Top 10 Sizzling Startups in Cincinnati Ohio
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Photo courtesy: City of Cincinnati

Their startup scene started back in 1837 with Proctor & Gamble and continues today.

If you visited Cincinnati in the late 1800s you’d tell friends back home you were in the “Paris of America,” so named because of the stunning architecture rarely seen outside Europe. Today you’d say you were visiting the 28th-largest metropolitan area and site of the convergence of the Licking and Ohio rivers.

Early success means Cincinnati has some old and strong companies, like Proctor & Gamble started there in 1837 and Kroger in 1887. Macy’s has the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City but Federated Department Stores (1858) started and remains in Cincinnati (and now calls itself Macy’s). The University of Cincinnati is the second largest employer in town.

Big schools and big business make for some big dreams and that means startups. The German heritage means people there know how to work. Big dreams and hard work can make any startup scene sizzle, and they do in Cincinnati.


Photo courtesy: PatientPoint

Everyone wants better health, especially in today’s political climate. One way to do that is help doctors educate their patients during and immediately after an exam. PatientPoint has been winning awards and new doctor partners for well over a decade with their patient education material and programs.

Doing this for decades? Yes, PatientPoint started in 1987, making it a geriatric patient in Internet years. But all things health are hot today, and Searchlight Capital Partners and Silver Point Capital, L.P. banded together for a private equity placement of $140 million in late June 2017.

Aerpio Pharmaceuticals

Photo courtesy: Aerpio

Focusing their biotechnology expertise of novel small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of vascular diseases (especially of the eye) and wound healing, Aerpio spun out of Akebia Therapeutics in 2011.

After spinning free in 2011, Venture Investors anointed Aerpio with $5 million in venture funding in January of 2012. August of that year saw another $27 million in Series A money, followed by $9 million in November 2013 for a Series B round. $4.54 million in debt financing and undisclosed venture money carried them through 2016. In March 2017 they landed another $40 million in venture funding, bringing their total to over $107 million to date.

Everything But The House

Photo courtesy: EBTH

If you think an estate sale is just the dead sibling of a garage sale you’re missing a fast-moving boat. Moreover, what better example of technology bringing something back to life than web-based estate sales that runs auctions over the Internet? And you can get the Everything But The House app on your iPhone if you like.

Cofounders Jacquie Denny and Brian Graves, both experts in the “vintage sales” arena, decided to put their biz online in 2008. Slow to start, two rounds of undisclosed angel funds carried them until a Series A funding round of $13 million arrived in November 2104. $30 million in Series B landed in August 21015, then $41.5 million came in October 2016. Another undisclosed venture round in January 2017 puts their total north of $85 million.


Photo courtesy: LISNR

Sometimes people say data actually talks to us, and for LISNR that is literally true, not a metaphor. Using ultrasonic audio technology they call Smart Tones, LISNR transmits and receives information differently than everyone else. Three areas of progress so far are data transmission, proximity, and authentication. Think of this as a new kind of wireless protocol that performs better in some areas than the protocols we have now.

Beginning in the spring of 2012, a seed round of $850k appeared in June 2013. A year later, $3.5 million in Series A money landed, followed by an undisclosed amount in August 2015. Big deal Intel Capital processed a Series B round of $10 million in November of 2015 for a total well over $14 million.

Morphick Cyber Security

Photo courtesy: Morphick

Malware, viruses, ransomware – cyber security always gets media attention. One way to keep your company out of those headlines is to work with Morphick and their managed detection and response software.

Relatively new in the cyber wars, Morphick started in March 2015. By September that year, Orchard Holdings Group put down $10 million in Series A money at an unknown valuation. At least we know there’s $10 million so far.


Photo courtesy: Ahalogy

Calling themselves the “Passion to Purchase Platform,” Ahalogy provides a data and software solution for marketers to better find customers most willing the be persuaded. Category trend data, influencer content from multiple sources, and a social optimization strategy lets Ahalogy promise big ROI benefits.

$250k in seed money in October 2012 got them going, followed by another $600k in February and $800k in May 2013. That most have worked, because Hyde Park Venture Partners and eight others pup or $3.1 million in Series A money in January 2014. May 2015 saw another Hyde Park placement of $3 million in May 2015, and debt financing of $2 million that same month. All totaled? $9.75 million so far.


Photo courtesy: Astronomer

Big data remains big business and Astronomer helps companies by connecting and centralizing data making it much easier for business users and data scientists. Their Unified Data Routing Platform collects data from any source for any purpose.

May 2015 was a little late in the big data startup gold rush, but Astronomer had some ideas that built on what when before. $750k on angel money helped in April 2016, and $1.25 million in seed funding in October 2016 validated their approach. After another $2.5 million seed round in June of 2017, they also grabbed $1 million in debt financing that same month for a total of $5.5 million.


Photo courtesy: tilr

People need jobs and companies need workers, and search firms try and fill that gap constantly. One different approach, from tilr, bypasses the passion of titles and instead focuses on matching the actual skill sets of workers and needs of companies. Independent workers come out ahead, as do companies, and the phone apps help both.

Founded not long ago in October 2015, the approach drew interest immediately to the tune of $1 million in seed money in December that same year. In June 2016 $1.5 million in angel funding flew in, and in June 2017 another $2 million from two undisclosed investors brought the total investment up to $4.5 million.


Photo courtesy: Roadtrippers

The travel industry bubbles over with planning help for air trips, cruises, and remote vacation packages to global tourist spots. But what about the three quarters of Americans who vacation via road trip? Finally, someone makes car travel exciting, thanks to Roadtrippers and their mobile apps and millions of cool places to visit.

Their journey started in July 2011 with $20k seed funding. Not much, perhaps, but a year later in June 2012 $800k in seed money drove up. Aptly named Drive Capital and another investor filled the trunk with $2.5 million in August 2013 after $625k in January. An undisclosed amount of debt financing in March 2015 kept the wheels turning, and another $55k in venture funding parked in November 2015. Total to date? $4+ million.


Photo courtesy: Losant

The Internet of Things deservedly gets huge press. What the headlines don’t cover is the programming and design work that goes into building complex connected solutions to manage all those IoT gadgets. When your IoT developers get confused they can call Losant for open standards-based tools and workflow advances.

Beginning development in October of 2015, Losant, like most development companies, started working without big bucks. But once some software tools and products are good enough to demonstrate, money comes in. for Losant, it was in August of 2016 that they landed $1.3 million in seed money.

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James Gaskin

About James Gaskin

James writes books, articles, and jokes about technology, and consults for those who don’t read his books and articles.

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