Building a mature, flourishing tech ecosystem is far from an easy task. It takes the unwavering dedication of many talented people over many years, and success is never a guarantee. But it can be done, and those working “in the trenches” of tech entrepreneurship can look to other communities that are a few steps ahead on this journey for guidance and inspiration.
Cincinnati is one such community. Nestled along the Ohio River and close to the borders of Indiana and Kentucky, Cincinnati harbors a fast-growing tech ecosystem that’s fueled by four nearby universities, large national companies such as P&G and Kroger, and dozens of innovative, venture-backed startups. The product of more than a decade of hard work and local initiatives, Cincinnati serves as a prime example of how to build a world-class tech ecosystem in the Midwest.
During Techstars’ Cincinnati Startup Week, the entire Powderkeg team traveled to Cincy to unveil the findings of the just-released 2018 Cincinnati Tech Census Report. While there, we spoke with eight influential members of the Cincinnati tech community, from entrepreneurs and investors to journalists and thought leaders, to break down the factors that have powered the growth of Cincinnati’s tech sector and highlight lessons for other communities across the country.
In this episode with some of Cincinnati’s top tech entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders, you’ll learn:
- Cincinnati’s secrets for attracting and retaining entrepreneurs and tech talent.
- Why tech investors are committing more than ever to diversity.
- The important role young people play in the growth of tech communities.
- How large companies and startups can work together for mutual benefit.
- Key steps a city must take to build a thriving entrepreneurial community.
- A few of the most innovative Cincinnati-based startups to keep your eye on.
Please enjoy this conversation with some of Cincinnati’s brightest entrepreneurs, investors, and tech thinkers!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.
Quotes from this episode of Powderkeg:
“What attracts people to Cincinnati is the stability. There are a lot of large corporations here, there are a lot of research institutions. That is an attractant to come and stay.” — @eweissmann on @Powderkeg
“Investing in entrepreneurs here in Cincinnati creates a vibrancy in our city that makes it the kind of place where I want to live, and attracts more of that.” — @ATMviews on @PowderkegCo
“So many people have left the P&Gs and the Krogers and the Fifth Thirds to start companies. We have some really skilled individuals that have seen a problem in the market and can take it further.” — @Schloty on @PowderkegCo
“We have to be able to plug our 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22-year-olds into this ecosystem so that they can see the possibilities here. And when we do, they’re more than twice as likely to stay.” — @marklacker on @PowderkegCo
“My hope for CincyTech is that we will continue to identify amazing entrepreneurs, support them as they grow on their journey, and ultimately enable them to be as successful as they possibly can.” — @jenniferdauer1 on @PowderkegCo
Links and resources mentioned in this episode
Companies and organizations:
Rising Moon Consulting
Procter & Gamble
Rise of the Rest
Pacific Crest Securities (now KBCM Technology Group)
Fifth Third Bank
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Fox Interactive Media
Western & Southern Financial Group
McKinsey & Company
Frost Brown Todd Attorneys
Todd Henderson (@todd_henderson)
Eric Weissmann (@eweissmann)
Jeff Barrett (@BarrettAll)
Ann Mooney (@ATMviews)
Kyle Schlotman (@Schloty)
Kirsten Moorefield (@kirstenteresa)
Mark Lacker (@marklacker)
Jennifer Dauer (@jenniferdauer1)
Tarek Kamil (@TarekKamil)
Patrick Longo (LinkedIn)
Patrick Henshaw (@LeadersOutFront)
Tim Kopp (@tbkopp)
Wendy Lea (@WendySLea)
Mike Venerable (@mvenerable)
Peg Rusconi (@PegRusconi)
What stood out most to you about what these entrepreneurs share in this podcast?
For me, it’s the key steps a city must take to build a thriving entrepreneurial community.
You? Leave a comment below.
To subscribe to the podcast, please use the links below:
If you have a chance, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show and its ranking in iTunes incredibly! Thank you so much!
Because it already has the infrastructure in place rather than catching up creating
The opportunity to leverage the external environment to help accelerate
People like Bravo, bravo, Fifth
Third. Just a great ecosystem. There’s a lot of smart people coming into the system.
You can take a lot brighter because of your passion.
Welcome to Episode 59 of powderkeg igniting startups. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler. And today we’ve got a special episode we recorded in front of a live audience in one of the coolest venues I have ever seen. Those voices you heard come from a special live show that powderkeg hosted in partnership with Cincinnati based centrifuge, which is where we recorded in their historic union hall building in over the Rhine or OTDR for Cincinnati insiders. This show is part of Cincinnati Startup Week 2018 and is titled On Valley new insights and trends. Powering Cincinnati’s startup success, you’re going to hear eight profiled tech founders, investors and leaders from Greater Cincinnati discuss the insights from our first ever Cincinnati tech census and share some of the incredible stories from that community. I channeled my inner Jimmy Fallon here as we got to hear the perspectives and not just highlight what’s happening in Cincinnati. But also to understand how these Heartland tech hubs and tech founders are distinguishing themselves from the coasts. We even end with an award segment highlighting some of the most innovative since you startups and some of the ones with the very best culture. To get your own copy of this insane tech census, head on over to powderkeg.com. Once you’re there, you can also listen to other episodes, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss any future shows. And now, let’s dive into the first ever Cincinnati tech census report.
I’m Todd and there’s an existing idea of my home. I’ve had the opportunity to work in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, collaborating with some fantastic founders and working with some neat tech companies. Now I’m a huge advocate of our startup ecosystem, what we call startup Cintiq. If you’re live streaming outside of the area, we actually call that startup since there are so many reasons why Cincinnati is a special place to meet. And that is why I teamed up with the folks powderkeg to help bring their program to launch in our city. And then it’s a huge honor for me to welcome the entire product tech team back to Cincinnati to release the first ever Cincinnati tech synthesis report. Now this report just dropped live today. So it’s just ready to live to that. So you guys are the first ever folks to lay eyes on the data in this report and hear the insights from what we found. And that’s it. Yeah. Absolutely. So we had a fun show. lineup for you guys tonight. Folks at SR fuse and powderkeg have put together a fantastic you know, of some of the most informed leaders from the tech and innovation communities here in Cincinnati. We also have a fantastic coach that’s going to get us started. So I want you to help me give a huge Cincinnati Welcome to Patrick tech CEO Matt.
