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Biz competition launches in southern Ohio

If you live in southern Ohio and have a bright business idea, The Ohio State University South Centers can serve as the launch pad to send your brainchild hurtling into the economic stratosphere.
 
The 2013 Biz Launch Business Plan Competition is designed to provide a space for hopeful entrepreneurs to grow and expand their ventures, says Meagan Barnes, program leader with the Ohio State extension in Piketon, Ohio.
 
The competition is open to existing businesses and individuals looking to start a company within a ten-county region of southern Ohio, including Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton Counties. Fresh ideas are welcome, but those building a new product line or seeking to expand an early stage company are also eligible to apply.
 
The contest is a celebration of regional entrepreneurship, says Barnes.
 
"It's an opportunity to spur some folks who, without the competition, may not have thought about putting their ideas out there," she says. "This is an area of Ohio that doesn't have an urban setting in terms of developing entrepreneurs. Individuals can put their ideas in front of a panel and then access funds to get those ideas going."
 
Applicants must submit business plans and financial projections by Oct. 15, with judging and an awards luncheon taking place later in the month. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three plans.
 
Barnes expects upwards of 25 participants for the 2013 competition. A five-person panel comprised of economic development experts and established entrepreneurs will choose ideas based on projected customer base, economic feasibility and other factors. Development counselors will be available to meet with individuals or businesses for one-on-one planning assistance.
 
Since its inception in 2009, the business plan contest has launched a variety of ventures, including a coffee company and doctor's office. New technologies have also emerged, such as a motion sensor from the YEI Corporation (formerly Yost Engineering), which has applications in defense, medicine and entertainment, says Barnes.
 
"We accept ideas from a wide variety of different sectors," she says.
 
A winning plan taking root in a struggling southern Ohio county is the competition's most immediate benefit, Barnes notes. There's a wider impact from a production and commercialization standpoint as well.
 
"If it's an existing business launching a new product, they will get that product manufactured within the region," Barnes says. "We want to spur economic activity in our counties."
 

Source: Meagan Barnes
Writer: Douglas J. Guth

Ohio University’s Innovation Engine Accelerator graduates six startups

Six startups founded by students and recent graduates of Ohio University and West Virginia University have emerged from Ohio University’s Innovation Engine digital media accelerator, which is a summer entrepreneurship program aimed at keeping business and technology talent within the state.
 
The fledgling companies received up to $20,000 in seed funding and underwent a 12-week boot camp featuring mentorship opportunities with established executives and venture capitalists. Lynn Gellermann, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, taught in the program, offering his expertise in digital media IT.
 
“These six teams were selected out of 17 applications,” says Gellermann. “They were screened, interviewed and selected based on their team, their idea and application.”
 
Viable ideas with viable markets won out.
 
“We look at the prospect of [the company] being able to put together an idea or beta product in a short time that they can demo.”
 
The program is made possible through public-private partnerships that offer expert insight and financial backing. These include the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the Scripps College of Communication, the Voinovich School and TechGROWTH Ohio. “We also have private support from WesBanco,” notes Gellermann.
 
Participants, says Gellermann, felt as if they received a “mini-MBA” in the 2013 program, noting a majority came from engineering or communications backgrounds. And whether they continue with their startup or not, Gellermann says the accelerator “impacted the way they think.”
 
“We hope that some of them will start up, make it to the marketplace, raise capital, employ some people, and become viable startup companies in the region,” says Gellermann, adding the program is also about building a culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Ohio.
 
The 2013 companies include MyCampus, which created a mobile app that allows college students to quickly sell and purchase items. Razor Dynamics offers a product that improves mobile phone location services. AccessAble developed a website to provide travel information and booking services for people with limited mobility. Atlas Language Innovations created an educational online video game that can teach users Arabic and other languages. Foleeo developed an online portfolio tool for job seekers in the business, engineering and technical fields. Lastly, Anyvent offers software for inexperienced event planners.
 
“Students will go back home and talk to their friends,” says Gellermann. “It’s really helping to promote a culture of innovation at OU.”
 

Source: Lynn Gellermann
Writer: Joe Baur

Startup offers consumers chance to Kapture every moment, garners Mashable attention

If you’ve ever had a brilliant idea, serendipitous conversation or inspirational moment, only to be thwarted by the inability to write down what was said, your worries may be coming to an end.
 
Kapture, a new wearable audio recording wristband, allows you to save and share what was just said. Buffering 24/7, the wristband saves only the last 60 seconds of audio with a tap of your hand.
 
