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UpTech II announces semifinalists

It's a good time to be involved with UpTech, as the "super accelerator" program at Northern Kentucky University's College of Informatics expands its efforts to support fledgling business. 
The application process for UpTech II ran from April 16 to May 24 and saw a more than 35 percent increase in applicants from last year's class, with candidates coming from as far away as California to be judged by a panel of 40 area entrepreneurs, investors, and economic development professionals.
"The Top 22 UpTech II companies have entered a due diligence process," says Casey Barach, cofounder of UpTech and executive director at Tri-ED's ezone. "Overall, this involves a deeper dive into the company... and additional business strategy questions."
Chosen projects will receive $50,000 in start-up funds; six months of paid office space; executive mentorship and financial, legal, accounting, sales, and marketing support from ezone; one-year memberships to the NKY Chamber of Commerce and Greater Cincinnati Venture Association; resources through NKU's Center for Applied Informatics; and opportunities for additional funding.
UpTech II Fund Manager Andy Sathe says the broad mix of applicants is a testament to the program's reach. "We had about 80 applicants this year, and we hoped to get down to 20 after this first filtering process," he says. "I think the fact that we ended up with 22 is an indication of the quality of applicants as well."
This year's 22 semi-finalists are:
3DLT.com: A stock database for 3D printable designs
Athlete Potential: Producers of next-generation technology for improved human performance
Bearhug Technologies, LLC: Web-based platform for behavioral healthcare providers
BigDataInsights: Developers of advanced algorithms and software to process time-series data
Liquid Innovation LLC: Mobile software to collect, store, analyze and organize any and all data
Blue Seat Media: Mobile apps that help baseball fans capture their experiences and tell unique stories in meaningful ways
Bright!Tax: Cloud-based tax preparation tools for the six million Americans living abroad
Collaborative Health Consultants: Educational consulting firm serving clients in academic, private, and healthcare settings
DWLLR: Fully customizable, time- and money-saving real estate app that streamlines sales and marketing efforts while eliminating paper
Get the Look Décor: Community-curated home décor e-marketplace where users can easily replicate designer rooms at home
Happy Fit Company Health Program (CHP): Comprehensive program designed to improve overall health at small- and mid-sized companies 
Hire Speaker: Social media website where users can hire public speakers for a variety of events or programs
Inteo: Short for "interactive education online," which provides an intuitive workspace and employs algorithms to gauge student proficiency
Kandid.ly: Community/marketplace that compares and books local photographers
LogonTutor, LLC: One-stop solution parents and students searching for quality online and in-person academic tutoring
MoveMx: Brings motion gaming to mobile devices using an avatar to see movement in real time 
New Home Marketing: Web-based analytical tool for home builders that allows for daily real-time market analysis 
RHZ Development: Mobile media developer specializing in target-designed apps for assisted-living facilities and nursing home care
Sports Research: Informatics-based tool to identify and connect avid fans of U.S. collegiate sports and to drive new revenue sources and loyalty
Tixers: Guarantees the original value of a user's purchased event tickets, and employs a point system that allows users to purchase other tickets
Touritz: Allows local historians and tour guides to create and upload walking tours and videos for users to review, recommend, and download 
Zooted Delivery: Provides delivery from restaurants that don't currently deliver using a platform/product other RDS services can lease
For more information on UpTech's startup solutions, visit www.uptechideas.org.

TiER1 leading a venture that could transform health care market

Covington-based TiER1 Performance Solutions is leading a new venture, Xcelerated Learning Dynamics (XLD), which will create standardized learning content and an interactive learning platform. The platform is designed to help health care organizations provide training as changes mandated by the Patient Protectition and Affordable Care Act begin to take effect.

Reports the Cincinnati Enquirer:

XLD has raised $800,000 and is finalizing deals with three Kentucky hospitals to conduct pilot testing. It’s poised to raise a more significant round of funding to scale the business nationally if the pilots are successful.
Desmarais anticipates XLD, which will be based in Covington, could create "significant" job growth in the next two years. Not all of its employees will be local, but Desmarais, whose investors include the Kentucky Seed Capital Fund, said XLD is an example of "economic development done right."
Read the full story here.