Need to be back in Cincinnati, my team I’m tired team and I are here from Indianapolis, we could not be more excited to be a part of Cincinnati Startup Week. How’s everyone enjoying startup with? centrifuge has been an amazing partner and we could not have done this tech center support without centrifuges. But also so many other great organizations who are part of us bringing the tech centers to Cincinnati. This was our first one. And what was amazing about this is we had over 150 responses from tech entrepreneurs, investors, people growing tech companies right here in Cincinnati. We got some amazing insight into what it’s like to grow a hybrid tech company here in Cincinnati. And this is a great snapshot of a really good really good look into some of the strengths that Cincinnati has some of the wind that has behind his back and then some of the opportunities and challenges it still faces as it grows into that next stage of growth. We have So many things to get into this evening, we’ve got a great lineup of speakers to speak on the talent and career side of things here in Cincinnati in the Cincinnati tech ecosystem. We have some amazing potential grant talking about the funding situation here, what it’s like to grow at a big company or think CO as centrifuges coined here when we read. And we’re going to dive into each aspect of this by the end of the evening, and we’re gonna culminate in a fireside chat with amazing serial entrepreneur, Terra ml, who had started several companies here. And since then he’s been here, literally over 25 years growing tech companies. And he’s going to talk about his current journey at circle. And then we’re going to finish with some awards. There are some amazing tech companies that won some awards here, that are part of the ecosystem to raise capital from since the tech from the angel groups like Queen City angels from some of the other fall on capital, the team Cincinnati and beyond. And so we’re going to end with that award ceremony. But to kick things off, keep the energy going, I couldn’t have done a better job than potted them themselves here welcoming everyone and getting some context. Our first guest is amazing person who ended up here in Cincinnati back in Cincinnati, after going and working on Disney Cruise Lines. He’s a very creative person, and is a leader here at sunset elite, all of Marketing and Communications was was a founding executive here at centric news, really, without his help. We couldn’t have done this initiative. Please put your hands together for Eric Whitestone. Using a microphone, actually, let’s just do a handcuff. Let me say, yeah, thank you. So back on mice, we did have some really fancy graphics and things to show here. But we we ended up needing to do kind of a stripped down startup version, which I think is very fatal problem. Eric, really appreciate you taking time to bring in Texas. We we got some really good insight into the tech community from doing this census. And one of the things that I thought was really interesting was that 65% of respondents actually grew up outside of Cincinnati, which means you have a lot of people that are relocating to Cincinnati, can you give us maybe a little bit of context of being someone who relocated back to Cincinnati?
I think the term is boomerang. But you know, from that 65%, that I’m shocked that it’s that high that I would thought that a lot of people, you know, have stayed here. But maybe that means that they started somewhere else and moved here, you know, back in the early part of their career. But I think what attracts people to Cincinnati is the stability is that there’s a lot of large corporations here. There’s a lot of research institutions that are close. That that is an attractant to folks to come and say and not have to worry about finding another home when they’re getting ready to send their kids to school or something like that. So that’s, that’s how I would sum it up.
Is there anything that you’ve seen to be particularly helpful here in Cincinnati, as people are checking out, maybe relocating their company to Cincinnati, or even some of the big codes like like p&g and Kroger, who are hiring talent and innovation departments to try to make sure that they see the best in Cincinnati when they come to visit?
So you know, we’re blessed with a pretty cool food scene. We’ve got a really vibrant art scene as well. And that seems to be you know, I don’t know that. I mean, no disrespect. But I know that Austin has symphony. I don’t know if they’re known for their arts and culture as much as they are being the live music capital of the world, which is great. But I think, you know, when we look at Cincinnati, there’s some of those other facets that have the kind of complete that tapestry of what it means to be a person and the human and not just, you know, a techie that wants to work all day or a drone that wants to just kind of sit down on a cubicle.
My team and I are really excited to check that out after the happy hour tonight. Yeah. Cool. A couple other stats here I wanted to share from the census was that more than half of respondents agreed that there’s adequate access to start up resources like mentors and advisors, which was 74% agreed with that. 60% for local media opportunities, and then 86% For start media relations. 86% I think that’s a huge testament to what centrifuges did with creating the funding for the community. But then all of the other organizations that are here HCTC that have been here for decades. granderie Yeah.
I mean, HTDC has been in Norwood for like, I think patlak pet long was in there for like 28 years. Yeah. The character started when they were four years old, but HTDC has been a part of it since the patch has been department Mainstreet Ventures has, you know, there’s been a lot of trailblazing trailblazers, and that took something like superfused but they you know, that was the name it’s the goofiest thing in the world. I like, but it was a matter of saying we need a lifeguard in the pool, we need something that can coordinate this so that everybody can say and focus on what they’re doing well, and what they’re best in class in. But is there a connectivity between those is there somebody to poke the holes in the silos so that everybody can have access to whether it’s SDBC, or you know, anything in NKU, or any of the universities or anything like that? You know, we play a small part in connecting those dots. But the dots were already
here. Yeah, that I think that’s something that you had kind of building on momentum, you were able to come in, catalyze it, find some new areas to plug in, obviously, with the fund of funds that centrifuge has that creates an even bigger national network. And I know Patrick Penshoppe. Here is involved with helping connects founders to more capital, two more resources on because even outside of Cincinnati
has given us it’s given us a another reason for people to look at this and Midwest area. The fact that we have these engaged LPs, limited partners of our syndicate fund are these big NGOs of Cincinnati who want return on their investment. I mean, it’s a it’s a for profit vehicle underneath the nonprofit umbrella interviews. But it gives them just another another facet, another reason to stop by Cincinnati, so that they can syndicate with some of our existing investors like since the tech and you know, that it just expands and broadens that network. You know, thinking of like, am 25 crews in Chicago, they love to come here Hyde Park venture from Chicago loves to come here and take a look at the deals and take a look at people that they can invest with. And alongside. So it really helps broaden amplify that the message that we’re sending? Well, it’s
cool to see some of those VCs have some deep ties to you know, you mentioned Hyde Park ventures and Tim Kopp being right up the road in Indianapolis, and having some strong Cincinnati ties is a awesome benefit for the community here. You know, I mentioned briefly the local access to local media and local press. And certainly you’ve done a great job getting the word out here since your views. But there’s the Cincinnati Business Journal, there’s American No, what are some of the other media outlets that that Cincinnati has been plugging into
wish that some would do a better job? I think that we’ve got a lot of great stories to tell here that don’t get the proper amplification. There’s some great entrepreneurs, this room is full of them, this building has been full of them all week. And I think that we need to tell their stories a little bit with a little bit more consistency, not just waiting for that unicorn or kind of that meteoric rise, because it’s a great thing to step out there and try to be on your own and try to do something that people and scores of people have told you is not possible. And I think that, you know, I wouldn’t I would encourage those stories to get told
with a little bit more regularity. Well, one thing I just want to give a huge shout out is that Forbes just put up their list in partnership with Brian of the Wrestling Revolution, the list of the top 10 cities for startups beyond the coast. There’s only
one state that has two cities on that list, which state is that you want to get? I’m gonna get him. Three valves to Ohio.
That’s awesome. Congratulations on that. And speaking of media, you have someone from out of town that you brought into the Startup Week. Would you like to introduce him to the stage?
