested in ANDalyze products to sell in their sales channels.”

Read last week's profile of Searen, another Pipeline cohort member, here.
 

UC to host three-day innovation event in March


Starting Thursday, March 2, University of Cincinnati will host a three-day NEXTLIVESHERE: Social Change Innovation Summit. The event, which is the second of its kind to date, will bring together more than 200 local and national thought leaders using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to gain a deeper understanding of the power of "backbone organizations" — groups that drive cross-sector, creative partnerships for collective impact.

NEXTLIVESHERE is unique among conferences. Instead of using the platform to simply disseminate information, the summit pools the collective knowledge of participants to showcase talents, align goals, spark imagination and shape social change.

The conference will break attendees into small groups to better understand what is working and what the contributing problems are in each community and organization. The revelations from these mini sessions will help discover new ways of thinking and involving people, then using those discoveries to design practical actions.

UC’s position in the community places it firmly as a unifier, able to engage existing partners and recruit new ones from a broad spectrum of innovators from the fields of business, industry, philanthropy and community organizations to solve pressing and complex social problems.

Community participants will include representatives from the United Way, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, P&G, Green Umbrella, Success by 6, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Skyward and Cincinnati Public Schools.

A $250,000 National Science Foundation Includes grant will help cover registration and meal costs for participants. Attendees will also receive free parking. For out of town attendees, a two-night stay at the hotel will also be provided.

For more information and to see the full three-day schedule, visit cech.uc.edu or call 513-556-5745. To request an NLH application, email Kaitlyn.Johnson@uc.edu.

Searen develops new technology to remove waste and pollutants from water


Searen is no stranger to the #StartupCincy scene. A graduate of OCEAN’s inaugural class, Searen is now joining the first cohort of the Pipeline H2O water-tech accelerator program based at The Hamilton Mill.

“The OCEAN experience was amazing,” says Emmanuel Briquet, Searen's president and co-founder. “In addition to the extremely inspiring classes, they helped us to build Searen's spiritual identity. Since then, we’ve been busy building the business. Now with Pipeline, we’ll find the best path to market, plus make connections with other startups in our sector.”
 
Searen’s origins go back to when Briquet was stymied by the constant need to remove algae and other pollutants from the water at the fish farm he operated.
 
“In the wild, the density of fish is low and the ecosystem auto regulates itself as water flows,” Briquet says. “In a fish farm, they eat, breathe and excrete in the same water. So you have to keep the water clean so they can thrive.
 
His solution to the problem of waste removal and re-oxygenation evolved into VAL, or the Vacuum AirLift. This technology developed by Searen provides low-energy, low-maintenance water treatment. The device uses vacuums and air pressure to remove particles and toxins from water. There are no filters, no moving parts and no chemicals.
 
“The VAL is a brand new technology, and is one of the rare cases when a more advanced technology is simpler than any of its predecessors,” Briquet says. “Our purely physical and multifunctional technology harnesses the power of nature, making obsolete the use of chemicals, replacing complicated tools, simplifying industrial processes and saving both energy and cost.”
 
The system is ideal for the fish farm and microalgae industries because with one device, users can circulate water, remove particles and carbon dioxide while adding oxygen back into the water.
 
“The VAL has different modes for different applications,” Briquet explains. “The slow mode is used for particle extraction and can process up to two million gallons a day. The fast mode provides gas stripping and insertion and can handle up to seven million gallons a day. These are both mono-tube systems. In the future with a multi-tube system, we believe we will be able to treat 100 million gallons a day.”
 
Briquet, along with co-founder and CFO John Brooks and investor Tom Andrews, developed a multi-pronged approach to advancing the company.
 
“Our first focus is on getting VAL into aquaculture throughout North America,” Bruiquet says. “As a former owner of a fish farming company, I know the concerns and I also know I have the solutions.”
 
Searen’s second area of development is cultivating relationships with companies in the Cincinnati region that rely on significant water usage for their business.
 
“If we come across an industry that has a need that we may be able to fulfill, we will work to develop a solution or to partner with another company to integrate our equipment into their solution,” Briquet says.
 
