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Startup event highlights investment in region

Local startups raised nearly $67 million in seed- and venture-capital funding in 2011 – a 26 percent increase over 2010. 
 
David Willbrand, a partner at Thompson Hine and chair of the firm’s Early Stage and Emerging Companies practice, will speak about the increase in startup activity and investment in the region at the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association’s State of Startup Investment luncheon, Wednesday, April 25.  
 
The luncheon also will feature three short startup pitches, a keynote talk and a panel discussion by local investors on the state of startup investing in Greater Cincinnati. The event is being held from 11 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. at Mainstay Rock Bar, 301 W. Fifth St. More information and a link to register can be found here.
 
A total of 29 startups received venture investments in Cincinnati last year. The majority – 41 percent – of deals made in Southwest Ohio last year were in information technology companies, including batterii, Blackbook HR, Define My Style, Ilesfay Technology Group and ThinkVine.
 
The other leading category was health care/bioscience. One new health-care startup was Airway Therapeutics, a company based on 10 years of research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that is developing proteins that significantly improve lung development in premature infants. Another was eMerge Health Solutions, which automates documentation during treatments at ambulatory surgery centers. 
 
eMerge is a software-as-a-service provider. Other startup companies in this sector that received initial investments last year include SoMoLend, a social and mobile peer-to-peer lending technology. Balanced Insight, which provides business intelligence software to help other companies improve collaboration and productivity through intelligent data-driven decisions, received a follow-on round. 
 
A trend that seems to be growing is investment in social-sharing startups – companies that provide content based on a user’s interests and location that the user in turn shares via his or her social networks. The three companies in this sector that received investment in 2011 were Girls Guide To, VenturePax and VenueAgent. 
 
By Sarah Blazak
 

Public Allies grows local leaders

Mildred Fallen is something of a Cincinnati historian. A local journalist, you can often see the product of her verbal explorations of Cincinnati's hip-hop scene in the pages of CityBeat and other publications. Her pieces often reflect something that's been lost to time or merely overlooked. And it's with this perspective that Fallen approaches her other, newer calling: social work.
 
In fall of 2011, Fallen joined Public Allies, a non-profit organization under the umbrella of AmeriCorps and a program of the local nonprofit Bridges for a Just Community. Allies' goal is to turn socially driven, passionate people into the next generation of leaders. Allies partner with other non-profits in Cincinnati to help with programming, training and community building.
 
"I had never heard of the program," says Fallen, who joined in 2011. But she was swept up in the movement. "They believe in enticing young people to approach leadership in their own way. It's not a cookie cutter or corporate way."
 
Fallen was placed with two non-profits after joining Public Allies — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Bridges. She splits her time between the two groups, focusing her energies on engaging the broader community. She manages social media, like the organizations' Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs for both organizations and circulates information to demographics that could benefit from the organizations' resources.
 
Fallen also is a natural master of the "teachable moment." After the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager killed in February 2012, she helped organize a race forum at Woodward High School called "What's Race Got to Do With It?" that allowed residents to have a broad discussion about race and class in America. Fallen says that by engaging the region, you develop a more just community.
 
"People talked about how violence affects people like Trayvon, but also other people in Cincinnati as well," Fallen says.
 
During her tenure at the Freedom Center, she also has helped organize a capacity event with activist and author Angela Davis that attracted nearly 800 people — 600 in person and another 200 tuned in on UStream. She also pioneered a blog within the Freedom Center called "Queen City Conductor" that explores the little-known accomplishments of Cincinnatians of color.
 
Fallen says she wouldn't have been able to accomplish what she has in the last year without Public Allies. "The biggest component that people don't know about Public Allies is the training we receive," she says. "This is the first time I've really had a lot of peer support. I'm looking at myself professionally. I've been able to do a lot in a short amount of
time."
 
Fallen also is part of a community service project in partnership with the Strive Partnership. For the last two years, Cincinnati has won the America's Promise Alliance award, which means that the city in considered one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. Together with her team, she is hosting community conversations to find out the public's opinion about Cincinnati's accountability in areas where we were noted as being excellent.
 
