Written by Barb Consiglio
We’ve all heard the phrase, “two heads are better than one,” but what about hundreds of heads, or even thousands? Innovation thrives when people are given a platform to converse and critique each other’s ideas. That’s the philosophy behind the new Cincinnati startup Hatchli. The company’s app allows users to share ideas for businesses, inventions and products at any phase of development, and receive feedback and thoughts from members of a creative online community.
“Things like Twitter, Harry Potter and the Seattle Space Needle were all conceived on the back of a napkin. But imagine how many great ideas scrawled on napkins never made it any further,” said Nugeen Aftab, Hatchli co-founder and COO. “We don’t want to lose the next big innovation because someone didn’t have anywhere to share it.”
New ideas can be validated and receive feedback on next steps, while more developed ideas can use Hatchli as market research to learn if any changes should be made to their product. Users range from inventors to corporate research and development teams. They create a Hatchli profile, enter preferences and follow other users. It’s similar to being part of a social media network like Facebook, the difference being everyone has the same interests. The initial goal is to build a diverse and creative community so that individuals, startups and large corporations have a new way to get immediate and valuable feedback.
The four founders of Hatchli are students at The Ohio State University and are actively involved in student entrepreneurial activities. Three of the founders interned at Startup.co, a website that provides articles and podcasts from seasoned entrepreneurs. They realized that many new entrepreneurs didn’t have a way to validate their ideas and move forward with creating successful businesses. They created Hatchli to help people figure out the next steps after the big idea.
Hatchli is part of the 2016 Brandery class, a southwest Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. During their time at the accelerator, the company was able to refine their idea, launch the app and prepare their pitch. A $50,000 investment from the organization helped the company to further develop their platform and build a user base.
Aftab says the knowledge and mentorship they gained in Ohio is what made their company possible. She says the opportunities presented to them through universities, corporations and state resources is why Ohio has the reputation as a great place to do business.
“Everyone we come in contact with is willing to help us grow,” said Aftab. “Business mentors have helped us make connections at innovation centers within Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and Wendy’s. Experienced entrepreneurs are willing to give us the personalized attention to help us make sound business decisions and continue to improve our platform.”