“With Kapture, those you-just-had-to-be-there moments are actually available to share with others,” says Mike Sarrow, co-founder of Kapture. “Rich conversation can now take a higher spot within our overall communication mix.”
 
Since the wristband’s recorder is constantly running, users don’t have to worry about disrupting a moment by getting out a smart phone. The device records over itself after each 60-second interval, allowing the user to save only the moments they wish to remember.
 
“If you never tap the product (there are no buttons or screens - only a tap interface), nothing is ever saved,” Sarrow explains. “We want nothing to do with big data or continuous recording. We are about the good stuff.”
 
Founded here in Cincinnati in 2011 by Mike Sarrow and Matthew Dooley, Kapture launched a Kickstarter campaign last week in an effort to gain support from consumers and create a groundswell around the new technology. The campaign runs through October 2, 2013, and seeks to raise $150,000 to help launch the product worldwide. Following the Kickstarter campaign, the device will go into production with a planned launch to the public in March 2014.
 
“Most startups will tell you fund-raising never ends. And because we bit off a tremendously complex project, we're in the same boat," Sarrow says.
 
Sarrow and Dooley attribute much of their ability to secure funding and grow their business thus far to being a part of the emerging entrepreneurial scene in Cincinnati and tapping into all of its resources.
 
“It might be the best part of starting a company in Cincinnati,” Sarrow says. “It is a very closeknit group willing to help at every turn. Cincytech was our first investor and is leading our seed stage funding round. The Brandery has continued to give us ad hoc guidance along the way, and we are now a project working out of Cintrifuse. We love the support Cincinnati has offered, and we love the partnerships we have in place.”
 
As Kapture has continued to grow, more and more people are taking notice. In less than a week, the Kickstarter campaign has reached more than one third of the target goal and the company has found itself on the front page of the highly touted tech website Mashable. To find out more about Kapture, visit the Kapture Facebook page.

Michael Sarason
 

Ohio companies garner coveted listings on the 2013 Inc. 5,000

Among other Ohio companies, two Buckeye State startups have garnered coveted national recognition.

CoverMyMeds, a Twinsburg firm that makes it easier for patients to get their prescribed medications, and Plug Smart, a Columbus energy solution company, both placed in the top 300 of Inc. Magazine's 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States.
 
Inc. Magazine's rankings take into consideration factors such as annual growth, revenue increases and staff expansions over a three-year period. Coming in at 96, CoverMyMeds grew 3,567 percent over the designated time frame using the magazine's criteria, garnering $5.3 million in revenue as of 2012.
 
The company, which previously received funding from Cleveland entrepreneur accelerator JumpStart, is an online service for physicians and pharmacists that provides prior authorization services and other insurance coverage for a variety of drug plans.
 
Web- and phone-based tools developed by CoverMyMeds automate the submission of authorization requests, a process that when done manually can be both expensive and frustrating, says principal/CEO Alan Scantland. The company does not charge pharmacies or doctors for using the service, instead putting the onus on  drug manufacturers that need to expedite the sluggish authorization process if they want to increase sales.
 
Being ranked by Inc. in the top 100 - and eighth overall in the healthcare sector - "brings us immediate attention, and gives us a third-party voice of credibility while adding to our brand and positioning," says Scantland. "The distinction is also great for employees, who are getting some well-deserved recognition for their efforts."
 
Lightning-fast growth has also opened the door for additional business ventures, notes the company head. "It's wonderful," he says. "We’re very excited about making such an impact in healthcare."
 
Plug Smart made the list during its first year of eligibility thanks to over 1,500 percent in growth and $6.4 million in revenue from 2009 to 2012. The energy services company helps commercial, industrial, nonprofit and utility companies implement a broad range of energy solutions, from HVAC to lighting systems. Among its goals, the TechColumbus-incubated firm seeks to aid clients in building energy efficiency projects and leveraging renewable power resources.
 
Getting your company's name out there when competing with industry stalwarts like Siemens, Honeywell and Trane is no mean feat, says Plug Smart president David Zehala. In addition to its overall ranking, the company finished number 17 on the list of Top 100 energy companies, and number eight in the list's top 100 Ohio companies.
 
"This establishes Plug Smart as a major force within the energy services sector," Zehala says. "Our teams represent the best and brightest energy engineering minds in the industry, and our success is a testament to their ability to help our clients find creative ways to implement energy projects."