Fallen's term of service with Public Allies ends June 30, and her experience has given her a lot for look forward to when she moves on. She says her experience leading up to and throughout Public Allies has made her want to be a social historian of the city while maintaining service projects and engaging the larger community.
 
"I can actually say things like I have time management skills," Fallen says. "I'm successful at completing these projects. I'm confident that once I leave Public Allies, these are strengths I can really be excited about sharing."

By Ryan McLendon

RAW: Cincinnati showcases emerging artists

If you’re a natural born artist, RAW: Cincinnati is looking for you.
 
Coming to Cincinnati in May, RAW natural born artists makes its debut as a showcase for emerging indie artists, including visual arts, film, fashion, music, performing art, hair and makeup artistry and photography. RAW: natural born artists is an independent arts organization that began in Southern California and operates in 32 cities across the United States. Its mission – to provide independent artists with the resources and exposure to expand their careers on both a local and national level (and have a fabulous time in the process).
 
It works like this. Artists can visit RAW: Cincinnati online to submit creative work for consideration. Once accepted, the artists’ work is featured in online profiles on the RAW website, and becomes part of a monthly showcase that combines work from artists across all disciplines in one event, on one night. The events are held at venues where creatives can be loud, expressive and social as they introduce their work to patrons both new and familiar. Clearly not the average gallery show, the Cincinnati version of RAW begins May 18 at Luxe Cincinnati and continues on the third Friday of each month.
 
“Expect RAW: Cincinnati to showcase visual art, live music, designer hair and makeup, and a fashion show,” says Melissa Sideris, director. About 20 to 25 artists will be featured each month in events from May through November, which means there is ample opportunity for indie artists to introduce themselves to wider audiences.
 
“RAW helps emerging artists by providing a platform to showcase their work that they might not otherwise have,” says Sideris. In addition to the public exposure that RAW events provide, on-site photographers and videographers capture each artist’s story in a three to five-minute video that the artists keep to use for creative or promotional purposes.
 
Not only does RAW provide a local platform, artists have the opportunity for exposure on the national level. The November showcase features the top artists of the year, which are entered into a national competition culminating with a year-end awards ceremony held in Southern California.
 
“One of the most exciting things about RAW is that it allows a fun platform where many art forms come to life in one night,” says Sideris. “We are currently looking for artists for our June showcase."

For more information, go online.

Ilesfay receives interest, funding

Ilesfay Technology Group LLC has closed an oversubscribed seed-stage investment round of $615,000, led by CincyTech with $250,000 and completed by Douglas Groh, Steve Turnbull and other private investors. 
 
Ilesfay was founded in 2009 and provides real-time, cloud-based synchronization services through its proprietary PointToCloud™ and MatchMaking™ software. Ilesfay’s technology replaces the slower, expensive point-to-point system of replicating data by storing project information in the cloud and transferring only data that changes between sites. 
 
Chris McLennan, James Taylor and Joe Kramer started Ilesfay with a combined 30 years of engineering experience. They had seen their clients at A&A struggle with information exchange while working on large projects.
 
For example, teams of people around the world can be contributing to the same project. Every time a small change is made to an engineering design, the teams have to exchange huge amounts of data – measured in terabytes. (For a bit of context: One terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes. An average Blue-ray disc contains about 50 gigabytes). Right now companies transmit the data by leasing expensive fiber-optic lines or using virtual private networks (VPNs), which are not only also expensive but require a lot of manpower.
 
Ilesfay uses a cloud-based service to replicate the data.
 
Ilesfay aimed to raise a seed round of $500,000 but was met with such great interest that the round oversubscribed by $115,000. 
 
“The oversubscription confirms our interest and eagerness for Ilesfay’s technology to come to market,” CincyTech senior investment analyst Justin Thompson says. “The company’s patent-pending technology could drastically improve the way that multi-nation companies exchange information. This software will be a key investment for PLM and vaulting companies.”
 
Ilesfay has been piloting projects with Procter & Gamble since its formation. 
 
