Cincinnati has been rallying around the Startup Bus contest ever since it launched on Twitter. It was the leading city in the contest for the most tweets to bring in the Bus, and the enthusiasm remains strong. The Startup Bus is capturing the imagination of Cincinnati’s many marketing professionals, coders and front-end designers, many of whom work in Southwest Ohio’s burgeoning startup scene. Known historically as a strong corporate-headquarters town – Procter & Gamble, Kroger and Macy’s are based in Cincinnati – the region in recent years has become home to vigorous entrepreneurial activity as well. Venture capital investment in technology-based startup companies is blooming (CincyTech has raised $125 million for about 30 local startups in the last few years); the consumer marketing/IT accelerator The Brandery was named a Top 10 accelerator last year; and entrepreneurs are coming from all walks of life to launch the next big idea.
The major partners behind the Bus include U.S. Bank in Cincinnati, venture development organization CincyTech, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, which are providing financial support for the Bus and the local participants, and the city’s host of digital agencies, including WPP firms Possible Worldwide and Rockfish Interactive and Empower MediaMarketing, which are contributing their talented employees.
Ohio is starting to see a surge in the tech sector with some of the largest software development companies in the MidWest based in Ohio. The 2011 Cleveland StartupBus pushed Mom and Pop Coops into the finals and had 6 teams compete while on the bus. This year, the Cincinnati bus plans on selecting only the elite of the entire state to compete against the big dogs of the east and west coast to not only show who is best in the 3 cities in the state, but who is best in the county.
Conductor Greg Svitak has been around new products for most of his life. He met his first girlfriend when he was 10. Her name was an Apple II+ and he has loved technology ever since. He currently works at Hyland Software in Cleveland, where he reports to the CTO and has helped lead more than 20 product C level sponsored projects to market in 8 years. Greg is also very active in the technology community of Northeast Ohio by helping plan GiveCamp and StartupWeekend.
As a member of last year’s Cleveland StartupBus, Greg’s mission is bring the winning team back to Cincinnati and show the rest of the county that there is more to Cincinnati than just the Red and Bengals There is a lot of great HHH (Hackers, Hustler, and Hipsters) in the MidWest and this is the chance to show it off and get national attention. If you ride with him on the bus, you will learn how the StartupBus helped inspire Flock’d and that startups can be done in the MidWest.