Sure. So we ran into Jeff Garrett, a few months ago, group bookstore, Cincinnati, that is the one organ one of the organizations here in town and wakes up every morning with Cincinnati on the brain, how can I get this message out? And so Jeff came in here to talk about some of the life sciences and some of the healthcare innovations that we’ve got going on and trip them into union hall and showed him all the stuff and encouraged him that there’s one week that you should come back. That should be startup week when all this stuff is going on. And you get to meet Matt Hunckler That that was another positive.
I am sure you did not mention that. We’re excited to have Jeff here. Can we give Jeff berry a warm welcome to the stage? Yeah, front and center man. The hot seat? I told you. It’s not actually that hot. I was trying to warm it up for it. No, it’s
Well, the one thing that we found within tech census is we compared it to some of the other benchmarks that were out there. And so we found out that tech companies are growing with less money. So an open views benchmark study, bad software startups 110 million in ARR, spending an average of 39% of their revenue on sales and marketing, whereas software startups in Cincinnati with the same revenue range are spending only 27% on sales and marketing. That means that the growth that they’re seeing, which was Another benchmark that they’re doing that Cincinnati is doing almost 50% better in beginning with less money. And you’ve seen this, you’ve covered how many startup companies now,
about 40. I just got back from South Dakota, Richmond and Colorado Springs.
Wow. So So are you seeing that that kind of growth in those other markets as well,
I think everything’s a little bit different depending on market. Right. So what I noticed about Cincinnati is I noticed that you’ve got a really strong ecosystem here, both from a big code side to, you know, everything that can be accomplished, right. So while the Midwest gets a lot of attention, easily, like, you know, obviously, people are focusing on alternatives, right to not only you mentioned, awesome, but also Silicon Valley, East Coast. So whereas the rest stuff, but a lot of those places are getting into that infrastructure, because now
I love that we can even say Rise of the Red Scarf now, like the fact that there’s general consciousness around and great selfie cats, myself included.
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, there are difference, what you start to find, I didn’t really see this overlay until about 10 or 12 seconds, and you start to notice, what are the common things? Right? What are the things that you can kind of see are going to be successful? And we were talking about, you could have easily see this week and you know, something that’s while as a as a discipline, right? Because, you know, building an ecosystem is important for both cities, companies, the entire region.
Absolutely. I was trying to find the other stat, I think I lost a page in my notes here. I want to make sure I shared this, which is that since the early stage software startups are growing faster than Pacific Crest national benchmarks, which is that specific crest has software startup up to 2.5 million in annual recurring revenue and growing at an average rate of 100% annually, whereas here in Cincinnati, the survey startups are growing at 150%. Growth Rate, annual growth, which is awesome. I mean, I think that deserves a round of applause. Like the fact that Suzanne started growing faster than the move on the coasts is incredible. It’s a testament
to a lot of resources here. Well, it’s mostly byproducts of mentorship ecosystems, the things that are created around that, right, the ability to imagine big companies, all of that is stuff that’s sustainable, right? There are a lot of cities, I won’t name any, because I want to be invited back. So but there are cities that kind of their strategy is what will one something do about 30 places while one heads and we make it
better, or worse once a while. But doesn’t this sound guaranteed? Right? Definitely not a guarantee? Are there any interesting ways you’ve seen startups are innovative? Because do more with less?
What were some things that you can’t manufacture? Right? Sometimes you have a you got to start talking about some things hits. So certain regions grow up, right. So while they’re in Seattle, right about or in Manchester, New Hampshire grows out of a combination of the pain of it, which leads into pill pack and dying, well designed for 600 mil and a building dogs, that’s going to create, you know, an infrastructure and wealth right in that area. But that, again, wasn’t planned, right? There’s planning here. And also there’s a decade plus, and the three decades of Planning and Infrastructure is built. So now when we start discussing, while it’s a great time to invest in the West, since as the head of a lot of places, because it already has the infrastructure in place, rather than catching up and creating it a year ago.
I’d love to close with this stat. And maybe get a little bit of context. From you, Eric. We only have two mics not dropping I know because
I played it back.
So the stat is that the data from the text has showed that gender diversity is also good for business. Yeah, not a huge surprise, national data shows that as well. But I think what is really cool is that when you look at the data, it revealed that the average annual revenue growth rates are approximately 150%. For startups with 60% of their staff being female, compared with roughly half that growth for startups with 20% or less of their staff being female, meaning you have more diversity on your team, you’re going to grow faster. Yeah, probably not a huge surprise to us paying attention to the national trends.
No, it’s because you have more diversity into the room, right so that the things get accomplished, the more narrow your thought process is in your business. The hardest one to be
with, you know, a sheep. Yeah, I think that’s the easiest, you know, definable way of putting it. Well. And Eric, maybe the close, you could give us a little bit of context for that. I know you’ve worked with an amazing female CEO here similar views, who sadly is moved on to her next, next big thing. But when the leader has made an incredible impact here as a CEO of centrifuges, can you talk a little bit about what it was like to work with Wendy during your time here?
Yeah, it was literally a thrill a minute and I don’t mean that in Any other way that then it was just a blast. You know, she really taught me and taught the team and I think some of that bled over into the city about what it means to repack your trunk every day. You know, you can’t go in and think you can think that this is what you’re going to accomplish at the end of the week, end of the quarter end of the whatever. But when something comes up at the beginning of the day, and resets your agenda, don’t freak out here. We keep a lot of plates, same here and union hall and centrifuge. And it’s not so much how many plates you can keep spinning, or when one breaks, it’s how little you freak out when one breaks, you just got to move on, move on to the next thing. So she taught us all how to get Yeah, she taught us all how to keep moving forward. And she has been an inspiration for a lot of us.
Absolutely. Well, thank you for coming on stage and sharing a little bit about this. Thank you for your partnership. And making sure we brought the tech senses to Cincinnati, the second of just two so far, but we’ll be launching Denver boulder in two weeks, we launched the entire state of Tennessee two weeks after that. So really great to have you part of this. Let’s give it up for air and Jeff will keep things rolling because started a little bit late due to some technical difficulties. So I want to roll right into my next guest introduction. I want to jump into capital and what it’s like to raise capital here in Cincinnati. Our next guest is 18 Year p&g veteran with great expertise in marketing, branding, retail experience, and has been a mentor and advisor for the brand really since the very beginning. That was your introduction into the startup world, I believe. But as recently joined about a year and a half ago as an angel investor with Queen City angels on the largest angel groups, if not the largest angel group here in Cincinnati, please put your hands together for the founder and CEO resume consulting and mooning. Don’t mind the banana? Spot not to be out? No, you nailed it.
All right. Excellent. I wasn’t gonna like do the one which was a hurdle move in the dress? No,
I think that’s reasonable. Excellent. I just want to dive right in. And you’ve been in the angel scene for a year and a half. What was it like jumping from big code to becoming an angel investor.
