FounderCon Comes to the Queen City

Wendy Lea, CEO, Cintrifuse; Mayor John Cranley; John Hill, network catalyst, Techstars and Phillip Castellini, COO, Cincinnati Reds.

Photo provided by Cintrifuse


Techstars and Cintrifuse held a news conference in January to announce they will host FounderCon October 18-20 in Cincinnati. This is an incredible opportunity for our community of entrepreneurs.

FounderCon is the annual event for all Techstars’ past and present companies. The event will bring more than 800 founders of tech-based startups to Greater Cincinnati along with 300 corporate innovation leaders from around the world. FounderCon will include two days of keynote speeches and breakout sessions, and ample opportunity for networking with Techstars founders and alumni from its 36 programs to date. Cincinnati is thrilled to join a prestigious list of startup hubs that have hosted this annual event, including Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; and Chicago.

How significant is this event to Cincinnati’s startup community? Eric Weissmann, director of marketing for Cintrifuse, says, “Sometimes you need outside events or catalysts to help you grow and bring attention to the outside of all of the great things you are doing locally.” 

Ideally, every city would love to boast startups with hundreds of millions of dollars in valuations, but that doesn’t happen routinely and it doesn’t happen quickly. One way to accelerate the process is to look at external resources. This was one of the purposes for Cintrifuse; to serve as a catalyst to get projects moving. 

Just as Cintrifuse is a vehicle to help ignite momentum behind a startup company, outside events such as FounderCon are imperative to a city’s startup community. “Since the FounderCon press event, (Cintrifuse CEO) Wendy Lea received over 100 emails from businesses who had not had prior involvement with Cintrifuse, asking how they could become involved and help,” Weissman says. “The attention we have received as a result of bringing this event to Cincinnati is astronomical. 

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it was that we were selected. Techstars has so much respect throughout the world for the way they have built companies and I believe that this is one of the paradigm shifts that we need to have in Cincinnati. It is about building businesses and that is really what Techstars does with expertise. It is an honor to have their attention and have them want to come to Cincinnati because they see what we are doing here. They can be a shot of adrenaline for this ecosystem and it is going to be really great to see the effect that has on this community.”