Spry Labs builds solutions to big problems, then finds a market for them.
Building a successful startup can take a long time. Startup companies can be well into their product’s life cycle with millions of dollars raised over many rounds of fundraising before truly proving their worth in the market. The result? An inefficient use of time and money, often resulting in failure or pivoting to address new needs. Spry Labs in Cincinnati is bucking the trend by focusing on quickly validating concepts and working alongside large corporations to solve big problems.
“We build solutions with big companies to address the root of problems at a large scale, as opposed to the traditional method of two guys in hoodies who build their solution over time,” said Emily Geiger, Managing Director of Spry Labs. “We’re lucky to work with major partners in Cincinnati. This approach speeds up the process and gives our ventures a higher rate of success because they come straight from the big market problem. It’s the unique market orientation that gives us our advantage.”
Spry Labs wants to be known as a place for concepts to be tested quickly and either pursued or discarded—much quicker than at a traditional startup incubator or accelerator. If an accelerator helps determine a startups’ viability in the market quickly, Spry Labs does it at warp speed. Entrepreneurs test ideas in just three to five days, discovering very quickly if the concept is destined for success or failure. If deemed successful, the idea is then pitched to Cintrifuse—a resource supporting startups in Cincinnati—and its vast network of investors. Among the big-problem topics for their hackathons were heroin abuse, dental care access, and suicide prevention.
Spry Labs, located in Cincinnati’s Union Hall, was founded through a partnership between Mercy Health, The Health Collaborative, Bethesda Inc. and Cintrifuse a southwest Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. The team is set up uniquely, with four full-time staff supported by a support team of 100+ designers, developers and product specialists from big corporations like Procter & Gamble, or who are transitioning from big companies to the startup community. This lean approach keeps costs down and maintains flexibility to mix-and-match skillsets to address different problems.
“We’re very excited because we just officially incorporated our first company. It’s a social impact tracker solution called Benny that hospitals can use to measure their community impact, something they’re required to do for tax filings,” said Geiger. “Other sustainability organizations can use the platform to track where their profit margins meet the overall mission, helping them be very strategic about their efforts in the community. We have another pilot in the works for an on-demand dental hygiene service, Smiile, so be on the lookout for that.”
Spry Labs believes they’re in the perfect place to institute innovation in big companies to help solve big problems.
“Cincinnati is home to major corporations and we’re proud to call them partners. Mercy Health, Humana, TriHealth. Research-oriented healthcare institutions like Cincinnati Children’s. P&G has a lot of consumer healthcare,” said Geiger. “These companies need to innovate, and we’re here with the tools to help them do exactly that.”