Fellow Spotlight: Chelsea Koglmeier, The Brandery

Name: Chelsea Koglmeier

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

University: Duke University ’12

Program Coordinator, The Brandery
Cincinnati, OH


What initially attracted you to Venture for America?

VFA is something new. I wanted to be a part of setting precedents and expanding the scope of what college kids can easily access post-graduation. In the end, two things really stood out to me that made me join VFA — 1) the other fellows and VFA staff who I met at the selection day were kick ass, AND 2) selection day was rigorous, so I figured the program would follow suit. I have NOT been disappointed.

What is the best part of being a VFA fellow?

The training camp taught me more than I learned in 4 years in college (I hope my parents never read this…).

What does The Brandery do?

The Brandery is a seed stage startup accelerator, nationally ranked as one of the top programs in the United States. Our four-month-long program in Cincinnati, Ohio, focuses on the importance of consumer marketing and branding to turn your great idea into a successful, brand-driven startup. Founded in 2010, we annually select 8–12 companies for our program, each receiving $20,000 in seed funding, a great team of mentors, world-class design assistance, and the opportunity to pitch to investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. In return, we take 6% equity stake in each company coming through our program.

What do you do on a typical day at work?

Variable. I help run the day-to-day activities of The Brandery with one other full-time staff member. That means my job includes anything from working with our companies, giving tours to people interested in what we’re doing, creating advertising material, tackling social media efforts, writing grants (we’re 501c3 and won’t be self-sustaining until one of our companies exit), taking out the trash, to developing classes targeted at sharing resources with the community.

What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?

It’s live-able AND you get a high quality of life. The changes happening in the downtown area and so tangible it’s crazy, construction everywhere, every month a new restaurant is popping up in Over-The-Rhine (10 years ago, there were race riots in OTR, now it’s the place to go for a delicious friday night meal…assuming you’re okay to wait for 2 hours…). The demand is escalating for more and more residential complexes, restaurants and for the basic shops that make a city vibrant. FURTHER, even if you live outside the city a bit, traffic adds 15 minutes to your drive when you’re at the 5pm peak. Finally, the midwest is just a happy place. It moves at it’s own pace and people smile at you on the street. Why NOT, Cincinnati? I couldn’t imagine a better suited city for my first two years of post-grad and getting myself settled as a nuclear adult.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time with VFA?

What a question and people ask me all the time. I barely have an answer. I want to learn as much as a I can, learn what it takes to get a startup off the ground and help get Cincinnati on the national stage as a great place to establish a brand and grow your business.