Brandery accepting applications for next round

Cincinnati’s nationally recognized startup accelerator, The Brandery, is accepting applications for its 2012 class via its Web site. Applications are due May 15, and early-admission decisions will be made May 1. The 2012 class of 10 companies will be announced on June 1. 
 
As a member of the Global Accelerator Network and named a top 10 accelerator by the Kellogg School of Management/Kauffman Fellows/Tech Cocktail rankings, the Brandery has graduated 14 companies in its first two classes. These companies have generated funding across the country from CincyTech, Crosslink Capital, Draper Associates and Transmedia Capital.

The Brandery runs a four-month program in Cincinnati for startups that are consumer-focused and brand-driven. It will add several aspects to its program this year:
 
Brandsmiths. The Brandery will hire developers or designers who don’t have a specific startup idea but want to work for one. They will work full-time for a stipend with Brandery participants and may have the opportunity to join one of the startups. The application and additional information can be found here.
 
edSpark. The Brandery is soliciting applications for an education-focused startup. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has funded a new initiative called edSpark to encourage educational innovation. Startups focused on education initiatives should apply through the standard channel. 
 
Office hours. For those looking for more information or advice before submitting an application, the Brandery is holding office hours from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, at The Brandery office, 1411 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. Register for office hours.
 
“The Brandery aims to give startups an unfair opportunity to succeed by leveraging Cincinnati’s regional strengths in marketing, branding and design and world-class companies such as P&G, Kroger, LPK, Nielsen and dunnhumby,” says Mike Bott, general manager of the Brandery, a position that was added this year. “Startups are attracted by the mentors and resources associated with The Brandery. We’ve already attracted applicants from six continents.” 

The Brandery provides each company with $20,000 in seed money, training sessions with other entrepreneurs and industry experts, and networking with more than 50 mentors who work with startups to provide insights and help grow each idea into an investable, scalable product. Additionally, Cincinnati’s design agencies have donated their services to help each of the startups develop their branding and visual identity. The seed money that each company receives from The Brandery is now being provided by an award from the Ohio Third Frontier’s One Fund program for accelerators. For the first two years of the Brandery programs, CincyTech provided the $20,000 grants.

Building upon a mentor list of industry leaders, The Brandery has recently welcomed Tim O’Shaughnessy of LivingSocial, Jonathon Triest of Ludlow Ventures, Bill Hildebolt of ExpoTV and Mike Brown Jr. of AOL Ventures.
 
The 2012 session will begin July 2 and culminate Oct. 4 at Demo Day, where each Brandery company pitches its startup to a room of angel investors, venture capitalists, marketers and media. Last year’s Demo Day attracted more than 350 people to Great American Ball Park.  
 
By Sarah Blazak
 
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