CincyTech portfolio company BioRx, which enjoyed 181 percent growth over the past three years, was also listed as one of Ohio's top 100.

More than 180 Ohio companies were included on the 2013 Inc. 5000 list, including Vertex Body Science and US Logistics, which clocked in at numbers 19 and 34, respectively.

By Douglas J. Guth

Groundbreaking high school accelerator program graduates nine entrepreneurs

When Zach Schwartz, Samir Amrania and Vibhu Krishna graduated from high school last year, they wanted to create a better program to help high school entrepreneurs. So in May 2012, they approached LaunchHouse and started LightHouse Ohio and the LEAP (LightHouse Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program). The program is the first high school accelerator program in the country.
 
“Northeast Ohio has a problem with brain drain,” explains LightHouse CEO Schwartz. “If we can get these kids involved in high school, to get connected in organizations like LaunchHouse, maybe more would stay.”
 
LaunchHouse CEO Todd Goldstein couldn't agree more. “We believe the next generation of entrepreneurs is coming at the high school level,” he says. “These kids are tech savvy and have a higher level of entrepreneurial spirit.”
 
This summer nine teams from area high schools enrolled in the six-week LEAP program, run out of LaunchHouse, to flesh out their business ideas and learn what it takes to develop and run a business. The nine were chosen from 70 applicants.
 
On Friday, August 2, the nine teams pitched their companies to the community and investors. It’s too early to tell if the teams secured any investors, but Schwartz says there was quite a bit of interest. Senator Sherrod Brown addressed the group via video.
 
Four of the nine businesses already are generating revenue, including Shaker Mowers, a landscaping company started by Shaker High students James Caffrey and Kyle Whitlach, which has more than 50 clients. The company has hired three people and has a 10-person waiting list of potential employees.
 
Another successful company is Vexum Supply, a skate and arts-based clothing company created by Solon High student Jacob Roscoe. He uses recycled fabrics and does all printing, sewing and stitching in Cleveland. The clothes already are on the racks in many area stores. Roscoe has hired one employee.

Chicken Coup Studios is a video game development studio that is creating a remake of Donkey Kong. Shaker students and founders Patrick Pastore and Charlie Hummel have hired two employees. Hawken student Phillip Hedayatnia and Gilmour student Megan Porter also hired two people to help with YouCue TV, a digital media-streaming box.
 
“These companies are generating revenue and are profitable,” says Goldstein, “They’re not only growing their businesses, but they are hiring employees. It’s a true testament to the LightHouse team and the hard work of these students.”
 
The LEAP program is funded through a grant from Craig Stout and the Arminius Foundation.
 

Sources: Zach Schwartz and Todd Goldstein
Writer: Karin Connelly


Study: northeast Ohio's tech startups generated $270m in economic impact in 2012

An annual study conducted by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development at the Levin College of Urban Affairs shows that startup companies in Northeast Ohio contribute significantly to the economy. The study surveyed tech-based companies that received assistance, either financially or in services, through JumpStart or the North Coast Angel Fund.
 
The 127 companies who participated in the study generated $211 million in economic benefits in Northeast Ohio in 2012, $270 million statewide. These companies helped create and retain 1,100 in-state direct jobs, with a total Ohio employment impact of 2,140. The companies and their suppliers also increased total Ohio household earnings by $125 million and contributed nearly $12 million in state and local tax impact.
 
As the early-stage companies grow, their impact increases, according to the study. Among those surveyed, 44 companies participated over three years -- from 2010 to 2012, showing 53 percent job growth and a 36 percent increase in economic impact over those three years.
 
“These numbers quantify the impact small companies made,” says Cathy Belk, JumpStart COO. “Small companies make a big difference.  It’s exciting to see the impact the companies we see every day are having. We see how hard these companies are working.”
 
With all of the organizations in Cleveland that support startups, in addition to support from Ohio Third Frontier, which provides funding to organizations like JumpStart, the region is ideal for new businesses.

“We continue to believe that Northeast Ohio is the best place in the country to have a small business or a new business,” says Belk. “We have such a robust ecosystem for startups and small business.”

 
Source: Cathy Belk
Writer: Karin Connelly


HCDC launches Business Retention Council with $30k Duke Energy grant

The Hamilton County Development Company is tapping local authorities to identify and aid businesses that are ripe for growth or in danger of leaving the area.

With a $30,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, HCDC launched a Business Retention Council. The Council allows HCDC to take a more proactive approach to business growth and retention, says HCDC President David Main.

