Cincinnati hosting one of only 12 NewCo conferences in U.S.

On July 23, Cincinnati joins New York, Austin, San Francisco, London, Istanbul and other notable cities in hosting the 2015 “inside-out” conference NewCo.
John Battelle and Brian Monahan founded NewCo in 2012 to replace Battelle’s Web 2.0 events. NewCo turns the traditional convention model on its head by sending participants to the presenters instead of bringing presenters to one central location. The concept has grown steadily, with a major expansion this year nearly doubling the number of participating cities, including Cincinnati.
Cintrifuse, an affiliate partner of NewCo, organized the one-day event here with the support of national and local technology and innovation sponsors. More than 80 local businesses — including startups, breweries, arts organizations and even a couple of Fortune 500 companies — will tell their stories, demo their products or offer tours of their facilities during NewCo Cincinnati.
“On this one day, you’re going to get the opportunity to see behind the scenes of some of Cincinnati’s most innovative companies,” says Cintrifuse Director of Marketing & Communications Eric Weissmann. “The entrepreneurs who have their fingers on the pulse of the next big thing are, for a limited time, going to open their doors to you.”
NewCo targets the “naturally curious, movers and shakers, young professionals, middle professionals, people who are happy with what they are doing but want to see the city move forward and continue to succeed,” says Cintrifuse Talent Resource Specialist Christina Swift. “NewCo is for people who need to know what is going on outside their cubical, in other industries and at other companies. This is a movement that you can’t afford to not be a part of.”
The variety of NewCo hosts and attendees encourages cross-pollination of ideas across industries.
“NewCo participants get a closer look at what everyone else is doing and maybe they can bring some of those ideas and that spark back to their own work,” Swift says. “We tend to get stuck in our own industry. I live in the startup scene and I don’t know a lot about the arts, so this is a perfect time for me to go to Cincinnati Shakespeare, to go to ArtsWave, to hear about ArtWorks and see what they’re all about. NewCo is an opportunity for all of us to see different things.”
Although Weissmann anticipates most of the anticipated 1,000 attendees will be from the region, the event might also draw participants from Indianapolis, Columbus and Louisville. Area university students, interns and co-ops are also a target audience for NewCo Cincinnati.
“Here is a perfect opportunity to highlight the entrepreneurial scene and find ways to get students plugged in so that they want to return to Cincinnati and explore full-time employment,” Swift says.
The day is divided into six one-hour sessions with at least 10 presentations in each session, starting at 9 a.m. None of the programs are repeated, and attendance at each presentation is limited. The NewCo schedule can be sorted by geographic clusters or by subject area to help participants customize their experience.
“We have a really strong startup scene in the Mason/Blue Ash area that a lot of people don’t know about — ConnXus, Assurex, InfoTrust, Axiom Product Development,” Swift says. “So people who live north of the city who want to be a part of this movement but don’t want to drive downtown can do that.
“You also don’t have to take the entire day off of work to participate in NewCo. You can pop into one session or two. We would love for people to be given the OK to take the day, but that might not be realistic.”
All NewCo participants are also invited to an end-of-day Festival Meetup at the Christian Moerlein Tap Room in Over-the-Rhine. Since attendance at each session is limited, the Festival Meetup is an opportunity for participants to share their experiences and find out what happened in other sessions.
Participants are also encouraged to engage with and share their NewCo experiences through social media by using #newcocincy to tag posts and by following/sharing posts on NewCo’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
“We are excited that NewCo happens right after the All Star Game,” Swift says. “There is a lot of national momentum and visibility pointing toward Cincinnati. NewCo will bring the people together who are really passionate about Cincinnati as a city to say, ‘Look at all the stuff we have going on here.’ They’re not doing NewCo in Chicago, Columbus or Louisville. We’re doing it here.”
Weissmann emphasized the accessibility of NewCo.
“We wanted to keep it affordable and inclusive,” he says. “With ticket prices just $15 — or $9 for students and WCPO Insiders — NewCo is affordable for full-day or drop-in attendees. We want people to come and see what we have to offer.”
Tickets are still available for NewCo, though participants are encourage to sign up soon as sessions are filling up.

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter has a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums, and nonprofit organizations. She's the Executive Director of AIA Cincinnati.