By Sarah Blazak
 

KnowledgeWorks works to change education system

What started 10 years ago as an effort to increase educational opportunities has grown into a national enterprise that has helped open up 35 small high schools and showed countless students the benefits of continued education after high school. For their decade of work, the University of Cincinnati's Economic Center has awarded KnowledgeWorks with the 2012 Community Service Award.
 
KnowledgeWorks joins the ranks of Duke Energy, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport as recipients of the award. The award is give to organizations that make a, "important local impact and a deep commitment to supporting economic research that guides policy or business practices."
 
“We are honored to be recognized by the Economics Center as we strive to improve education not just in our community, but throughout the United States,” says Brian Ross, KnowledgeWorks president and CEO. “As education budgets constrict, it’s important that school districts are able to identify ways to operate more efficiently without impacting the quality of learning for students.”
 
KnowledgeWorks uses three main ideas to create a complete overhaul of today's education, starting with access for children everywhere, creating better schools and transforming education from schooling to learning. One main contribution to the award was the work of KnowledgeWork's subsidiary, Ohio Education Matters (OEM). With OEM's Ohio Smart School Initiative, the organization presented more than $1 billion in savings in many different areas. With the idea of doing more with less, KnowledgeWorks knows it must plan for educational system that will be much different in coming years. 
 
Not as a way to predict the future, but as a way to guide what will happen in the future, KnowledgeWorks created the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning. The forecast highlights six major areas of change -- altered bodies, amplified organizations, platforms for resilience, a new civic discourse, the maker economy and pattern recognition. While the forecast is difficult to sum up in few words, it does integrate everything form technical advances, to citizen responsibility, to utilizing local resources.
 
By Evan Wallis

QI Healthcare helps hospitals improve quality

The U.S. health-care industry is in great need of cost efficiencies and quality of care improvements, and a new company in Cincinnati is poised to help. 

In 2010, as a country, we spent more than $2.6 trillion on health care but still ranked lower than most countries in terms of quality of care. 

Also, new federal legislation will create incentives for hospitals and health-care facilities to meet quality standards and effectively punish those that don’t. 

CincyTech’s newest portfolio company, QI Healthcare, is helping hospital meet and exceed these quality benchmarks. 

The company was created from technology developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center by Dr. Frederick Ryckman, professor of surgery and senior vice president for Medical Operations at Cincinnati Children’s; Paul Yelton, senior application developer; and Candace Overly, project administrator, Perioperative Services. 

What Cincinnati Children’s developed is called the Surgical Outcomes Collection System (SOCS). It’s a software application for use in hospitals and health-care facilities that aggregates data from a hospital’s various systems, including its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, to conduct institution-wide analyses of cases where quality of care could be improved. 

“The real power of this software is in the ability to analyze every significant patient case,” says Ryckman. “Before SOCS we spent countless hours manually gathering data. SOCS improves the process through automation and enhanced analytics – and it frees up clinical resources to focus on quality improvement.”

Leading QI’s efforts is experienced entrepreneur and health-tech executive John Atkinson. Before being named CEO of QI, Atkinson held leadership roles at WebMD, Mede America and SourceMedical. He is also co-founder of a successful mobile startup, BuzzVoice, a streaming audio news service for smartphones.

CincyTech and Cincinnati Children’s Tomorrow Fund each invested $200,000. This round of funding will go toward sales, marketing and product development, which includes securing a handful of beta test sites for the SOCS software that has been in use at Cincinnati Children’s for more than a year. 

By Sarah Blazak for CincyTech

Local startup bridges gaps between tech, business

Beth Robeson and Sharon Hall have been working on a business that drives innovation in Cincinnati since last year. In January, they launched Bridge2Tec.

Pairing their experience in both IT and consulting, Robeson and Hall plan on helping businesses use the technology they already have while finding technology to give them the highest return on investments.

“We run into situations where companies aren’t taking full advantage of the technologies they have,” Robeson says. “Business can be harmed, in terms of opportunities and wasted resources, because the pace of technology is changing so rapidly.”

