Shift Spotlight: Accelerator First Batch Helps Startups Build Real Things


Cincinnati-based accelerator First Batch isn’t helping companies develop apps, platforms, or services. It’s focusing exclusively on startups that want to scale the production of physical products. They want to make things. Companies with a prototype can apply to the 20-week program to learn how to navigate the manufacturing, branding, and marketing resources Cincinnati offers. Why Cincinnati? Ohio ranks third in the nation in manufacturing, and the Cincinnati metro area is second in the state.

Riverside Architectural, a manufacturing space in Cincinnati where 2015 First Batch company Mortal Ski Co. produced its skis.

First Batch is part of Cincinnati Made, a platform for makers to share knowledge and leverage resources to grow Cincinnati-based businesses. Up to eight startups receive a maximum of $10,000 per founder, space in the Losantiville Design Collective, mentorship, and free legal services from University of Cincinnati’s College of Law.

First Batch’s mission and the impact it hopes to have in the next 5–10 years make it clear that profit is not the primary driver behind First Batch’s mission. Creating a community is. By connecting good ideas to the resources needed to produce them, the accelerator is helping Cincinnati and the companies that choose to do business there succeed beyond it. First Batch alumni Ohio Valley Beard Supply’s products are sold nationally and Ampersand, a home goods and furniture company, sells its products at retailers across the country and abroad. “Seeing companies that say ‘Made in Cincinnati’ on a store shelf in California is very fulfilling,” Anthony tells NewCo.

Here are some nuggets we learned talking with Anthony …

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund awarded First Batch a $50,000 grant during the White House’s inaugural Demo Day.
  • Anthony received the 2015 Young Urbanist Award from the University of Cincinnati’s Community Design Center.
  • Richard Kiley, a former executive at Procter & Gamble and a venture capitalist known for investing in Cincinnati businesses, chairs Cincinnati Made’s advisory board.

NewCo chronicles a Shift in business. Spotlights identify the players in that movement. To see more Spotlight companies, click here. To suggest one, write in the comments below. Don’t miss Cincinnati’s Brandery Accelerates Startups By Supercharging Their Brands.

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