So I first jumped into being my own founder of a consultancy. So I guess it’s not the founder in the traditional sense so far. But one of the things that I started doing, in addition to being a mentor for the grand jury is I was advising startups. And I was advising startups with maybe a couple 100,000 in revenue to get them to 10 15 million over the course of short periods of time. And I realized that I would be a better advisor if I understood more about the funding side of the equation. And so even though I have an undergrad and an MBA in finance, I think I actually forgot more finance than I actually ever really learned. And so I decided that becoming an angel investor and joining que ca Queen City angels would help me to really sharpen my skills and my knowledge around angel investing.
What was the biggest learning curve there? Well,
I just realized I didn’t know Jack, about angel investing. I just really didn’t. And I, I was intimidated. Frankly, I’ll be really honest, I wasn’t intimidated about it. I hadn’t really thought of it as an asset class in my portfolio. Again, how naive How silly is that? And coming to terms with that I talked with some folks who are also fellow png alongs, who’ve gotten involved in it. And they said, and please sit angels had done about a year and a half ago. And we’re continuing this moving forward is put together a junior membership. So they’re calling it the ascent. And it was aimed at getting more diversity in the organization. Because I mean, let’s be honest, sorry, Jack, I know you’re here. But Quate to the angels is a bunch of old white guys. And so with the ascent program, it was really trying to say, let’s bring in just like, you know, the staff that you mentioned, with having more diversity, having more diversity and the investments that you’re making, with the investors, with the folks that are doing screenings that are doing due diligence, you’re just gonna get better outcomes, if it only makes sense. So the ascent brought 11 new members in, I believe, four of whom were women. And I got so involved in all the screenings and due diligence is and I kept raising my hand as I do in an annoying way. And that I realized I might as well just join full line and so I did About About six or seven months ago.
Thank you for doing that. Thank you for being willing to be quote unquote annoying. Yeah. That’s how change happens.
I’m used to it.
Well beyond having diversity, Cincinnati has a lot of investors that are value add investors as angels, they have a lot of industry experience, as you mentioned png programs that have been co I mentioned already here on stage, but pulling from other serial entrepreneurs and executives that can make an investment and that really helped grow and scale. I think Patrick Penshaw from Central fuse had a great quote in the actual tech census about that. Can you tell me a little bit about how clean city angels has kind of formed and what that group is, like, from a from a background standpoint?
Yeah, so background wise, I might get it slightly wrong. But we’re in the midst of raising our sixth fund. I believe it started Jackie might want to help me here 12 years ago or so spot. 2003. So I do the math 15 years ago, okay, they kicked me out of finance at Procter. So I think the thing that’s the most value add about queens who the angels, it’s not just the checks, for sure. It’s the combination of experiences that sit around the table, that do the screenings that do the due diligence, that sit on the boards that provide the coaching, the mentorship, the direction, sometimes the tough love to the to the to the founders. And I think that that’s what’s really unique, I I’m not yet on a board, but when he when TCA makes a significant investment, then there’s almost always a board seat that’s involved. And so that person is the responsibility of, you know, being on the board, but then also reporting back in as needed, getting the expertise of individuals within the group that can actually troubleshoot a particular issue.
Well, and I know there’s a great venture community here, so I’d love to call on some of the join us on stage. Next up, our capital expert has a finance background as well as helping serve companies in the past. He now manages investment strategy execution, overseeing several investment teams, please help me welcome up partner and chief investment officer of kinetic ventures, Kyle slotland. Thanks for joining us GAAP. That’s right. And, and feel free to grab the mic too. If you have anything to add on on any of these questions. We we have some really interesting data. And I’d love to share some of this. One of the things that we saw is there’s adequate access to seed funding here in Cincinnati 40%. Agreed 20% were undecided. And the other 40% disagreed. I think access to capital is something that you see, I’ve had the privilege of traveling around the rest of the rest for five of their last seven tours, seeing lots of communities around the country, access to capital is always hard, even in areas like Silicon Valley in New York City. But what have you seen change here in Cincinnati in your time involved? Investing?
Yeah, I think they’ve gotten a lot more groups and tons more angel investors coming to the market. I don’t think seed capital is a problem in Cincinnati at all. I think there’s companies that raise or try to raise that are more lifestyle. And I think that probably was some of the feedback that companies that should have been pivoted out of the venture ecosystem. But I don’t think sees a big problem at all. Now late stage, fun to for us about 80% of our capital will be late to be able to help the market a little more in that space. But I don’t think see it’s a problem.
But it seems like a lot of that maybe has to do with great funds like since it’s actually very, very active, probably the most active seed fund here locally. And we do have astronaut residents from since exact coming up here on stage here in a few. But then there’s also just always great angels and Angel groups like uca. One of the things that I thought was interesting is that out of all of the industries for investment, biomedical was predicted to be the fastest growing segment over the next five years. With number two being marketing and sales tech and number three, the E commerce and retail tech. Can you speak to that alone? Seeing that kinetic ventures?
Yeah, I think that I think that makes total sense. You have we have one exit in biotech this year, at grindz. Probably one of our top performing companies in the ecosystem, marketing retail, we’ve got p&g and Kroger. So these are all just makes sense in our ecosystem. 100%. Can I go back to one thing you guys were talking about earlier? You guys were talking about diversity, and it’s great what Queen City did and I think that’s probably the most important thing in our ecosystem. And we need to invest more. I mean, the National stats are 6% until we change that and not kinetic Can you can correct me If I’m wrong, but I think fun 140 4% of our companies were women and minority lead. So far and fun to it’s 80%. Wow. Until we start doing that more, we will not change ecosystems and more funds need to bring people like him. We we did we use an algorithm. So we use a machine to screen all of our companies. And that’s taken a lot of any bias out. But until we get there, I think that diversity problems persist.
Well, one of the great things that you have here is an amazingly robust accelerator system. And there are accelerator programs like home and accelerator focused on investing in minority owned businesses, which is fantastic. Just to close here, for you personally, and then and I’m asking the same question, why is it important to invest in startups that are here in Cincinnati? It’s just
a great ecosystem. There’s a lot of smart people coming into the system. We’ve got a lot of great universities in the Midwest, the cost here is lower. And he’s another great market. An IU alum some a little bias, but go Hoosiers. Yep, absolutely. But I think it’s just a great market. And we do have big Coast support. And so many people have left the PNGs and the Kroger’s and the Fiserv to start companies. So you have that skill and training background where you’re not investing in an idea or someone that just graduated college, we have some really skilled individuals that have seen a problem in the market and can take it further.
I think first and foremost, we’re investing I’m doing angel investing for a return on investment. And also, I think that investing in entrepreneurs here in Cincinnati creates a vibrancy in our city that makes it the kind of place where I want to live and I think attracts more of that. So I think it becomes a virtuous cycle that feeds on itself in really positive ways.