Bridge2Tec is designed to help businesses by first finding out what kinds of challenges they face when adapting to new technologies. The company plans on establishing a resource portal to help create and support collaborations, while also hosting inspirational and educational events. The TecTuneUp on April 17 will bring together local tech companies such as Boot Camp Digital and Mindbox Studios, as well as global companies like IBM and Microsoft, so businesses can hear about the most up to date technological trends and ideas.

“What we are most passionate about is helping businesses to adopt more agile business models,” Hall says. “The only way to stay on top of those trends is to have the technology community involved in the conversation.”

Bridge2Tec will also serve as a conduit between the businesses and the tech world to help tech companies understand what businesses need. A perfect example is a recent conversation Hall had with a data center company that helps startup incubators and their companies have a place to store and transfer data. Hall asked the data center if they take the time to inform the startups they work with exactly why and how the data center is beneficial to their companies. The idea never occurred to them.

“That’s exactly what we want to do for both communities,” Hall says. “We have to help find gaps that can be filled and benefit both the technology industry in the region and give businesses a chance to find technologies that suit their needs at the lowest possible cost.”

By Evan Wallis

Mobile coupon innovator Samplesaint gains traction, creates jobs

Just six months after moving from Chicago to Cincinnati, mobile coupon innovator Samplesaint continues to catch major consumer brand and retailer attention. The startup's evolving technology is fueling its growth from eight to 25 employees since coming to the Queen City.

“We've had tremendous growth in product development. In terms of hiring, we've brought on a lot of IT and marketing folks. We have 25 employees, but we're not done yet,” says company founder and CEO Lawrence Griffith, a Cincinnati native.

Samplesaint was built on its mobile phone couponing technology that allows coupons to be easily scanned. It bypasses the more cumbersome process of printing digital coupons or requiring retailers to manually enter coupon codes from a phone.

Samplesaint is more than couponing. It offers a range of mobile marketing, consumer insight, research and experience services. Samplesaint's technology also includes access to a database that ties to retailers' point-of-service, allowing then to immediately identify and determine the redemption and expiration dates of coupons.

The company has already worked with major consumer brands, including Lipton, Breyers, Dove, Hellann's and Ragu, Griffith says.

“The integration of three pieces are what companies are most excited about: our ability to acquire content, geotargeting and data collection,” Griffith says. “And we can work within their existing systems.”

Samplesaint, which still has an office in Chicago, moved to Cincinnati after a $250,000 investment from CincyTech. It was one of the first companies that CincyTech investment attracted from out of state, as well as the first African-American owned company in which CincyTech has invested.

Rahul Bawa, director of digital/IT for CincyTech, says the venture development firm recruited Samplesaint from Chicago because of its unique approach to mobile marketing.

“Samplesaint has pioneered innovative mobile technologies,” says Bawa. “The company offers new ways of delivering content for consumer-focused companies and their brands. There’s a growing need in the marketplace for mobile-based marketing, and Samplesaint continues to explore ways to serve it. And with our emphasis on consumer marketing in this region, a company like Samplesaint belongs here.”

By Feoshia Henderson
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Cincy Haus, Startup Bus ready to rock SXSW with ideas

If you are one of dozens of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents heading to the Interactive portion of the huge South by Southwest festival in Austin next month, you’ll find a little bit of home when you get there.
 
Venture development group CincyTech has secured a #SxCincy Haus -- space in downtown Austin for members of the Cincinnati community to recharge themselves and their devices during the interactive portion of SxSW this year.
 
Four local digital pros will speak on panels. Krista Neher of Boot Camp Digital, Jeff Busdieker of Possible Worldwide, Marty Boyer of Possible Worldwide and Glenn Platt, professor of Interactive Studies at Miami University.
 
In addition, CincyTech, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, in partnership with U.S. Bank in Cincinnati, is helping to sponsor a Startup Bus. Twenty-five to 30 software developers, Web designers and business development folks will ride the bus and work on startup company ideas, which they will pitch to judges in Austin. Find out more and register here: startupbus.com.

Cincinnati is one of only 12 cities across the country hosting the national Startup Bus program.
 
In Austin each day of Interactive, CincyTech will host a #SxCincy Chat featuring a different digital expert from Cincinnati beginning at 4 pm at the #SxCincy Haus. The chats will take place after panels end and before parties begin each day and give SxSW attendees a chance to unwind while networking with other Cincinnati professionals.
 
