Accelerator Breakdown: The Brandery Experience

Startup founders explain what it’s like to go through an accelerator

Pedal to the metal, an accelerator is just what it sounds like — a program designed to get startups closer to their goals of scaling and growing a company. One of the acclaimed accelerators in Cincinnati, The Brandery, is known for its “concierge” accelerator experience. Here, startups are paired with a network of mentors, creative agencies, and are given access to some of the world’s biggest companies including Procter & Gamble and Kroger. Other benefits of the 12- week program include $100K and a year of free office space. So, what happens when you get into The Brandery? We interviewed past Brandery and gBETA (a smaller, free version of their accelerator program) participants to get an inside look into how Cincy revs up its startups.


Clancy Boyer, COO: Frayt

Frayt is a Cincinnati-based tech company that brings simple, professional, on-demand shipping through a delivery app.

TechOhio: If you had to describe your experience in The Brandery / gBETA accelerator using only three words what would they be?
Clancy Boyer: Immense, Stretching, Profitable

TO: Why those three words?
CB: Immense because it was one of the greatest things we had done up to that point for our fledgling company. Stretching because the team at gBETA made us think about our business differently than we had before, and we were pushed out of our comfort zone and challenged in a very good way. Profitable because everything we learned helped us to grow our company.

TO: What is something surprising about an accelerator that people on the “outside” might not realize?
CB: You realize the importance of humility and using that to connect with people in a very human and beneficial way.

TO: What was the hardest part about going through an accelerator?
CB: The crush of time. There are always deadlines. These make you more succinct and cause you to figure things out faster and more simply.

TO: What was the “biggest” thing you learned through the process?
CB: That groups like the Brandery and gBETA are really hidden treasures. Without the networking at Cintrifuse we would never have known about either.

TO: If you had to give advice to someone thinking about applying for an accelerator or just starting out in one, what would it be?
CB: DO IT! Take it all in. Eat it all up. Write it down, repeat it. Ask questions like a 5-year old. Absorb everything.


Natasia Malaihollo, founder and CEO: Wyzerr

Wyzerr is a Cincinnati-based artificial intelligence platform that turns customer and employee feedback into simple reports.

TechOhio: If you had to describe your experience in The Brandery / gBETA accelerator using only three words what would they be?
Natasia Malaihollo: Transformative, productive, invaluable

TO: Why those three words?
NM: The Brandery helped transform our company, Wyzerr, from a startup to a fully functioning business. The time we spent in The Brandery helped us really hone in on what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it, and the structure of the program just forced us to be productive with the resources and the time we had. The Brandery was an invaluable experience for us in that it helped us raise $2 million in seed funding, gain large customers like P&G and Kroger, and create our brand.

TO: What is something surprising about an accelerator that people on the “outside” might not realize?
NM: There’s so much access to people and networks that you would never be able to reach on your own.

TO: What was the hardest part about going through an accelerator?
NM: You get rejected a lot. In a normal situation, you wouldn’t have as much access to potential customers or investors in such a short amount of time, so the rejections are few and far between. However, in an accelerator, the program purposefully matches you with investors and potential customers every day so you’re constantly battling rejection.

TO: What was the “biggest” thing you learned through the process?
NM: Some people are just not your early adopters. That’s okay. Don’t spend more time than you need selling your startup to them. Just move on and focus on finding people that are.

TO: If you had to give advice to someone thinking about applying for an accelerator or just starting out in one, what would it be?
NM: Always end every meeting with the question “is there anyone else you think I should talk to? I would love an introduction.” This helps you extend the network the accelerator gives you and allows you to meet more people than you would have initially.


Marjorie Greenhalgh, Founder: Brandefy

Brandefy is an app that compares value-brand products to premium-brand products to help shoppers save money.

TechOhio: If you had to describe your experience in The Brandery / gBETA accelerator using only three words what would they be?
Marjorie Greenhalgh: Fast, furious… and fun

TO: Why those three words?
MG: Fast: the acceleration part was most certainly true! Furious: it sounds good with fast, ha! But seriously, you have to harness your inner Dwayne Johnson. And fun, because we made friendships and connections that are invaluable to our business.

TO: What is something surprising about an accelerator that people on the “outside” might not realize?
MG: Balance isn’t built in. Find time to exercise/read/meditate/whatever you need to be a better CEO.

TO: What was the hardest part about going through an accelerator?
MG: You get so many insights and ideas about your business that it can be difficult to sort through what you should act on and what you should spend more time digging into.

TO: What was the “biggest” thing you learned through the process?
MG: Making meaningful change is actually a lot easier than putting it off.

TO: If you had to give advice to someone thinking about applying for an accelerator or just starting out in one, what would it be?
MG: Have a very clear metric, like “I want to do this,” and judge yourself on how everything relates to that metric.

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