The Brandery Demo Day at DogPatch Labs NYC

January 3rd, 2011 by Caroline Scheinfeld View Comments

Attendees battled wind and rain to make it to The Brandery’s Demo Day recently, hosted by DogPatch Labs. The Brandery, an incubation program, prides itself as “the seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator.” Six companies take part in its three-month mentorship and participate in several demo days, one of which was at DogPatch. Unfortunately due to the closing of LaGuardia Airport, three teams could not make it to the demo.

The incubation program takes place in Cincinnati because of its brand-building DNA, which has been firmly entrenched in the roots of the city. Cincinnati might not resonate as a “tech” city, but is recognized as one of the world’s top five consumer marketing regions. Iconic and successful brands like Macy’s and Procter & Gamble both call Cincinnati hometown! While Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley (NYC) have large early- stage tech company portfolios, The Brandery promises Cincinnati is “a better place to be based,” if the start up is consumer-faced. In addition to its location, the program offers mentorship, $20,000 in seed funding and opportunities to pitch angel and venture capitalists.

In return for mentorship, seed funding and all other intangible assets associated with the program, The Brandery receives a 6% equity stake in the companies, and receives common stock, “founders stock.” That the word “brand” is found in the program’s title underscores the program’s focus on branding start-ups. If consumers are the focus, then you must build a brand identity like Proctor & Gamble would do for Tide detergent.

Attendees heard pitches from three companies: ideaRally, giftiki and venturepax. IdeaRally, founded by Senay Semere and Matthew Veryser, links companies with questions to students with answers and propositions. Companies like Converse post problems, challenging students to come up with solutions in return for payment, jobs or internships. Students can also voice their own opinions/suggestions for brands on ideaRally. The site can be seen as a global platform for collaboration. The founders believe the amount of participation is directly proportional to the quality produced by ideaRally.

Giftiki, founded by Justin Stanislaw and Bryan Jowers, provides the ability to give your friends Facebook-type gifts that are worth real money. Cash gifts are gifted via computers and mobile devices. The gift giver can purchase a virtual gift valued at any amount, which the receiver can cash out. You can receive $5 to purchase an actual beer verses receive a picture of one via facebook virtual gifts. The process is entertaining and extremely viral. The company believes they have a large market due to the $75 million per year spent on worthless virtual facebook gifts.

The third company to present was VenturePax, founded by Danny Stull, who describes his site as a “Yelp for the outdoors…with gaming mechanics like Foursquare.” Danny believes society’s cure for stress is “getting outside.” The blend of technology and nature can enable users to share their experiences, find out about destinations, and purchase outdoor gear. Danny believes people using his site will influence others to become a part of their outdoor community.

Click here to read about the other 3 companies LifeBlinx, turboBOTZ, and VenueAgent as well as the three mentioned above.


About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »


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