#SxCincy Haus will be open from 8 am until 8 pm from Friday, March 9, through Monday, March 12. Participants can hang out, get work done, snack and rest up.
 
Additionally, CincyTech will host a #SxCincy Haus Party from 8-11 pm, Saturday, March 10, featuring Cincinnati beer and chili, music from Cincinnati bands and the opportunity to mingle with Cincy’s consumer, brand and marketing experts.
 
On the morning of March 11, founder and CEO of Cincinnati startup Venturepax will lead a kayak and standup paddle board outing on Austin’s Lady Bird Lake. Anyone interested in getting some fresh air should meet at the #SxCincy Haus at 10 am Sunday, March 11.
 
“We’re promoting Cincinnati as a city that understands the future of consumer interactive,” says Carolyn Pione Micheli, communications director for CincyTech. "We have a large number of innovative thinkers at huge corporations, digital agencies and startup companies. SxSW is a great audience with whom to share our story.”

By Sarah Blazak

Infintech gains national partnership

Ryan Rybolt started his payment processing company, Infintech, almost eight years ago. As a former banker, Rybolt thought small to medium businesses were taken advantage of and underserved. Today, his business levels the playing field through partnerships with chambers of commerce all over the country.
 
He put together a business plan with a focus on being fair and transparent by not overcharging on credit card processing fees. Rybolt, who was already connected with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, began to form a partnership five years ago by offering payment-processing rates much lower than other companies. Many chambers offer members discounted group rates on things like offices supplies and health care by leveraging their collective buying power. By doing that with payment processing, Infintech saves chambers and their members around 40 percent on credit card processing costs.
 
“There’s no reason why a business should pay almost twice what it costs to process a payment,” Rybolt says.
 
Infintech provides services for in-store retail, mobile, online and phone purchases. With pre-negotiated rates and no long-term contracts, Infintech gives companies worry-free service.
 
That service won Infintech the endorsement of the state of Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce Executives three years ago, and the business started serving 90 chambers across the state. Earlier this month, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, which is a non-profit that helps manage chambers all over the country, announced their partnership with Infintech.
 
“The took notice of our program and approached us about becoming a partner,” Rybolt says. “This will allow us to grow into any markets we want and at a speed we want.”
 
Already, Rybolt says he has been approached by as far away as Anchorage, Alaska. In the past few years, Infintech has grown by 30 percent or more, and Rybolt expects that to be matched again this year.
 
“This opportunity is going to give us the opportunity to serve clients all over the country,” Rybolt says. “We will really be able to control our own growth.”
 
By Evan Wallis

Choremonster's apps combine learning, rewards

Two Cincinnati natives have developed Choremonster, a Web-based service and mobile app that lets parents and children interact to complete and actually enjoy housework by combining digital gaming trends with the traditional concept of an allowance.

Choremonster co-founders Chris Bergman and Paul Armstrong are capitalizing on the fact that in 2010, 51 percent of children between 4 and 12 years old owned digital devices. Many children receive their parents’ early-generation iPhones, iTouches, Androids and laptops when their parents upgrade.  

“Technology is a huge part of family life these days and can give parents an advantage that my parents didn’t have when trying to get me to do chores,” says Bergman, CEO of Choremonster.

The two, who also were partners in running Over-the-Rhine-based Wiseacre Digital, are creating two separate applications: one for parents and one for children. The parents create a chore list for their children and assign real-life rewards that can be obtained by trading in Choremonster points.

The children use the application to mark their chores completed, gain points for real-life rewards and collect monsters. The randomized collection of monsters then interact with users, play games and teach children lessons on responsibility and completing tasks.

The company also will look at the market potential of the product as a mix of both online (software and virtual) and physical goods, similar to how Rovio is now marketing Angry Birds with t-shirts and plush toys.

Choremonster and its co-founders are graduates of the 2011 Brandery accelerator class, which graduated eight companies from all over the nation in October. Choremonster is the first of those companies to receive seed funding.