Searen has partnered with the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati on a trial project with the VAL at their test beds. They are also collaborating with WEL Enterprise, another Pipeline member, on the treatment of brewery wastewater.

“As an entrepreneur, I’m trying to push the limits,” Briquet says. “We are focusing on what we know we can achieve.
 

People's Liberty marks Valentine's Day with storefront launch and public brainstorming session


Today, People's Liberty launched a new storefront space, called the D.O.I.T.: The Department of Implementing Things, and invited the community to share resources, connections and brainpower with others.

The idea was to showcase the relationships and partnerships that make Cincinnati great. The launch goes beyond the projects and people who have benefited from People's Liberty funds in the past to include residents, entrepreneurs and the Greater Cincinnati public at large.

The purpose of the event was two-fold: organizers invited local residents and entrepreneurs to celebrate the new storefront and offered an opportunity for residents to share ideas, ask questions and connect with resources available through People’s Liberty’s powerful network of givers.

D.O.I.T. will also help People's Liberty reach further than just its grantees and fellows. For example, the nonprofit plans to launch a magazine later this year that will showcase the people who are moving Cincinnati forward. Those people don't have to be former grantees, and in most cases, won't be. 

The storefront is also a way for People's Liberty to continue activating a space along Elm Street. It used to house the Play Library, and now, it will be up to the community to decide what it will be used for. 
 
 

P&G brings new focus to its brands with entrepreneurial retail shop in OTR


One of the unique aspects of Cincinnati’s startup ecosystem is the deep involvement of big companies in mentoring, developing and supporting new companies. P&G’s Tide division has taken that commitment to a new level with the opening of Preneur, its new retail space on Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine that will sell products developed or manufactured by local entrepreneurs.

“While it is unusual, it makes sense,” says store manager Stephanie Bohanon. “P&G is a company started by entrepreneurs in Cincinnati. Now a department of that company is celebrating the very essence of innovation in Cincinnati through small businesses. Tide benefits by displaying some of its newer products to sell and receive feedback as well.”
 
Preneur will feature regional small businesses and entrepreneurs that are looking for a space to showcase and sell their products. The store also boasts a commissioned graffiti piece by Max Thomas of the Midwest artist collective Often Seen Rarely Spoken.
 
Ten local businesses are currently featured at Preneur:
  • Arkadiance is an integrated skin care collection that includes traditional lotions and creams, as well as nutraceuticals and teas.
  • Craftastically Made is an Etsy shop that creates fashion items, including hair accessories and baby items.
  • Funky Artsy uses natural stones in one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
  • Handzy designs colorful stationery items, including greeting cards, art prints, invitations and gift wrap.
  • Jumper Threads rebooted the basic men’s undershirt with a comfortable, well-made and fitted design.
  • Kaya Leather features unisex leather bracelets, cuffs and earrings, featuring unique stained colors and patterns.
  • Koch Sporting Goods offers a range of sports apparel, specifically an FC Cincinnati line.
  • Native Brand produces casual clothing with Cincinnati-centric themes.
  • Rhinomed developed nasal technology products to improve athletic performance and reduce snoring.
  • Urban Blooms is a social enterprise that produces living wall features that make an artistic statement while improving indoor air quality.
The products currently for sale at Preneur are an eclectic mix. Going forward, the store intends to keep a wide range of goods but is considering organizing the featured businesses around themes.
 
“We will be rotating our partners on a one- to two-month basis, with potential to come back at a later time,” says Bohanon. “Moving forward, I'm reaching out to different companies to partner with us.”
 
In addition to the guest companies, Tide is also featuring some of its new products at Preneur, including Tide Studio detergents. The product line is formulated to clean specific fabrics including denim, activewear, prints and delicates.
 
“These are concentrated formulas for your one-off pieces that need a little extra attention,” says Bohanon. “One cap full per piece does the job. We also have mytide.com, where you can log on, take a survey and create your own bottle of Tide detergent. Questions range from fabric type to boosters, to custom scent and labeling the bottle as well. The detergent is then shipped to your house.”
 
