There’s no doubt that 2021 has been a huge year for Midwest startups.
In Ohio alone, VC funding surpassed $2B in September 2021 according to PitchBook. In 2020, that number was only at $1.13B. And while the majority of that funding is concentrated in the Columbus area, Cincinnati has been experiencing major startup growth, too.
Last month, Lightship Capital announced it was moving its headquarters to the Cincinnati Innovation District. Spearheaded by Candice Matthews Brackeen, Lightship will convert two properties into collaborative spaces for students, artists, designers, entrepreneurs and minority-led startups. This move will help attract and support minority-led startups and underrepresented entrepreneurs.
From $143 million funding rounds to new startup launches, the Cincinnati startup community is emerging as a vibrant tech hub making big moves.
So what are the Cincinnati startups to watch in 2022? Let’s find out.
Top Cincinnati Startups to Watch in 2022
Coterie is a fast-growing insurtech company. This Cincinnati startup helps small businesses get the coverage they need when they need it, so that businesses can get back to doing business. Last month it was announced that this Ohio insurtech startup raised $50 million in Series B funding.
Cincinnati’s VNDLY creates workforce management tools whether that’s for extended workforce or independent contractor management. It was just announced that Workday will acquire VNDLY for $510 million. As part of the agreement, Workday will continue to partner with and invest in VNDLY, allowing VNDLY to continue its rapid growth.
Founded in 2021 and now totally remote, Mantium is a cloud platform for building with large language models and managing them at scale. Their technology powers innovative applications built with OpenAI, Eleuther, AI21, and Cohere. With the recent announcement of their $12.75 million seed funding, Mantium launched this new AI platform, but it’s just the beginning for this startup.
Tech startup Cerkl in Cincinnati has built a full set of solutions for internal communications. Cerkl experienced unprecedented demand over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has rapidly grown, spurring a $7 million Series A funding round. The company plans to more than double its headcount in 2022.
5. CinCor Pharma
CinCor Pharma is a Cincinnati biotech company that’s developing treatments for hypertension and other diseases. They recently raised a $143 million Series B, making it the second startup in the region to land a nine-figure fund raise so far this year, and the second highest capital raise in the region’s history.
Astronomer helps organizations adopt Apache Airflow, the leading open-source data workflow orchestration platform that helps organizations get their data in motion. This year, Astronomer raised $43.6 million in Series B, bringing its total funding up to $68.3 million. This VC-backed Cincinnati startup also has offices in San Francisco, New York, and London.
RedCircle is a podcasting startup now based in Cincinnati. Fed up with Silicon Valley’s high cost of living, co-founder and CEO Mike Kadin moved to Cincinnati in October 2020 and is looking to build the RedCircle team in Cincinnati. Since the move, RedCircle has raised a $6 million Series A, co-led by Cincinnati-based Refinery Ventures.
Hearty is a newer Cincinnati startup that launched this year. Founded by three Ahalogy executives, Hearty is a professional recommendation network where great people help each other find new opportunities. The company has raised over $1 million in seed funding, and we’re looking forward to seeing what 2022 has in store.
Akru (formerly Tokenism), is a Cincinnati fintech startup developing a blockchain-based platform that lets users invest in commercial real estate for as little as $1,000. Akru was a finalist in this year’s FinTech Frontier pitch contest, and they also raised $2 million in seed funding in September 2021.
Cincinnati’s Stack serves the construction industry by offering a tool to help contractors bid out jobs and store plans using cloud-based tech. In 2021, Stack acquired SmartUse Solutions, Inc, an industry-leading software solution for document viewing, markup and collaboration in the field. Stack is targeting an unusual niche in the construction industry, and we look forward to seeing where they’re headed.
Launched in 2020, Rumby is a tech startup building the first ever DaaS (delivery as a service) enabled ecommerce platform. Rumby founder Ben Cantey started the company in LA but has since moved back to his hometown of Cincinnati and is intentional about hiring there. Cantey told CinyInno he expects the team to outgrow its office at Over-the-Rhine’s Union Hall. The company has raised $1.25 million in seed funding.
Cloverleaf is a Cincinnati startup that provides automated coaching to help individuals and teams communicate effectively, respect diverse points of view, build trust, understand each other, and get big results. And have fun while doing it. This year, the company raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding and are just getting started.
13. Halo Health
Halo Health is a clinical collaboration platform with tools for scheduling, managing teams, and communication. This year, the company was acquired by symplr, a leader in enterprise healthcare operations. The acquisition welcomes Halo Health to the symplr team to advance their mission in optimizing healthcare operations.
Losant works in industrial IoT, asset tracking, contract tracing, road quality maintenance and a number of related industries that utilize IoT to track products and processes via IoT. The company has raised nearly $20 million in funding and is one of the fastest growing Cincinnati startups.
15. Hive Networks
Hive Networks creates peer-to-peer systems for working communities. They help connect medical providers, researchers, patients, and other stakeholders for better outcomes. This mission-driven startup is one of the best in Cincinnati.
A subsidiary of Kroger, 84.51˚ is a tech company developing consumer insights research and customer loyalty marketing. This year, the company launched the 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, which is helping the CPG industry unleash the potential of their data science teams with a groundbreaking new platform.
17. Pay Theory
Pay Theory is a Cincinnati fintech company focused on how schools and other future building service providers interact with families around money. They work with SaaS vendors to help these service providers save time by integrating with their existing systems and processes. This year, Pay Theory partnered with other Cincinnati startup Abre to help them better achieve their shared mission of breaking down socioeconomic and technical barriers to education.
Rente is a newer startup based in Cincinnati and Jacksonville Beach, Florida. This fintech company utilizes open banking and AI to help landlords inclusively identify and retain profitable tenants, and they were also finalists in the FinTech Frontier pitch contest. Rente is a mission-driven startup aiming to help communities flourish.
Narwal is a tech company offering data and analytics, automation, and cloud solutions. This year, the company continued its growth trajectory and expanded its leadership team. We’re looking forward to what’s next in 2022.
Looking for more startup and tech jobs at top companies? Check out the best companies in the Midwest — many of them are hiring remotely!