Awesome. And thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming up with your file sharing a little bit. Let’s give a huge round of applause. But before I bring your experts, and I want you a huge shout out to someone who’s very active here in the Cincinnati ecosystem, and as frost brown Todd, legal advisor to anyone from frost runtime here. Our friends right there in the back. Thank you so much for supporting the Cincinnati tech community. Sorry, the startup since the community in a sense, the technology community. One of things I love about things that they know that every startup begins with an idea, and they’re willing to help startups out along that path. They want to give them advice along the way to make sure that they’re protecting themselves. I know we use legal counsel all the time on our journey. And it’s very, very important to make sure you’re thinking about the risk as well. That is what entrepreneurship is it’s managing risk. It’s continuing to weigh risk and choose the risk reward that’s gonna have the greatest potential for growth. And that’s a lot of what we’re talking about today. So just wanted to say thank you very, very much for supporting. Next up, we’re gonna talk a little bit about the talent and career community here in Cincinnati. And we’ve got some great people to talk about that first up, I want to welcome an entrepreneur to the stage. She has been an amazing member of the community here. She’s co founder of cloverleaf, their SAS platform provides data driven insights to empower every person in the organization to increase their relational and communication effectiveness, ultimately, improving productivity and engagement. Please help me welcome Houston morfill. Kiersten thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here. We’re talking talent.
This is your jam isn’t my damn,
I know. Right? Can you talk to me a little bit about what it was like to hire your first employee here in Cincinnati?
Sure. So our first employee actually joined us when we have no money. We paid her a couple of $100 a month to write some blogs for us and she’s now a marketing manager. It I actually slightly disagree with c capital is pretty hard. But that’s just my
opinion. And I’m here from the
founder side. But that’s so she said with us for almost a year as we were going to call to April. We’re gonna close in August. I swear by the end of the Okay, February. So she was fantastic. Yeah, that was our first employee of saying murmur. You’re here. I love you.
Oh. The number one reason people chose to work and since the according to this tech census that we did, is affordable cost of living. 23% of respondents answered that was the number one reason number two and three respectively were that my social network is here, and also they grew up here. Have you found that to be true as you built your team globally?
I’m sure I’ve actually never talked to any of our staff about that, but I’m sure that is the reason and I think if I can talk as a founder, that’s part of why Darren and I are my co founder, Darren, and I stay here as opposed to going somewhere else is because of those reasons right there. It’s Our Community, we both have families, it’s just a place for wherever we wanted to say. But even though capitals that are inherently much more talent and all of that in other places, for us, it was those reasons.
And you’re still very much in the seed growth stage of things. Sometimes it’s gonna be very hard to compete with salaries, especially when you’ve got so many Fortune 500 companies here in town that people could be going and making six figures, I’m guessing you’re probably not paying most of your employees, six figures at this point, if you’re like any other seed stage company I’ve ever talked to. So how do you cross that chasm to get great talent, even when you can’t match six figures? Absolutely. Okay.
So when we were hiring our dev talent, so I met some of the other staff are about it’s easier to get Junior talent than senior talent, we actually have no trouble attracting senior talent. But they what senior talent asked us about in the interview process is very much about compensation related questions. And we learned very quickly, even though we can hire seniors right away, they could plug in know what they’re doing and take us quickly right away. They just wouldn’t be a good culture fit because they were concerned about things that didn’t have anything to do with why we’re doing what we’re doing. So we shifted strategy. And we actually went more for junior talent, which we actually have a bit of trouble finding, we wanted to find a good Junior talent that was really aspirational seltzer. So we ended up hiring, our dev talent is mostly Junior under their CTO. And they, what we learned in the interview process is we asked more questions about like, how did you become a developer and they’re like, self taught, like, Oh, when I was 12, I just started recording practice computer science itself from school. And that’s what I spend my time doing. And then in math classes, like, Hey, can you give me more homework? And like, what? Yeah, I want you on our team. Another person we took away from a big co in Cincinnati, sorry. And he had had one year of experience there. And we like it was a harder decision for him, I think, because of competition on the sense of things. But like, he self taught how to become a developer, because he wanted to be a part of building something from start to finish and see his impact. And so for us, like you, like you can’t teach somebody to want those things and to be curious and to be a self starter, and to be a self teacher. And so when we shifted our focus away from the compensation conversations to more, what are your passions around why you’re a developer or why you’re into marketing or whatever, we started to realize like, one we can afford you. So that’s good and seed stage, but to like, you can take our products a lot farther because of your passion. So even though we did, we delayed our hiring, it took us longer to find people, we still hit our target of launching our product. We didn’t have any data on launching our products on time, because we ended up hiring people who were super passionate about why we were doing what we were doing.
Speaking of junior talent, there are amazing universities here in the Greater Cincinnati area. And so I’d love to welcome someone very special to the stage. He’s helping shape the future of entrepreneurs at Miami University. And he is actually an entrepreneurship professor at Miami University. Please help me welcome to the stage Mark lacquer. Thanks, Mark. All right, Mark. I’m gonna start off by asking you to name all the other competition in the Greater Cincinnati. What are some of the other great universities besides man University.
We have a stunningly great ecosystem just
must be back there playing golf.
We have a stunningly great ecosystem here for universities. Here’s a fun fact. Go back six years ago, six years ago, there were four different universities ranked in the top 25 for their entrepreneurship programs. Xavier NKU, UC Miami. Silicon Valley doesn’t have that. Chicago doesn’t have that. We were the only ecosystem in the country. We’ve got great talent here. That’s not the question.
We got a lot of money. And now I want to drop the other mic. Okay. You do have amazing talent here. And I know one of the things that we found is that Miami University is one of the top universities engaged here. Can you talk a little bit about how universities like Miami are engaging with the startup ecosystem?
Yeah, that’s a great question. Because it has to be intentional. We’re academic universities, we actually act like academic universities want an academic schedule. Here’s when you’re not on an academic schedule when you need something you need. Now, when you need a project done, you need it. Now, when you need talent, you need it now. So if a university is willing to engage, they intentionally have to change something. We’ve done that in Miami, we’ve done that in multiple programs, I represent the entrepreneurship program. But I can also speak very closely about our sister program, interactive media studies, we very intentionally place students in young companies, and we do it in a moment’s notice. We do it on a project basis, we do it on a part time internship basis, we do it on a semester long internship basis, we do it on a summer internship basis, we do it through class projects to create things. And what we’re trying to do is help you build, we’re trying to help you take projects off the side and put them into play. We’re trying to build repeatable business models, we’re trying to do the research that you can’t get to. But we have to be intentional about it. Look at 22 years old, and this was not in the data. At 22 years old, you have a choice. You can stay in this town, which is great if you’re from here and already heavy social network. But what if you’re going to school around here, and you didn’t grow up in Cincinnati? You’re more likely to leave unless we do something together. And it’s got to be really intentional. We’ve got to be able to plug our 1819 2021 22 year olds, into your companies into this ecosystem, so that they can see the possibilities here. And when we do my anecdotal evidence is that they’re more than twice as likely to stay. Every time we run an internship here, students come back and tell me I had no idea. This is the coolest place ever. And it changes the conversation with mom and dad, a mom and dad I’m thinking about Cincinnati now Hey, Mom and Dad, I’m thinking about a younger company. They meet people they formed their network in the more likely to stay. But we have to be intentional together.