Preneur, located at 1333 Walnut, is open Tuesday-Sunday.
 

Center for Great Neighborhoods awards $22K for community projects


Last week, Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods awarded five grants to local creatives, totaling $22,000 in the fifth round of its Creative Community Grant program.
 
The program awards grants of up to $5,000 to creatives who presented projects focused on small business growth, entrepreneurship, workforce development and creative placemaking.
 
CGN has completed five cycles of Creative Community Grants over the program's three-year period, with the sixth and final round to be announced this spring. Each round of funding addresses a different community issue, as determined by The Center's neighborhood focus group surveys, resident-led community groups and existing neighborhood plans.
 
Below is a snapshot of fifth-round recipients and their projects:
  • Local design firm Eye Candy will provide brand management resources for a new, existing or pop-up organization located on Covington’s Westside.
     
  • Owners Joe and Suzanne Fessler, along with residents, patrons and local artist Bret Schulte, will create a mural depicting the history of Herb & Thelma’s Tavern, which dates back to 1939.
     
  • The Kenton County Public Library will create Forge, a community makerspace and embedded library within The Center's Hellmann Creative Center. The space will provide free access to digital library content, technology, instruction, mentoring and collaborative projects.
     
  • Community & Restorative Justice volunteers will introduce Covington ESP, a creative therapeutic project designed to help unemployed residents find a healing path to employment.
     
  • Printmakers from around the region will be able to sell prints and demonstrate their medium at PRINTER: FAIRE, an artists event produced by grant recipients Art Machine, Inc. The event will be held at Hellmann Creative Center and will feature printmaking using a steamroller on the street outside. Details TBA. 
"Every round I think our applicants and their projects get better and better," says program manager Shannon Ratterman. "As people become more familiar with the program and see what other projects have gotten awards before them, they learn what we're looking for and how to put together a really great project. We want projects that aren't just great works of art and aren't just cool or fun, but that truly engage on a deep level and collectively transform the community."

Stay tuned to The Center and project social media channels, and visit greatneighborhoods.org to learn more about the Creative Community Grant program.
 

Pipeline H2O announces first class of water tech companies


Pipeline H2O, the region’s first water technology accelerator program, recently announced the members of its first cohort, which will begin work in February at The Hamilton Mill.
 
“We received 66 applications from 14 countries on five continents,” says Rahul Bawa, board chairman of Pipeline H2O and The Hamilton Mill. “Our selection committee chose companies where we could really make an impact and that represented a cross section of the water technology sector.”
 
The eight members of the inaugural cohort are:
  • Champaign, Ill.-based, ANDalyze, which offers products for testing heavy metal levels in water using DNA technology.
  • AguaClara — from Cornell University — provides gravity-driven, large-scale surface water treatment technologies to underserved communities.
  • Hamilton's own kW River Hydroelectric, which is working to further develop and commercialize the Williams Cross-Flow Turbine. 
  • PowerTech Water out of Lexington offers a new low-cost low-waste water treatment technology that removes salts, minerals and toxic metals.
  • Searen uses sustainable technologies to create water treatment solutions right here in Greater Cincinnati.
  • Slipstream ZLD from Albuquerque manufactures a crystallization system that eliminates wastewater for low-volume manufacturing facilities and metal finishing shops.
  • Waterstep, which is based in Louisville, developed a rapid-response mini-water treatment plant that can be used in disasters and for system safety redundancies.
  • WEL Enterprise, also from Hamilton, created a platform that handles both treatment and reclamation of wastewater. It can currently be seen in action at Municiple Brew Works.
The members of the first Pipeline class are all well beyond the ideation stage, with either functioning prototypes or pilot projects. The program, which runs from February-May, includes an intensive week each month that mixes curriculum from the Village Capital model and project-specific field work. The remaining weeks of each month will be devoted to mentoring, homework and continuing to test and improve products.
 
