3 Key Takeaways from Powderkeg Fuse50 Cincinnati

Members of the tilr team attended the Fuse50 Cincinnati conference, connecting with leaders from the tech and startup communities throughout the Midwest.

By: Lauren Cron

Thursday, May 17th, 2018 was a meaningful day, not only for the #StartupCincy community, but for all of tech throughout the Midwest as well. The Indianapolis-based Powderkeg team brought the Fuse50 Conference to the epicenter of innovation in Cincinnati – Union Hall. The day was packed day full of panels, keynotes, conversations, and food. Members of the tilr team were proud to show the community what we do and to learn from others on how to keep pushing forward in the space. With 13 total sessions, the day was jam-packed full of information and connections for the over 250 attendees. Here are three of the biggest things we learned:


Conversations in our community make us more innovative and successful

Without the resources and connections of Silicon Valley, it is imperative that those within startup tech companies in the Midwest lean on each other for success. In his opening statements, CEO of Powderkeg, Matt Hunckler, discussed that many of us within the community often have the same pain points from being outside of Silicon Valley. However, some members of our community have been able to address these issues and Fuse50 provided the opportunity for attendees to learn from these leaders and each other. 


Fuse50 Cincinnati

Attendees were encouraged to interact with each other and on social throughout the conference. The Powderkeg team did an excellent job of setting up the event to allow these conversations and interactions to happen naturally and without pressure. These conversations are what allow us to keep growing the Midwest as a center of innovation and tech despite being more spread out and having less resources than Silicon Valley.


The Midwest can lead the way in diversity in tech and startups

The startup communities of the Midwest are more diverse than our counterparts on the coasts, according to members of the Building Diverse Teams and Communities in Tech panel. However, as a region we have room to grow and expand our diversity. The panel featured our COO/CMO/Co-founder, Summer Crenshaw, along with panelists from the Cincinnati and Indianapolis areas who are building diversity throughout their organizations and the region. 


The panelists discussed that encouraging diversity does not only mean assessing your sourcing and hiring of candidates, but becoming involved with the remarkable groups that have been built in the startup ecosystems of each city. In the Midwest, we have a unique opportunity to lead the country in how diversity should be addressed, leading to a more competitive and innovative ecosystem.


Company culture is at the top of everyone’s minds (and should be)

Throughout the day, one theme was apparent – culture for startups is important. Several sessions focused on company culture and the topic of culture was woven into discussions in other sessions throughout the day. Jose Pires of Andeavor began the day by expressing that without a good culture, excellence and innovation can’t be reached. Even the coolest tech companies with impactful products and services can fall behind in success without a good culture.


Fuse50 Cincinnati

Later in the day, Dr. Philecia Avery’s session, titled The RX for a Healthy Startup, focused on culture as one of the key pieces to ensuring success for a startup. She urged the audience to be intentional about culture, with an audience member adding that “good culture can’t be replicated.” No matter the age or size of your company, assessing your culture and being intentional about its development will contribute to your success as you grow.



The Fuse50 conference was an awesome event for the #StartupCincy community to showcase our city’s ecosystem to other startup communities throughout the Midwest. A huge thank you to Powderkeg for allowing our team to join the day’s events and for providing a great experience. Union Hall was bustling with activity, but the Fuse50 conference was a welcomed event to create conversations and connections.