What’s your number one piece? Because my last question for you? What’s your number one piece of advice for students that might want to work at a startup?
My number one piece of advice for students is to get comfortable with the idea of figuring it out. We do a pretty good job of putting them through the paces of Miami just said that they’re comfortable with that. And there’s a whole lot of folks that get into that vibe once they start experiencing it. So let’s work together to two way street, open your doors for young talent. They’re amazing and do things that you didn’t think they could do. And I think Kirsten and I were talking about that off stage before we came up. So
what’s your number one piece of advice from employers, hiring Junior talent to cook to coach?
Oh, how can fit your values and why you’re doing what you’re doing? Because I was talking about curiosity. And that’s one of our core values. And so that’s part of why they’re so awesome inside of our company. So yeah, have them fit your values and plug for Miami we love when new entrance and UC interns in many we love all the entrance.
Give it up a Pearson environment. We keep things rolling. But not before I get my alma mater a shout out. Actually the IU Kelley School of Business which is where both my co founder and I graduated undergrad from has been amazing supporter of what we’re doing with the tech census, we actually had some of their PhDs help us out with crunching some of the data. We wanted to make sure everything we’re doing was statistically significant. And that really was a snapshot of what’s going on here in Cincinnati. And I you want to be very collaborative with other universities, even outside of Indiana. So I’m very, very grateful that post school of business as a supporter list. Next up, I want to jump into corporate innovation. And for that we have a very, very special guest so 26 years of experience at p&g, helping me several strategic efforts in beauty and grooming also help with acquisitions of a variety of different products. She also worked as an SVP at the sixth annual children’s hospital and is now an executive in residence at City Tech which we’re definitely going to talk about that somebody welcome Jennifer Dower. You’re totally on a game show. First question for 100,000 Now Oh, Jennifer, before we dive into your background and working with the big NGOs, which I know you have a lot of experience, so can you talk a little bit about some deep tech that they come up with a couple of different conversations here. And I know they’re probably the most prolific investor here in the tech ecosystem.
So I’ve been SEC took about six months now. And since the Tech has several people have said, like kcaa, and HCPC, has been around for quite a while, about 11 years. And over that time, over four funds raised close to $80 million. More important than that, though, I think what Mike and the team are most proud of is the follow on capital that’s come along, so over $850 million in follow on capital. So I totally respect and appreciate the challenges that the different companies have at different stages. And I think some of the some of that is reflected in the survey. But I think that the results of city check, and we’re almost to the end of one, four, are indicative of what can be built, when you have really great ideas that are nurtured, that are advanced, and importantly, are attracting capital, both from Cincinnati and other places around the country. And frankly, in our case of the sell side, United States,
absolutely well, and there are so many tech portfolio companies and spoiler alert, that are on the awards that we’ll be announcing here in just a few minutes. But then also, just the fact that they’ve had that much follow on capital brought into companies here is incredible. I know Michael and peg were quoted extensively in tech census report, as well, so great to have their expertise there. One of the things that I thought was really interesting was one of the most popular ways of fundraising here in Cincinnati was actually getting enterprise partnerships. So 40% of founders agree that there’s adequate access to seed funding, whilst 54% agree that there’s adequate access to enterprise partnerships. And Tarik actually, we’re gonna have up here in a minute had a great quote with a tech census report. Two is my favorite kind of funding was revenue. And getting that from a big company is wonderful. Can you talk a little bit as a, as a former big pillar yourself? What was it about working with Swift startups? Or what would you look for when you were working with a smaller company that made it easier to work with a startup?
Having been at Procter for a fairly long time, I would say that, my view is that the organization has evolved its view of working with startups, right? Probably when I first got there, the idea of working with people from the outside was not particularly prevalent, okay. Ag Lafley, as many people know, and others brought in the concept of connecting develop, and this idea of, you know, half of the innovation separate the ideas would come in from the outside was another step in the culture. And that has continued on and my last assignment, there was around new business creation, I think what has continued is a recognition that the opportunity to leverage the external environment to help accelerate people like Procter Kroger, fifth, third, others may have solutions to our problems or opportunities that we like to call them, and how can we effectively and efficiently or how can they effectively and efficiently partner to really accelerate achieving the outcome that they’re looking for? So I think that it’s all a positive evolution, it is a cultural evolution as well. What I think is exciting from the survey is that people are saying they’re getting that kind of traction. What I think is really important, as that continues on, however, is that, you know, the pilots move from first dates to, you know, a longer relationship and ultimately, for the benefit of the startups to real sustained revenue, right, not just a one off. And I think that, you know, if I were still inside of the Big Co wanting to look at how many pilots not only and I was just talking to someone earlier, not only how many pilots have I done, but how many of those pilots have converted? And what have they convert converted into? And importantly, for the big codes, and the startups, what’s the learning out of that, so that the entire ecosystem can continue to get better and smarter. So that if I’m someone new coming into the system, I can learn from others who’ve been there in the past on how do I get that first pilot? And how do I make sure that I ask the startup and prepared to to serve my customer, right? And is the customer the Bidco is really ready to partner and effectively be engaged with that startup? Because otherwise, you’ve got a really bad meeting thing going on there?
Yeah. How do you make sure that that actually happens? Like, like, at what stage? Should a startup really be talking to a big kill? When it’s
able to deliver the pilot that it promises it can do? Okay, this conversation earlier. It’s great to get laugh,
but that doesn’t always it doesn’t.
And I think I mean, there’s a lot of this right, having said multiple chairs on different sides of the table, because in startups to speak entirely different languages, even if they’re speaking English. Okay. What No, I think it’s really important to second thing is are the organizations the two sides aligned on a definition of success? Is there a conversation around what will happen And when you’re successful, because ultimately, a pilot is for the benefit of scale, not not just the benefit of having a big companies logo on the slide, you’re going to put up in front of someone who might fund you. So I think it’s really some of those harder conversations up front. You know, what are we trying to achieve? What is a common success criteria? How will we measure it? And yeah, you’ve sometimes as Eric said, you have to repack your talk everyday things do happen, but at least think about what you want that outcome to be. And how will we then move from there so that there is ideally delight if it’s successful for both parties, and not disappointment? Because you’ve had missed expectations along the way?
That’s great. I could talk to you about this for hours. But I want to ask one final question, which is from your seat, you know, being an entrepreneur residents at Cincy tech, what is your hope for the Cincy tech community with its relationship between the startups in the big coasts?