“The city-as-lab model at The Hamilton Mill has grown to the region-as-lab thanks to support from city and county municipalities,” Bawa says. “Pipeline participants will access pilots, customers and revenue, while leveraging local expertise in the water sector. We will adapt the Mill’s concierge-level mentoring to create a targeted experience that fits the needs of each member of the class. We are still building a mentor network with help from The Brandery, Cintrifuse and Confluence.”
 
Regulation of water technology is one area where all cohort members are seeking guidance. The complicated interactions of federal, state and local regulations can be daunting for a startup wanting to enter the water sector.
 
“We are fortunate the EPA has a water research and development facility in Cincinnati,” Bawa says. “The state and federal EPA staff and our partners at Confluence will help the class understand the specific categories of water technology regulation and how to navigate the process.”
 
Pipeline’s first cohort will be featured in a pitch competition during the first week of the program, as part of the OVALS Water Technologies: The Wave of the Future program at the University of Cincinnati on Feb. 16. The two-day conference will feature presentations by University and industry experts, and is organized by Indiana University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, UC, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. For those unable to attend the OVALS pitch competition, Pipeline’s end-of-program Demo Day in May will be open to the public.
 
“The projects in development by our first Pipeline class can make a real difference in the world,” Bawa says. “Our region has the expertise to be a leader in the water technology sector.”
 

UpTech to host Demo Day for fifth cohort on Feb. 9


A GPS for your health. Pothole data and workplace incident reports used to improve safety nationwide. Efficient alternatives to printing on physical paper.

What do these things have in common?
 
They’re all startups in the fifth year of UpTech’s Accelerator program — and all will showcase their businesses via pitch format to an audience of community partners, investors and startup enthusiasts on Feb. 9.
 
Each year, UpTech selects up to 10 startups for the six-month Accelerator program, where the curriculum is driven by intensive entrepreneurship education, one-on-one mentoring, up to $50,000 in seed capital and access to best business model development methods, customer acquisition strategies, project management principles and product development practices.
 
The 2017 StartupCincy Demo Day will be hosted at 84.51° on the fifth floor. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and the demos begin at 6 p.m. A reception showcasing local food vendors and breweries will follow the pitch event, where attendees can network with UpTech companies.
 
This year’s Demo Day features nine data-driven startups from all around the world. Demo Day is their opportunity to share their vision for the future with the public.
 
Healthcast
Founders: Glenn Lawyer, Tobias Theobald, Tariq Khaleeq
Provides technology that can help you see how bad a cold or flu will get and when you’ll be better. It also provides personalized, clinically validated guidance to get you back on your feet.
 
iReportSource
Founders: Christi Brown, Brad Brown
Gives companies the ability to simplify and streamline entire safety programs and data collection by gathering all incident reports the same way, every time, regardless of when and where. Allows for insight to data analytics, risk identification and cost drivers all in one place.
 
Papr
Founders: Josh Israel, Devin Serago, Aayush Kothari, Amardeep Kaur
A solution that provides businesses an efficient alternative to printing on physical paper.
 
ROAD-AID
Founder: James Bridgers
A road data analytics company that captures and productizes collected road data for a wide range of customers. One of its first data products focuses on pothole data that is being tailored for governments, drivers and insurers.
 
Rescoper
Founders: Robert Clark, Shane Young
Project management software with artificial intelligence that makes your team more productive. Provides context to your work and allows for maximization of time and to-do lists.
 
Shogooru
Founder: Elias Jureidini, Arlette Saliba, Amy Tatielle Marticorena, Rodrigo Tagle, Jose Blanco, Sebastian Soffia, Dante Maldonado
A discovery and streaming platform for podcasts and radio stations that allows producers to highlight content within their shows and for listeners to find and interact with it.
 
SOCIAL/ARCADE
Founders: Mariano DiMurro, Zafer Balbous
An online drag-and-drop template service for launching branded apps, quizzes and games that is aimed at creative agencies, digital marketing agencies and SMEs.
 