CincyTech led Choremonster’s seed-stage funding round with a $200,000 investment. The $350,000 round was completed by private angel investors.

The investments will go toward product development and growing the application’s user base.

“Bergman and Armstrong are a strong team that has executed multiple major digital and design projects for everyone from Maker’s Mark to Facebook,” says CincyTech Managing Director Mike Venerable. “We have a lot of confidence in their abilities, their passion and their product.”

By Sarah Blazak for CincyTech

Mercy Health employee named national innovation advisor

In December 2011, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services selected 73 individuals, including Margaret Namie, of Mercy Health, to the Innovation Advisors Program.

Namie works as divisional vice president of quality for Mercy Health, a network of  more than 80 hospitals, senior living communities, outpatient centers and physician practices based in Cincinnati. Mercy will receive $20,000 to help support Namie’s work as an advisor. Candidates range from physicians to nurses to allied health professionals to instructors. The CMS, created by the Affordable Care Act, looks at criteria, such as career achievements, the organization's commitment to their work and skill sets.

“I have long advocated finding and sharing best practices in patient care as a way for healthcare providers to improve the health of the communities they serve,” Namie says. “The opportunity to learn from and share ideas with healthcare leaders from across the country will help us improve the health of men, women and children throughout the United States and right here in Cincinnati.”

The program is part of CMS’s wider effort to transform the healthcare system both financially and operationally. Chosen from 920 applicants from around the country, advisors will go through an intensive orientation then test new models of care and build partnerships to share ideas and outcomes both locally and nationally. By attending in-person meetings as well as remote sessions, advisors can deepen their knowledge in health care economics and finance, population health, systems analysis and operations research.

In its first year, the Innovation Advisors Program hopes to appoint 200 people to create a network of healthcare professionals and organizations working towards the same goals.

By Evan Wallis

SpringBoard diary: an entrepreneurial journey

Editor’s note and full disclosure: This is the first in a series of posts from Megan McAuley, a participant in the current SpringBoard session at ArtWorks. Megan is also a former UC journalism student of Soapbox Managing Editor Elissa Yancey, who is one of those nagging, I mean, encouraging, voices in the customer line at Coffee Emporium.

I am a 24-year-old political science graduate from the University of Cincinnati. I live in Over-the-Rhine and work down the street at a coffee shop called Coffee Emporium. I, like many other 20-something’s with a liberal arts degree, am barely getting by as I ponder my next big move. In college, I wanted to leave the country and save the world, but somewhere between there and here, I fell in love with OTR and decided it needed some saving, too.

My job at Coffee Emporium was supposed to be temporary. An enjoyable one to two-year stint as I mapped out my future. A future that entailed things like law school, working for a non-profit in foreign country or moving to some progressive city like Seattle or Boulder. Nothing about my future involved opening up a rock climbing gym in Cincinnati or creating an outdoor educational program for inner-city youth.

My path to budding entrepreneurship has been oddly comparable to my first time driving around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It has been, at times, overwhelming, intimidating, and directionless, yet navigable, exciting and pleasantly challenging. A series of unforeseen events culminated in my participation in the SpringBoard business planning and development program. On the first night of class, when asked how why we had pursued the program, I responded, “Because ArtWorks put up so many flyers in my café.”

My idea was like a seed, tossed into the air, half-jokingly, where it landed in an environment unexpectedly conducive to its growth. Since day one, Coffee Emporium has been a wealth of information, encouragement, networking and motivation for me. In OTR, I have found a community of people who truly believe in the potential our neighborhood has to grow and flourish. I have made genuine friendships with my customers and co-workers who have continually poked and prodded me to pursue an idea I once considered laughable.

In Tony and Eileen, my bosses, I have found the inspiration to create a workplace where customers and employees flock because there are still people on this planet who value doing things the right way. And in SpringBoard, I have found a group of facilitators and co-entrepreneurs who are providing me with the tools to make my idea a reality.

I am immeasurably excited to see what happens over the course of the next 8 weeks as I glean every bit of information I can from the SpringBoard course to pursue my business idea. Please join me for the ride.

