Sunday, October 22, 2000

New Economy

Startups come, go at accelerator

        At Main Street Ventures, they come and they go.

        The Over-the-Rhine business accelerator, as the folks there want it called, houses a dozen startups in three buildings. Three more have recently been added:

        • AcademXchange Inc., a marketplace for major-college athletic programs. Need football helmets? Post a request, get a bid. There's also a marketplace for disposing of used equipment. Stephanie Hughes is president.

        •, aimed at doctors' offices, is a prescription system, both Web-based and wireless. Vasant Prabhu is CEO.

        •, an online scheduling tool for doctors, hair stylists or anyone who wants to help their customers set up appointments. The founder is Dan Coates, who is also co-founder of PlanetFeedback.

        Soon to graduate are:

        • Atomic Dog Publishing, a publisher of online college textbooks. The Dog is up to 20 employees, and will find its own home early next year.

        • Hard Hat Exchange, an online marketplace for the construction industry.

        And there's more to come. With about 12,000 square feet of office space now, “we are hoping to expand by adding another 4-5,000 square feet in the next couple of months,” said co-executive director Brad Wolfe.

Group grows

        The Cincinnati chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates has grown to more than 200 members today from just six in January 1999, making it the second largest chapter in the nation.

        Just as impressive, the group this year has 11 local sponsors and one national sponsor. The lastest three sponsors are Convergys, PlanetFeedback (the first Main Street startup to become a sponsor) and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. “We're scheduled to meet with two other dot.coms about sponsorship,” president Wayne Hicks said.

        The chamber's sponsorship was the biggest surprise. “We basically went to our mailbox one day and it was there,” he said.

        A local sponsorship costs $1,000, and other sponsorship opportunities can bump up the cost. The 12 deals have taken the BDPA out of the need to hold bake sales to raise money. That freedom, Mr. Hicks said, allows the BDPA to focus on its goals.

        “We had great programs for adults, and great programs for some kids. But there's a ton of kids in the community that could use what we have,” he said. The next in the BDPA's Youth Technology Series is 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Urban League, 3458 Reading Road, on “Computer Education for the 21st Century.”

        See the group's Web site at for details.

Sponsors commit

        The networking group First Tuesday has gotten one-year sponsorship commitments from accountants KPMG and the law firm Frost & Jacobs, worth $25,000 a pop. Those are not exclusive, said FT's Vince Broerman, so other accountants and lawyers are free to send checks as well.

        The next First Tuesday event is Wednesday, Nov. 29 (don't ask), at Electra, 1133 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine. Entrepreneurs, bring ideas; everybody else, bring money. The guest speaker is Rick Ellenberger, CEO of Broadwing. Register at

        E-mail John Byczkowski at or call 768-8377. Find a list of local New Economy companies at


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