An alloy is made by combining metallic elements to make a stronger substance, with each part of the alloy lending its own properties to the solution. With that concept in mind, Cincinnati’s HCDC has rebranded to Alloy Development Co. The elements of this rebranded group–economic development, business lending, and business incubation—work together to strengthen the Cincy area.
We spoke with Antony Seppi, who is the Director of the Alloy Growth Lab, about what his team does.
Talk about what your group does.
Seppi: We work with tech-enabled startups that are typically venture bankable. In some cases, those startups get funding through venture capital firms, but we can also help them out with capital from non-dilutive sources, whether it’s government grants, Department of Defense grants, National Science Foundation grants, etc. We help our companies with growth strategies to help them become scalable and help them navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Cincinnati.
What kind of companies do you generally work with?
Seppi: We’ve got a lot of software-as-a-service companies, we’ve got medical device technology companies, engineering, advanced materials… we cover a pretty wide swath.
How do you find the companies to work with?
Seppi: We’ve got team members out there looking for and recruiting startups. But they also come to us. We have a nice system we call our Morning Mentoring Program, in which startups can kind of test out or get an opportunity to work with us and it becomes a pipeline in to the Growth Lab.
What does that entail?
Seppi: If there’s a founder or team that wants to present what they’re working on or present their concept or platform, they can come in and do that. We’ll bring in 10 or 12 mentors to provide feedback, assistance, or connections. It’s a valuable experience for that startup. We then get a general idea of what they want to do and whether it’s scalable or not. From there, we do a screening and application process for entry into the Growth Lab.
What do you provide startups in your program?
Seppi: We’ve got a couple of different programs in addition to the coaching and advisory processes. Startups can come in and use our office space or lab space. We’ve got about 70,000 square feet of campus space that the startups can consider, including some light, industrial lab space and flex space.
What are some of the most successful startups you’ve worked with?
Seppi: Veelo Technologies went through our program about five or six years ago. They’re in the aerospace engineering side of the business. They eventually grew to a point where they relocated into the GE Aviation corridor. They were a pretty significant exit from the program. The company has built a product portfolio that serves the defense and aerospace industries—including lightning strike protection (LSP), electromagnetic shielding, and non-metallic electrothermal de-icing systems.
Another one is Taiga Data, which does analytics for the convenience store market. They graduated about a month ago. We got them to where they needed to be and now they’ve got a new space and are about 10-15 employees. [Here’s the interview Cincinnati Future did with Taiga Data last year.]
You work with a lot of other entities in Cincinnati, correct?
Seppi: We’re one of probably 60 different entrepreneurial resources here in the Greater Cincinnati area. Cincy’s ecosystem map is pretty robust. You just have to know where to look to find the right resource. So if a startup is not a fit for our business incubator, we’ll refer them to other organizations, whether it’s Cintrifuse, Queen City Angels, Main Street Ventures, TechSolve, or some of the others around the region. We have an extremely collaborative relationship with all of those. We also work closely with the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Miami University.
We’re all working together to launch successful businesses through coaching, connections, innovative programming access to capital and a diverse learning environment.