The Council is comprised of economic development and other officials from most of Hamilton County's cities and suburbs. It held its first meeting last month.

"We are putting together a list of businesses we feel have the potential for expansion or may be at risk of leaving," Main says. "We want these business to stay in their communities. We hate reading in the papers that businesses left or went out of business when we could have done something about it."

HCDC is a 30-year-old nonprofit business development agency. The Norwood-based organization runs a business incubator, and is a small business lender.

HCDC has reached out to businesses in the past, but the Duke grant will allow for a more formal business retention program. Retention efforts are crucial to the local economy, Main says.

"Business expansion and retention tends to be overlooked, but it counts for 80 percent of job creation in any community," he says. "It's important to retain, and if possible, expand existing businesses."

Besides connecting with businesses, the Council wants to create an "early warning" system to alert members of any Hamilton County business that is facing potential challenges. The Council wants to find a way to find businesses before they leave or shut down.

Resources the Council could offer businesses include lending opportunities, business counseling, and marketing and sales support. The Council also wants to facilitate open communication with local government agencies.

"We can't always make a difference, but we want to at least have the chance to do something if a business is considering leaving or in danger of closing," Main says.


By Feoshia H. Davis

Dayton Development Coalition aims to promote entrepreneurship

The Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) is launching a series of new programs aimed at promoting and supporting entrepreneurship in the Gem City.
 
Joel Ivers, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development at the DDC, describes how his organization plans to work with Dayton’s entrepreneurial community. He notes meetings with community leaders, the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem database to help startups better connect, and a fundraising effort to raise $10 million in seed funding for new startups.
 
The operation is best summed up as a community-wide effort to bring more innovation and startup activity to Dayton. Ivers lists partner organizations such as TECDayton, IDCAST, the University of Dayton Research Institute, Wright State University, Central State University, Sinclair Community College, Wright Brothers Institute and various economic development organizations throughout the region. “Also, some entrepreneurs themselves are working with us to lead and provide support for all activities,” says Ivers.
 
In the early stages, it’s difficult to say what the economic impact will be even though “most initiatives have already begun.” But Ivers and his colleagues are confident these new programs will play a significant role in Dayton’s comeback as a startup-friendly city, provided their fundraising efforts are successful. “When funding is finalized, we will create goals for jobs and revenue,” Ivers notes.
 
Though news of these efforts is just coming out, DDC is not waiting around for progress.
 
“The goal is to launch the fund by the end of September,” Ivers explains. “And [we] expect to close the fund before the end of the year.”
 
 
Source: Joel Ivers
Writer: Joe Baur

Northeast Ohio angel investors help Knowta exceed funding goal

Knowta recently raised more than $300,000 in angel investments, exceeding its goal of $250,000 to roll out the next phase of its software solution. The LaunchHouse company offers free or discounted printing at libraries in exchange for accepting advertising on the bottom of the printed pages. A percentage of the revenue generated from the full-color ads is then returned to the libraries to offset their costs.
 
Initially, founder Ryan Clark and his four partners tested Knowta’s usability at CWRU’s Kelvin Smith Library during the 2012-2013 school year. They looked at three factors: Would library patrons use the service; would it work well in the university environment and provide value to the university; and would it deliver desirable results to advertisers. “We got an affirmative response on all three,” says Clark.
 
The next step is to improve upon the software. Clark says the investments, 90 percent of which came from individual Northeast Ohio investors, will be used to roll out the next phase. “There are a number of features we want to add to make it more attractive to our advertisers and make it more robust,” he says. “We’re excited about it. We’ve received tremendous feedback from users at Case.”
 
Knowta currently is in talks with five other universities in Northeast Ohio, and Clark says they are open to talking to any school that is interested in their product. Their goal is to secure five to six new schools this year.
 
Knowta currently has 25 advertisers in a range of industries, most of them local. Clark’s goal is to tap into the national market. The most popular ads are for the food and beverage industry.
 
Knowta has two full time employees, one paid intern and uses four to five contractors to build out the second phase of software development. The company plans to hire a lead developer/solution architect by the end of the year.

 
Source: Ryan Clark
Writer: Karin Connelly

Bizdom and LaunchHouse team up accelerator programs for Northeast Ohio's gain

Both Bizdom and LaunchHouse received hundreds of entrepreneurs applying for their respective accelerator programs this year. LaunchHouse received a record 115 applications for 10 spots in its 2013 LHX accelerator program, while Bizdom already has seen more than 100 applications this year from all over the country.