Taylor Mill to get a $5M makeover

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on a mixed-use commercial development in Taylor Mill. The 157-acre development near I-275 will include large retail stores, restaurants, hotels, small service businesses (coffee shops and dry cleaners), and a professional business hub.

Reports the Enquirer:

Development costs are expected to exceed $5 million, with the project generating 115 new jobs.
Gary Holland, who runs the restaurant group with business partner Ron Rosen, said the new development will be a first-class facility that's convenient for many.
"It's close to the interstate, and it's very convenient to the neighborhoods that we serve in Taylor Mill," Holland said. "We can still deliver to our existing customer base."

Read the full story here.

DHL inaugurates final phase of CVG expansion

DHL christened its new $46M facility at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Aiport on June 13. The expansion is the fourth and last in a four-year, $105M upgrade. 

Reports KyPost.com:

As one of three DHL super hubs -- along with Hong Kong and Leipzig -- nearly every package that DHL distributes in the Western Hemisphere passes through CVG's massive sorting facility.
... More important than its size, though, is its ability to process larger and heavier packages that will mean fuller planes, increased efficiency and more jobs.

"If it can fit in the aircraft and we can find its center of gravity, we can ship it," said Bill Winters, a project manager.
Read the full story here.

Jacobs Automation bringing 26 jobs to Northern Kentucky

Jacobs Automation is creating 26 jobs and investing more than $1.7M to build a new facility in Erlanger, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. 

The 13,200-square-foot facility is located near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

"Jacobs Automation is an innovative company with revolutionary technology in its field," said Gov. Steve Beshear in a press release. "We are excited to see 26 new jobs and $1.7 million in investment, but we're even more proud to have Jacobs Automation in the Commonwealth. The company is providing rewarding high-tech careers and adding even more quality to our talented work force."

Read the full story here.

Upscale apartments coming to Newport

Monmouth Row, a 102-unit upscale apartment community, is coming to downtown Newport.
A ground breaking ceremony was held June 26 for the $10M development.

Reports the Cincinnati Business Courier: 

"It's another piece of the puzzle in the revitalization of the area of downtown Newport," said City Planner Tom Fromme. He pointed to the recent announcement that Fairfield-based Ethos Laboratories was moving its headquarters to downtown Newport and bringing 45 jobs.

"That will be putting a lot more employees downtown; this is just the opposite – it will bring 150 residents to the downtown area."
The Monmouth Row ground breaking comes amid $80 million to $100 million in new and ongoing redevelopment in downtown Newport. That includes the upscale Vue 180 apartments scheduled to open in August, as well as the Nth Degree craft bourbon distillery.

Read the full story here.

Kenton Co. students immersed in innovation, tech

Teenagers say they want to be treated like adults, and that they want more responsibility. But what happens when you give it to them in the classroom?

Turns out they like it. They REALLY like it.

This past school year, the Kenton County School District began a major shift in how it educates its most motivated, tech-savvy high school students. The school created the Kenton County Academies of Technology and Innovation in Edgewood, in the the former J.D. Patton Career and Technical Center.

The building houses six career-based academies, all centered on in-depth study, collaboration and project-based learning. They include:
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Engineering 
  • High performance production technology (HPPT)
  • Informatics 
  • Media arts 
  • Sustainable energy technology engineering 
The district chose these areas of study based on regional job growth potential over the next several decades, says Academy Director Francis O'Hara.

"Those jobs of the future are here, especially in the Commonwealth," he says. "These areas are where we're going to see the most growth."

Students spend half a day in the classroom, and the other half at their respective academy. Kenton County is embarking on this new approach in order to energize a student body that is more technologically savvy than any before them, O'Hara says.

"These students are digital natives,” he says. “They don't know a time before the Internet and computer technology. But they are also digital introverts; they don't usually demonstrate their knowledge. What we're doing through the academies is motivating the students to take ownership of their education and exposing them to different professions.”

In its first year, 230 students (all 10th and 11th graders) from the district's three high schools worked in the academies. All were chosen through an application process. Next year, more than double that number are expected to take part, O'Hara says.

Read the full story here.

Calvin Tchiang brings global know-how to bioLOGIC

Northern Kentucky's emerging life sciences corridor is poised to gain global influence and investment know-how with the addition of a new team member, Calvin Tchiang.
Calvin was appointed Vice President of Business Development for SIDIS Corporation, the parent company of Covington-based life science accelerator bioLOGIC Corporation. SIDIS is an investment and management company focused on the life sciences.

