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For-profit Vine Street Ventures to fund top Brandery grads

Graduates of The Brandery, Over-the-Rhine’s popular startup accelerator, have access to a new pool of potential funding, with the recent launch of Vine Street Ventures Fund | LLC, a venture capital firm created by Brandery co-founders Robert McDonald, Brian Kropp and Dave Knox.
 
While Vine Street represents a for-profit reach by the nonprofit’s founders, some of The Brandery’s values have translated to the new firm. “The primary goal is making money for our investors. That said, we expect that the fund will also help the Cincinnati ecosystem by drawing additional top quality companies to Cincinnati and potentially encouraging them to stay,” said McDonald in an email.
 
The fund raised just under $1.4 million, according to an amended U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Dec. 10. Vine Street Ventures reported participation by 42 investors, each with a contribution of at least $15,000. The fund’s initial offering was $2 million.
 
Asked whether the recent addition of new venture capital agencies in Cincinnati made for a competitive atmosphere, McDonald expressed hopes that investors would bolster startups at various stages of development. 

“To effectively fund a venture track business, we need to have a horizontal offering of funding sources. Vine Street Ventures focuses on the early growth companies coming out of The Brandery, but our portfolio companies will likely need funding all the way from Series A [the initial round of venture funding] through Series ZZ, as the case may be. We are thrilled with the current activity in Cincinnati and welcome any other funds that visit the region.”

By Robin Donovan
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