Both organizations each received $200,000 from Ohio’s New Entrepreneurs (ONE) Fund earlier this year. So, Bizdom and LaunchHouse decided to collaborate in investing in 20 technology startups this year.
 
"We feel it is important to collaborate with every organization that is helping to revitalize the region and LaunchHouse is certainly one of these organizations,” says Bizdom leader Paul Allen. “When we found out that Shaker LaunchHouse had also received ONE Fund support for its accelerator we reached out to see how we could closely collaborate to optimize the experience for all founders and to show the startup community that we are coordinated in our efforts.”
 
The organizations plan to share mentoring sessions, jointly host classes and open up their office spaces to each other’s entrepreneurs. “We have a strong network, and so does Bizdom,” says LaunchHouse CEO Todd Goldstein. “So why not collaborate to build a successful business community in Northeast Ohio?”
 
The whole idea is to foster the growth of Northeast Ohio as a hotbed for startups and a place that supports entrepreneurs. “Really, we are about the accelerator and the entrepreneurs working together to build a great community,” says Goldstein. “We’re not on an island by ourselves. We’re all out to build successful entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio.”
 
Allen agrees that the collaboration will help the entrepreneurs as well as continue to attract startups from outside the region. “Participants will be able to socialize with a greater number of peers and hopefully they will be able to learn from one another,” he says. “Collaboration strengthens the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial community because it gives us an opportunity to articulate a consistent and more powerful message within and outside the region about the opportunities and resources that exist here."

 
Sources: Paul Allen, Todd Goldstein
Writer: Karin Connelly

Zuga Medical receives FDA approval, JumpStart investment for dental implant system

Zuga Medical, a medical device company, recently received a $250,000 investment from JumpStart to launch its dental implant system. In April Zuga received FDA approval for its system, which allows a general dentist to perform implants using a screw, a procedure previously done only by oral surgeons.
 
“Our patent-pending technology makes it simpler, easier and more cost-effective for both the dentist and the patient,” says Zuga CEO Steve Cornelius, who met the company’s founder and CSO, Chan Wang, a year-and-a-half ago through BioEnterprise and joined the board of directors. He then became CEO. With 15 years of experience in the dental industry, Cornelius was intrigued with Wang’s product. “Chan had a vision of making things simple for general dentistry.”
 
Zuga will use the JumpStart investment to conduct a soft launch with eight to nine local dentists. Those dentists will take a training course on placing the implants next month. “We’re using the local soft launch in Cleveland to prove out our business model and raise the next round of investments,” Cornelius says. “Our vision is to create a dental company right here in Cleveland.”
 
As Zuga grows, Cornelius hopes to hire three to four sales reps, a marketing person and a customer service rep by the end of the year.
 
Zuga Medical has also received investments from the Cuyahoga County North Coast Opportunities Fund and the Innovation Fund.

 
Source: Steve Cornelius
Writer: Karin Connelly


Empower MediaMarketing creates Disruptive Media Fellowship

Independent media agency Empower MediaMarketing recently created a new Disruptive Media Fellowship at The Brandery, Cincinnati's consumer brand business accelerator.

The $10,000 fellowship will go to a Brandery startup whose idea is most disruptive to the media landscape. The fellowship recipient will be announced later this month, as The Brandery's incoming 2013 class begins, says Empower MediaMarketing's Director of Content Strategy Kevin Dugan.

"It seems that disruptions are taking place almost every day as consumer habits change," Dugan says. "We feel that for companies reacting to that is really more of an opportunity than anything else. If you are helping create the disruptions, it can become a competitive advantage."

Empower MediaMarketing is an independent media agency that plans, buys, creates and proves media impact for its clients. Dugan and CEO Jim Price are also Brandery mentors.

The Brandery launched in 2010 to offer funding, mentoring and partnerships for consumer marketing businesses. Brandery companies receive $20,000 in startup funding, and pitch their companies to potential investors at a Demo Day at the end of the four-month program.

The Brandery is a member of the Global Accelerator Network, and companies from across the country apply to the emerging accelerator. It is annually recognized as one of the elite startup accelerators in the country. More than 60 mentors work with the companies, with leading Cincinnati-based agencies offering participants free marketing and media guidance.

"As a company, we have been mentoring startups since 2010," Dugan says. "We really enjoy the process and wanted to increase our support (of The Brandery). This allows us to increase commitment and help startups."