My hope for since the SEC is that we will be able to continue to do exactly what we’ve been doing. And ideally at an even bigger scale, right, we’ve been able to identify attract amazing entrepreneurs amazing deal flow through outstanding relationships, whether that’s with Cincinnati Children’s, you see other institutions. And I think that, you know, those opportunities come from lots of different places, but identify them, enable them and continue to support them as they grow on their journey. And ultimately, enable them to be as successful as they possibly can. So that we are able to mint and exit and continue to perpetuate, grow and reinvest.
Well, thank you so much for bringing your expertise here to the stage into the tech community. Thank you to since the tech to for being just such a great partner. I know that they’re behind everything startup, you know, Cincinnati startup, we suddenly added programs here. So please put your hands together for agenda. All right, we are at our final speaker for the evening. Before we do I do want to give a huge shout out because we brought in a partner all the way from Kansas City to be here tonight. All in Miller’s here somewhere. But ultimately, right here flew from Casey to be here. He’s been shooting interviews all afternoon with entrepreneurs here in Cincinnati because he’s passionate about helping share the stories of the founders unit since the Cincinnati startup community. And so please make sure you check those out later. We’ll be sharing them on social we collaborate with centrifuge to help pick those out and make sure that we’re sharing what’s happening here on a national stage. So I want to give a huge shout out for me. And all the way from Indianapolis. We have our friends at Studio science. pseudoscience are here Chris and Mike. They’re on the side over here came from Indianapolis. They’re designing innovation consultancy that he helped us pick our main pattern paper, they helped us pick our mark our logo that we did they do amazing work. They work very closely with high alpha portfolio companies, which is $100 million fund based out of Indianapolis, that is just an amazing piece of the Midwest technical system that now has clients all over the world. So want to get a huge shout out to alchemy and studio science. Thank you both for being here. All right. Our last presenter I’ve teased throughout this evening and I want to make sure I do them justice. He is a serial entrepreneur, very passionate about artificial intelligence AI uses physical modeling to power sports and relations to Fox Interactive Media. That’s where he sold his last startup to. He’s passionate about creating value, of course, as any entrepreneur is. Please welcome the CEO and founder of circle Tarik, como. Thanks so much. Thanks, Matt. See the heavy Good to see you. Yeah. You were quoted extensively in the tech census report. So thank you for being our eyes and ears. Wise eyes when you have over 25 years and that ingrain the Cincinnati tech ecosystem.
Yeah, so I’ve been in Cincinnati. 27 years. I grew up in Dayton. But I was born in Cairo. But this whole entrepreneurial background, and then I started my first company 20 years ago
What was it like 20 years ago, starting? It’s exciting. Did you have a seed fund and joy? Like this? And OTDR?
No, it was a lot of horse and buggy. But there was nothing. There was literally nothing. So the analogy I like to give to people is anytime you start a business, you’re running a marathon, there’s no easy route. It’s 26.2 Miles no matter what you’re doing, it’s always hard. But in Cincinnati 20 years ago, it was all uphill. They all wind in your face. And they thought you were a lunatic for not working at Proctor not working at Fifth Third or not working in Western Southern, like, what are you doing with your life? That was the philosophy 20 years ago. And so fast forward, maybe 10 years ago. So then we started to have some traction, and I exited in 2005. To box. So I don’t know, where’s this company? Started in Cincinnati sells to company in Los Angeles. We’re part part of Fox Interactive Media, we kept our operations here in Cincinnati. Why did you keep your
operations here and not move to LA?
Well, we sold software. So we can’t raise the price of our software just because their offices were in Beverly Hills, which is where they had their offices. So it didn’t really make any sense. And nobody wanted to. Nobody wanted to live there. Everybody likes kind of the pace and being in Cincinnati. So then you get the brand re on the scene. So I’m working with the brand re
tell us a little bit about the brand re for those that are maybe watching on the live stream.
So there’s a lot of brands hurry along here. I’ve been working with a brand very since inception. And it was really kind of new to Cincinnati had this thing where we’re going to accelerate entrepreneurship. So you gotta remember not too long prior to that entrepreneurship was a bad word. Now you’ve got these folks that show up on the scene that says not only is it not a bad word, we want to accelerate it. And it was kind of revolutionary for sleepy Cincinnati. And from that brought a lot of national attention to Cincinnati. We brought a lot of companies from outside of Cincinnati, here. And we had success, right. So we had some companies that were doing really well. We built this wasn’t me it was friendly guys, network of mentors, and capital and trying to figure that out back then. So all of a sudden this marathon that you’ve been running, which is still 26.2 miles, it’s not uphill wind in your face, it’s level. Right. Okay, I can take that. I like that. Then central view shows up. So central views so I don’t know if people know the backstory, I can give it to you in 15 seconds. But basically, you might say something.
No, elevator backstory, I would I would love to
hear. So basically the backstory for centrifuge is the big Coast got together, and they had McKinsey go study once the Cincinnati need to do to be competitive going forward. And one of the things that came out of that study was you have to have entrepreneurship and innovation in your region. And so from that came this idea of putting centrifuges together the fund to funds, startup, Cincy. All these things started to be born out of that. And so now you’ve got, as Eric said, you’ve got a lifeguard in the pool, which is exactly what we needed. And it was way before anybody was thinking about doing anything like this. And it’s been very unique and very positive for us as a region. And it really has brought all these disparate things together in a very unique way, and set us up for success. So much so that you’ve got other communities now licensing, a lot of what we’re doing, and people calling us nationally saying, How did you figure this out? So that is just a testament to interviews and the team and Wendy and Eric, and everybody that works here, how you bring all this together. So back back to the marathon. It is now running downhill when you’re back. So this is where we’ve gone from 20 years ago, where it was brutal. It was hard. People thought you were crazy, too. This is great. So you’ve got people that are going to be there and support you. It’s still a marathon, right? It’s still difficult, but it’s not like it used to be.
Can you talk to me a little bit about the marathon you’re on now with circle? Yes. And how you came up with that idea? And maybe a little context of how this startup was a little bit different than 20 years ago when I first jumped into the startup. I don’t know if that you could call it
a scene at that point. Right? There’s no scene. So every business that I’ve really that I have started is come from something that I’m passionate about. All of them are never intended to be businesses in circle is no exception. So circle came out of a need I saw for better communication for my kids. tools. So I just moved from Madeira, my kids, any independent here, one single. Thank you. All right,
a personal note to yourself that I know who that
is. So I saw this issue with communication in my kids school district, and the DIR is very high performing people move there for the schools, but they’re not engaged. And so when I looked at that, I thought, There’s got to be a better way. And so I like to solve problems. So I came up with circle really as a way to help address getting the right information to the right people at the right time, just for my kids schools. But really, once that started to be used within the school district, I realized everybody has this issue, whether it’s a company is trying to engage their employees, or whether it’s a university trying to engage their alumni, or whether it’s a nonprofit trying to engage their constituents, Everyone is struggling, because we create so much communication. And so what if we could bring the Netflix style of communication where everything is tailored to everybody? That is the future that I see. But it was never intended to be a business it was, I want more people to show up at my kids stuff. That was a holiday.