SuppleMENTAL
Founders: Tim Mielke, Greg Buns, Nick Moore
A mobile app for the nutritional supplement industry to help consumers make better-informed decisions when purchasing supplements
 
TheMonetizr
Founders: Andris Merkulovs, Marins Bratuskins, Reinis Skorovs
Helps game developers monetize their mobile games by turning design assets into branded merchandise, providing high returns and automation.
 
Demo Day is already sold out, but if you're interested in attending, you can add your name to a waiting list here.
 

Bunbury founder launches event management tool for organizers


Cincinnati event planners will soon have access to a new organization tool from Bill Donabedian, the creator of popular local festivals like Bunbury Music Festival, Buckle Up, MidPoint Music Festival and the PNC Summer Music Series.
 
In 2015, Donabedian and partner Olivier Fischer founded DiaZam LLC, a company that specializes in event-management software. The result is DiaZam.com, a cloud-based tool for creating, organizing and managing layouts for large-scale events.
 
"DiaZam was designed by an event planner (me) for event planners," Donabedian says. "It doesn’t matter if it’s a small food truck festival on a city block or a huge music festival in a city park, DiaZam makes designing a layout fast and easy. Event layouts change over time and DiaZam also helps manage that process."
 
Donabedian and Fischer tweaked their software model for 18 months before testing it at last year’s Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic and Bunbury.
 
“I developed a technology for Bill years ago for the MidPoint Music Festival,” Fischer says. “I was able to leverage that same technology to help solve his problem with event layouts. Now users can do layouts using their web browser — no technical or design skills needed — and there is no need for expensive or complex software like Illustrator or CAD.”

The pair explains that since buying and learning programs like Adobe Illustrator and CAD can be daunting for the average person, a major selling point of DiaZam is that it works in any web browser and is intuitive to use. The tool also tracks everything about every object in the layout, so event layouts are always up to date.

"When we say it's fast and easy, we mean it," Donabedian says.
 

Cincinnati makerspace offerings expand to meet creative demand


Earlier this month, Soapbox introduced readers to the city’s newest crop of co-working spots — places where independent professionals can meet, network and swap ideas. Typically, such spaces are designed to mimic traditional office life — with amenities like fast internet and teleconferencing — but a wholly different set of so-called makerspaces caters to artists, mechanics, chemists, brewers and a wide range of other hands-on professions.
 
Know of another great makerspace? Let us know and we’ll add it to our list. 
 
Boone County Makerspace
7056 Burlington Pk., Burlington, KY
Located within Boone County High School, it is the result of a partnership between Leadership Northern Kentucky, the Brainy Bots & Junior Brainy Bots and Boone County Schools.

Hellmann Creative Center
321 12th St., Covington
The Center for Great Neighborhoods' headquarters offers opportunities for residents to gather and work on creating placemaking endeavors with the goal of improving the neighborhood.

Hilltop Glass Creations
1592 Compton Rd., Mt. Healthy
Offers opportunities for community members and visitors alike to gather, take classes, learn something new and be creative.

Hive13
2929 Spring Grove Ave., Northside
Provides an open framework for hackers of all stripes to exchange ideas, skills and information. Hive13 encourages its creatives to learn from each other as well as teach.
 
Main Library Makerspace
800 Vine St., Downtown
A place where creative people can gather, create, invent and learn using 3D printers, audio and visual equipment, laser cutters and engravers, sewing machines, cameras and other hardware and software tools.
 
The Manufactory
12055 Mosteller Rd., Sharonville
A 17,000-square-foot, membership-only workshop for makers, artisans, engineers, inventors, prototype builders, crafters, stage and prop builders, DIY-ers, restorers, entrepreneurs and repair technicians.
 
Shotgun Row artist collective
Orchard Street, Covington
Five rehabilitated houses offer space for artists-in-residence, which means the shotgun-style houses have studio or retail space toward the front and residential toward the back. Shotgun Row is owned and operated by Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods.
 
Xavier University Library Makerspace
3800 Victory Pkwy., Avondale
Open to all students, faculty and staff to explore their creativity, access disruptive technologies like 3D printers and scanners, use tools for constructing projects and imagine solutions to problems with real-world applications.
 
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