Southern Comfort – Text And The City

From Crains Cleveland Business


Southern comfort

The Cincinnati Enquirer profiles a couple Medina entrepreneurs who are getting some traction for their startup in northern Kentucky.

A year ago, the newspaper says, Shawn Blain and Steve Wallack “had a product they thought worked — a hyper-local mobile app that connects users with businesses and events in their own neighborhoods. But they needed more funding, more research, and the talent and technology to finish it.”

They found it in the UpTech business accelerator program based at Northern Kentucky University.

“Nearly a year after entering the program, Blain and Wallack are preparing to launch their ‘Text and the City’ app by June 1,” The Enquirer reports. “They’ve also found a home here. Their company is now based in Newport, and the app will focus on northern Kentucky neighborhoods (with a Cincinnati version coming next year).”

Ms. Blain tells the newspaper that UpTech connected them with experts in the community (including former executives at Procter & Gamble) and gave them access to the tech expertise of NKU students, which proved vital to finishing the app.

Their business was one of eight companies that each received up to $100,000 in seed money to develop their fledgling tech companies into viable business ventures at UpTech.

The newspaper reports that UpTech “will begin accepting applications for the second round on April 16, and online seminars will be offered between now and then for interested applicants.” Last year’s inaugural round drew 157 qualified applicants; organizers hope to double that number this year.


Cities where startups are thriving – Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio


It’s not exactly the tech-savvy California coast, but this Midwestern city is starting to make a name for itself in entrepreneurial circles.

The city has made a major turnaround in recent years. It all started with a depressing economic report that showed the region was falling behind on venture capital. The report showed new companies had access to investors who supplied seed-stage money — the first round of funds. But after that, the money dried up. Startups had to fend for themselves.

To remedy this, big corporations in Cincinnati stepped in to create Cintrifuse, which provides office space and connections to entrepreneurs. Startups also get access to investors nationwide through a special funding program used to draw investments from outside the city.

Smart entrepreneurs combine this help with early stage funding from CincyTech, a nonprofit venture capital provider, and mentoring from classes at The Brandery, a top 10 accelerator.