KeyBank commits at least $1M to SoMoLend

Cincinnati-based peer lending technology firm SoMoLend is up and running with a $1 million-minimum lending commitment from KeyBank.

The Web- and mobile-based service allows small businesses that are credit worthy but may not be eligible to receive traditional bank loans to borrow money today from corporations and lending institutions, and eventually from family, friends, customers and neighbors, at low rates.

“It’s exciting that Cincinnati small businesses will be the first that get to take advantage of the KeyBank loans,” says Candace Klein, CEO and founder of SoMoLend.

“With the launch of the beta version of www.somolend.com and actual money to borrow, small businesses no longer have to be intimidated by walking through the doors of a traditional bank.”

While Cincinnatians may be the first who get to take advantage of this money, the company has garnered a lot of press both locally and nationwide, including at www.americanbanker.com and the online Wall Street Journal.  

“We’ve gained relevance in the U.S. banking world recently, and we truly think we have the technology to change the way small businesses obtain capital,” Klein says.

And although other online loan facilitators have failed to truly change the market, she says, SoMoLend has unique features that will make borrowing and lending money much more personal.

“The mobile and local aspect of our service encourages borrowers and lenders in the same geographic area to connect with one another,” Klein says.

“We have worked hard to offer a service that complies with all current state and federal laws, but we also see significant opportunity for individual lending with legislation currently proposed in Congress,” she adds.

This federal legislation would allow individuals to lend to unrelated but attractive small business requests on the site.
Until that happens, SoMoLend has signed with a second institution, is in active conversations with two more and has begun conversations with local cities and chambers of commerce to lend money to SoMoLend borrowers, creating new revenue for them and also serving their constituents.

SoMoLend was founded in May 2011 with a $470,000 seed-stage investment from CincyTech, Queen City Angels and private individuals.

By Sarah Blazak, CincyTech

Future Shock brings classical music with modern rock edge to CAC

If you’re wondering where you can find some of New York’s brightest contemporary classical musicians, look no further than Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. Jan. 21, the CAC presents Future Shock, an evening of electro-acoustic chamber music featuring artists William Brittelle, Clarice Jensen and Nadia Sirota.  
 
Composed by William Brittelle for ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Future Shock promises to enchant the ears and provoke the intellect of concertgoers. The music combines elements from conventional classical music with contemporary drum programming and synthesizers to create a futuristic sound for a new millennium.
 
“Future Shock is really a survey of the type of music that is being created and performed in Brooklyn right now,” says Brittelle. “The show features music you can think about and feel. It’s amazing to open the world to this type of music in a very exciting way.”

Set to make its New York premiere in spring 2012, Cincinnatians can take advantage of a special opportunity to see Future Shock in the backdrop of the Contemporary Arts Center.
 
\William Brittelle is a composer of “electro-acoustic art music” whose work on the albums Television Landscape and Mohair Time Warp has been the subject of critical acclaim in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR’s All Things Considered and more. Brittelle has performed all across the United States and is the co-director of New Amsterdam Records and New Amsterdam Presents, a recording label and presenting organization based in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Cellist Clarice Jensen holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from The Juilliard School and is currently the artistic director for ACME. She has performed with an impressive list of artists, including the New Juilliard Ensemble, the International Music Ensemble, the Avian Orchestra and Columbia Composers, in addition to pop and rock musicians such as The National, Grizzly Bear and Silversun Pickups. She has recorded with the likes of Arcade Fire, Ratatat and Hole among many others.
 
Violist Nadia Sirota also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. She is a founding member of ACME, yMusic, and Wordless Music Orchestra, and has commissioned and premiered works by composers Marcos Balter, Caleb Burhans and Nico Muhly. Her impressive and extensive credits include performances with Max Richter, Johann Johannsson and Stars of the Lid among others. In addition to her classical performances, Nadia’s work can be heard on albums by The National, Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.
 
Future Shock features no vocal performances. The audience can expect to hear modern works by Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, and Judd Greenstein, as well as a world premiere by William Brittelle.
 
Tickets are $10 general admission, or $8 for CAC members. To purchase tickets, visit www.contemporaryartscenter.org.
 
By Deidra Wiley Necco
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