Calvin was relocated to Covington to actively seek investment opportunities in startups and innovative technology companies in the life science space.
"bioLOGIC has been working hard developing startups and entrepreneurs in the region," says Keith Schneider, Managing Director of bioLOGIC Corp. "Calvin's move here allows us to offer companies an opportunity to receive direct investment from SIDIS and access to SIDIS's global network."
Calvin will also be able to offer portfolio companies additional international opportunities -- Calvin previously worked in Beijing for the World Bank, Ogilvy Public Relations, and IBM. He recently moved his family from Beijing to Boone County.
For more information on bioLOGIC, visit www.biologiccorp.com.

National Guard opens $19.5M home in NKY

More than 300 members of the 204th Aviation Support Battalion and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management have a new home in NKY. The Kentucky National Guard's new $19M readiness center was dedicated in a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10. Reports the Cincinnati Enquirer:
With 86,000 square feet of space, the center is a state-of-the-art training facility designed to train and support soldiers and airmen, facilitate search and rescue missions in conjunction with KYEM and other agencies, serve as a staging area to receive and/or deploy soldiers and airmen and provide homeland security support in multiple arenas including reinforcing law enforcement during civil disturbances – among other uses.
Read the full story here.

Newport on the Levee eyes mixed-use concept

Newport on the Levee is exploring the development of a complex featuring upscale apartments, a limited-use hotel and retail on its three-acre parking lot east of the retail and restaurant center. Reports the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“We envision somewhere between 200 and 220 apartments, and there is a possibility of a limited-services hotel built on a podium, with street-level retail and structured parking,” Harold Dull, general manager of Newport on the Levee, said Wednesday from Las Vegas.
Read the full story here.

NKY growth at full steam

Northern Kentucky is full steam ahead, says Northern Kentucky Tri-ED. Last year, 24 projects generated $300 million in capital investment and thousands of jobs in the region. This year should be no different - and may even break the books. Says Karen Finan, Senior Vice President of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED:
"Right now, we have ten projects that we have announced; we have over 500 jobs that have been created and over $80 million in capital investment," said Finan. "The first half of this year has been very strong, in part, because of the pipeline we have established in attracting and creating that awareness about Northern Kentucky."
Read the full story here.

UpTech II plants roots in NKY

Business accelerator UpTech has opened the application process for its UpTech II competition to entrepreneurs looking to plant roots in the Northern Kentucky area.

Launched in 2012, the intense, six-month accelerator program provides $50,000 in equity investment and is designed to attract and accelerate entrepreneurs. UpTech also provides a variety of support services, including six months of free office space, access to resources from NKU's College of Informatics, and an executive mentor, as well as financial, legal, accounting, and sales and marketing support.

Read the full story here or learn more at uptechideas.org.

Visitors racing to NKY

Tourism revenue in Kentucky grew 4.4 percent last year, but the increase was more than twice as large in NKY.

Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties saw an economic tourism impact of $325.8 million, a 9.1 percent increase over the $298.5 million impact in 2011. The region’s percentage gain is the biggest in the past five years and second only to 2007.

The increase provides a positive economic impact for the entire Greater Cincinnati region. Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati tourism generated $551 million in state and local tax proceeds last year, according to the Northern Kentucky CVB. That equals a $644 average household tax burden offset.

Read the full story here.

Nth Degree distillery to be part of Bourbon Trail

Nth Degree, a new multi-million dollar bourbon distillery, is in the works in Bellevue, on the campus of The Party Source.
The distillery will be part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and is expected to attract thousands of tourists to NKY's riverfront. 

The "micro-distillery" that will pump about 13 barrels of bourbon per day. The new building will include a roof deck with a capacity of 150 people. 

Read the full story, which includes a video of the construction, here.

Video: This is My Kentucky

What makes Kentucky great? Innovation? Education? Manufacturing? Logistics? Start-ups? Small business? Bourbon? Basketball? 

The Cabinet for Economic Development has launched a new video, This is My Kentucky, that highlights everything that makes Kentucky a great place to live, work, and do business. Watch it here!

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Learn more about the organizations serving Northern Kentucky at www.NorthernKentuckyUSA.com