When circle what what was sort of like the idea genesis for what we’re doing, and how many cabinet resources here in Cincy, to get it off the ground.
So like most ideas started in a bar, the mid year, and which is an actual thing. It’s awesome. It is awesome. But that’s where it started. And I just believe in Bootstrap, right? My background is technical. I like to build things. And so I didn’t have to go out and raise money to build this myself. That’s what nights and weekends are for. And so you go out and do that, when you have that skill, you do that. And then as it started to gain traction, then I started to bring in some other folks in terms of capital, we could still have never raised institutional capital. So we’ve heard a lot about institutional capital today, we’ve raised this is a testament Cincinnati, we raised four and a half million dollars from individuals. We’ve not taken any last few ocean, I guess, kind of counts, but haven’t really taken any institutional capital. So proud of that. And it’s also a different way to think about building your business, right? There’s not just one path to get to the end, as an entrepreneur, you got to love solving problems. Raising capital, or how you going to finance your business is definitely a problem. How are you going to find talent, who you’re going to hire, how much you’re going to pay them? Where are you going to have your offices, everything is a problem. So we’ve been really fortunate to kind of be where we are. It’s a bit of a different story than some others. But
that’s okay. I love it. What’s your number one hope for what’s next and the society and community.
I am really passionate about the society tech community. I have been for a long time I volunteer with all the accelerators. I’m on the board at Central fuse and really passionate about it. But I will say this, I am way more passionate and hopeful that Procter does well that Kroger does well. We have got to figure that out. We, as technologists, or as entrepreneurs, can help them as you take all the startups together, all of them. It’s a rounding error on any one of those companies budgets, we have to have the big coasts do well, that’s really important. If we can systematically build this ecosystem, where we can have the next proctor emerge and the next Kroger emerge here, that’s awesome. But I can’t imagine what society would be like without p&g or Kroger. And so if we can help them in some way that was really important. So beyond that, I think it is getting more people involved. really breaking down some barriers. So this is not as hard as it looks. It’s harder. But you’ve got to be honest about that. What it really is versus what we put out as a myth. It’s not just lady in Los Angeles just drinking beer and playing. But most real companies are harder. We’re like, and I’m just giving Charlie a hard time because they’re amazing. It is really difficult. Even those guys like it is difficult. You just don’t see that it looks fun and it looks sexy. And that’s what the media wants to grab on to. And everyone here who start a business can tell you, it is brutally hard. Like I used to have hair. Charlie. So that should indicate to you that it is not. It is not fun and games, it is brutally difficult.
Well, and speaking of fun and games and low center, they’ve got a happy hour coming up. And we’ve got some awards to announce. So I want to give Tarik ml a huge round of applause. Thank you. All right, I’m gonna bring Todd back up here to the stage, we are going to announce the winners. This is a popular vote. But before before I do, I want to give another group of people a huge shout out. They came from Indianapolis as well. They are partners of ours at in Indianapolis at how to pay the bills, our financial model that we grew our business on may help literally dozens, maybe even past 100 Mark at this point. Other tech companies do the same. Back to the very back down and Tom are here for Indianapolis accounting. These guys are amazing. And if you have a question about growing and scaling your business, these are the people to talk to you. I’m talking to you in the Livestream. They’re talking to you out here in Cincinnati. They’re passionate about doing it, but also very passionate about building community. I can always count and looking at any of our events, whether it was in Indianapolis or here in Cincinnati, and finding my place because they really care about entrepreneurs. And we came all the way here so thank you 10 accounting for supporting what we’re doing here in Cincinnati. Right, we want to close by recognizing some of the top tech companies in Cincinnati. This was done by popular vote by who took the tech census. And these are we had a drumroll all cute are gonna have your hands might get tired because there are 10 of them. So what why don’t we just do a countdown sort of was David Letterman a did the top 10 candidates, if you could top it off with companies starting with
sort of a number 10 And I’m gonna read this for the best culture right? This is the best culture as voted by tech census takers and I’m gonna read the company description, the pilot gate here and see see if you can guess what is number 10 A startup inspired software innovations Innovation Agency that has differential you look for differential location data company on a mission to restore cities and quantify insight that sounds awesome spatial lightfast number eight and on demand staffing recruiting platform that automates the process of matching worker skills to job requirements. That is filler. Good job Karissa and number seven AI powered communication platform that personalizes every digital intersect interaction with your audience on a daily circle. Number six analytics platform on a mission to help managers discover hidden qualities of their teams. That’s cloverleaf. Number five, the market leader in trend driven influencer content and social media marketing apology now part of Questions number four, they’re an app to help you dress better by optimizing your wardrobe with personalized clothing recommendations xxx
number three, a technology company with a proprietary platform that transfers data through sound tones, anyone? Mr. And there we go. And I don’t know what happened number two, but I’ve just skipped over number number one to number one.
Number one on my team protection anyway, number two,
and the number one best culture has voted by the tech census and this is not homecoming, promises totally objective lowson Our number two is astronomer right. Why we’re sorry. I somehow missed that. So there’s, so I’ll continue on with innovation. Please be aware. So
these are the most innovative companies in Cincinnati as voted by Texas and Sanders?
Yes, exactly. And there was some crossover here some crossover, which is not surprising. Some of the most progressive companies are both innovative as well as as well as happy cultures. So number 10, I believe again. Number nine ology again We’re at pillar number seven flag Well, here’s a new one. This is a technology using a non invasive electronical electronic wearable system to measure and transmit real time data about human sweat. That’s pretty specific. That’s Heckard systems. Number five is a platform that helps organizations get data moving by quickly and easily adopting Apache Airflow. That’s astronomer running because number four, a platform uses virtual reality to help maximize productivity for distributed teams at immersive VR.
Number three spatial
number two listener. And the number one innovative tech company in Cincinnati, as well as the best culture in Cincinnati Lausanne.
We sure in Scotland there, there are six o’clock recruits that write their own shots.
It’s a great connection by anyone that was on the stage here today to come back to the stage. Come on back to the stage. We’ll do like SNL style. There’s a lot of those guys up here as well. Charlie wants to hear and what’s up a huge round of applause. This amazing technique is almost system at large, naturally, globally. We’ve got an amazing group here. And we’re very passionate about helping better connects in Sudan and beyond. So thank you so much for being a part of this next photo up there. Thanks for being here. And Where’s where’s the party on next recruit Grigory domains directory on Main Street. We have a happy hour along with we’re giving out some prizes for a challenge that we’re standing for going. To The Channel thank you