By Feoshia H. Davis

Biz accelerator looks beyond Ohio for promising companies

Bizdom Cleveland has invested in 16 young companies since it set up shop in January 2012, and the organization is targeting 18 more companies this year. While many are local startups, Bizdom also scours the country in search of promising businesses to recruit to Cleveland.

So far Bizdom has brought four companies to Ohio: Queryly from New York, MascotSecret from San Francisco, Firmly Planted from Los Angeles and CourseBuffet from Seattle.
 
“The bottom line is we’re looking for the best and the brightest wherever we can find them,” says Paul Allen, leader of Bizdom Cleveland. “We find them, and then we do our best to sell them on the benefits of doing business in Cleveland.”
 
It’s not difficult to recruit companies to the area, given Cleveland’s support of small startups. “There’s a very large and organized infrastructure here,” Allen explains. “Cleveland has a bunch of organizations that provide support, expertise, resources, investment, equity and debt funding. The continuum of organizations that support small business is unlike other parts of the country.”
 
And the assistance is accessible. “Cleveland has a tight-knit startup community that doesn’t take long to identify the key players,” Allen says. “They exist here and you can access them.” Allen points out that the Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans name also attracts businesses.
 
One of Bizdom’s requirements is that its portfolio businesses locate in Cleveland. All four relocated companies have chosen downtown for their headquarters.
 
Bizdom companies have created 36 full-time and 10 part-time jobs. Allen hopes more out-of-town companies will come to Cleveland for Bizdom’s fall accelerator program in August. “We have lots of applicants from out of state for August,” says Allen.

 
Source: Paul Allen
Writer: Karin Connelly


Flashstarts looking for tech startups to join fast-paced accelerator program

In the penthouse of the historic Palace Theatre, Charles Stack is hoping to foster a few new tech companies -- 10 to be exact -- in Cleveland’s newest business accelerator, FlashStarts.

Stack started FlashStarts in October 2012 and will hold his inaugural startup class this summer. “Come in with a half-baked idea and we finish baking it, slap some cash for equity, and start it in three months,” he explains.
 
Teams of two or more can apply to be one of the 10, but Stack is also looking for 10 interns and even potential entrepreneurs who don’t have an idea yet, but want to help build on somebody else’s idea. “Even if you don’t have teammates or an idea, you can apply and we’ll put you with a team and you will get equity with that team,” he says. “There are a lot of smart people out there who may not have a teammate.”
 
Stack is against the “cookie-cutter approach” to starting new businesses. Instead, he helps each company with their unique needs. “As soon as you apply, if we like the concept we begin the process of launching the company,” he says. Stack immediately gives the teams individual challenges, like researching the patents or market size.
 
“The key to making that business successful is getting the team familiar with us and us familiar with them,” Stack says. “It’s really not the same for every business. Different opportunities require different tools.”
 
Stack is raising $1.1 million to invest in the companies. Teams will receive up to a $20,000 investment -- $11,000 plus $3,000 for each team member. FlashStarts in turn gets eight percent equity in the company. Teams can potentially receive up to $200,000 in follow-on funding upon completion of the program.
 
Stack already has identified six potential candidate teams. He is accepting applications until May 10. Stack also is looking for mentors and advisors. FlashStarts has partnered with DecisionDesk to facilitate the application process and recently brought in Jennifer Neundorfer as managing partner.
 

Source: Charles Stack
Writer: Karin Connelly

Cincy super accelerator reaches goals during first year, aims high for future

UpTech’s first year has been a big one. The six-month super accelerator attracted 57 ideas, and eight of those ideas were selected to become companies in its inaugural class—all eight of those companies graduated. Three of those companies received $90,000 in grant money; to date, those companies have received $230,000 in follow-on funding.
 
By 2017, UpTech has promised to bring 50 startups to Northern Kentucky, says Amanda Greenwell, UpTech’s program manager. The business accelerator has also promised to create jobs and provide money and support services to area businesses and its companies.
 
“Our goal is to create a culture of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in Northern Kentucky,” says Greenwell.
 
UpTech wants to continue building on its successes and contribute to a culture that understands startups. “We want to create an ecosystem in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati that creates a place for graduates of NKU's College of Informatics. We want to be a catalyst for that.”
 
UpTech is a new business informatics accelerator that was launched last year by several community investors, including Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, Northern Kentucky ezone, Northern Kentucky University and Vision 2015.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter
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