Cincinnati’s Brandery Accelerates Startups By Supercharging Their Brands


This seed-stage accelerator looks beyond product to help startups differentiate themselves

The Brandery, a seed-stage accelerator, is utilizing Cincinnati’s unique resources to help startups turn minimally viable products into sustainable businesses. What resources are those? Marketing and branding agencies have grown alongside Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 Companies like Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, and Kroger. As the barriers to entry for starting companies decrease, The Brandery believes startups focused on their brands can differentiate themselves and increase their probability of success.

The accelerator accepts 10 companies into its four-month program each year. In return for a 6 percent equity stake, startups receive $50,000, access to mentorship, pro-bono work from branding agencies, and a chance to work with companies like Procter and Gamble. Those resources have helped The Brandery become one of the top accelerators in the nation. The Seed Accelerator Rankings Project lists The Brandery at the Gold tier, just under Platinum where you’ll find 500 Startups and Y Combinator.

We had a chance to speak with Rob McDonald, a cofounder and partner at The Brandery. Here are a few things we learned talking with McDonald …

  • Forty-six Brandery companies between 2010 and 2014 raised over $120 million and created over 350 new jobs.
  • On average, 66 percent of companies accepted into the program come from outside Ohio. Of those, half stay in Cincinnati after completing the program.
  • To date, 70 companies have completed the program. Companies include Roadtrippers, Frameri, and FlightCar.

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Don’t miss other stories like this. Shift Spotlight: Accelerator First Batch Helps Startups Build Real Things

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