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JumpStart investment lures upscale talent to Health-Tech Corridor

Cleveland-based venture development organization JumpStart Inc. is helping build up the city's Health-Tech Corridor (HTC) with a $250,000 investment in Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc., maker of a special education learning software.
 
The investment comes from JumpStart's $10 million Evergreen Fund, which focuses on companies that relocate to the rapidly growing 1,600-acre district that links downtown Cleveland to University Circle.
 
Monarch's move from Shaker Heights to MidTown Cleveland will make them one of more than 170 tech firms located along the corridor, says JumpStart CEO Ray Leach.
 
"It's another example of a smaller, high-growth company moving to this section of town," Leach says. "The corridor is a good place for employers to access needed talent."
 
Monarch was founded in 2005 to develop visual learning software for children and adolescents with autism. The latest iteration, called VizZle, has been adapted for use by schools, clinicians and parents of children with varying special education needs.
 
"VizZle is a truly unique and innovative product," says Rem Harris, JumpStart's senior partner in charge of investing, in a statement. "The combination of high-quality content and ease of use allows curriculum to be customized for each student, enabling them to learn on an individual basis." 
 
The invested dollars will be utilized to strengthen Monarch's product development and sales and marketing arms, adds Leach. JumpStart's Evergreen Fund invests seed capital in similar high-potential businesses across the region, with 82 portfolio companies receiving $31 million through the fund to date. The fund also sets aside a special $2 million "carve out" fund for companies ready to move into the corridor.
 
"An increased number of people in MidTown doesn't just strengthen the economic impact of the neighborhood on a one-by-one basis," says Leach. "There's momentum now."
 
Companies doing business from the corridor have access to four world-class clinical institutions and a bevy of talent-rich universities. Add a mix of flexible office and lab space and you have reason for additional businesses to join the party.
 
"We were very attracted to the overall vibe of innovation and collaboration in the HTC," Monarch CEO and President Bob Gephart adds in the statement. "There are also so many great sources of support and new talent for a company like ours."

NEO sons come home to help fuel CLE's tech economy

A year ago, Chad Supers was running sales for a "baby startup" out of his San Francisco apartment. Today, the Elyria native is back home to help integrate the now fast-growing company into Cleveland's emerging tech economy.
 
Growbots, a Silicon Valley sales software firm, recently opened its national sales operations office in the Tenk Machine and Tool building on the West Bank of the Flats. The company builds outbound sales platforms for nearly 500 emerging B2B companies  in the U.S., Europe and Canada, raising $4 million in annual recurring revenue.
 
Growbots has four employees stationed at its West Bank office, among them former Phenom co-founder Mike Eppich. Supers says the Cleveland firm is prepared to bring on another two dozen sales and administrative roles by the end of 2017.
 
"In Cleveland we know we can get people who are hungry, hard-working and have the right attitude," Supers says.
 
Company leaders housed in Growbots' two other locations — Warsaw, Poland, and San Francisco — chose Cleveland for a potent talent base that's far less expensive to train and hire than the employee pools on the coasts.
 
"There are engineers and other great talents here, and it won't cost you what it would in San Francisco, New York or Boston," says Eppich.
 
Cleveland's hiring pool is a bit shallow when it comes to experienced tech workers, but that challenge can be met with in-house instruction, Supers notes.
 
"Any sales person should have knowledge around our space, but most people we're hiring don't know our competitors," he says. "That's the biggest struggle, so as a leader I have to set up an infrastructure where our employees can be trained." 
 
Like many of its West Coast brethren, Growbots provides a laid-back, results-oriented work atmosphere where rounds of pool are played between work assignments. Even in such casual environs, Supers is serious about his opportunity to bring high-paying tech jobs to his hometown.
 
"To think I'd be starting a small company and bringing it to Cleveland from San Francisco is pretty crazy," he says. 

Medical competition set to put Cleveland at forefront of big data revolution

Healthcare is undergoing a big data revolution, with a decade's worth of research, clinical trials, patient records and other pertinent information being aggregated into giant databases. Organizing this tsunami of information is a massive industry challenge, one an upcoming Cleveland-based event is attempting to tackle.
 
The inaugural Medical Capital Innovation Competition — orchestrated by The Global Center for Health Innovation (GCHI), Cuyahoga County, BioEnterprise, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) — invites professional and collegiate teams to offer up their best big-data ideas for a chance at $100,000 in prizes along with critical feedback from Cleveland's world-renowned healthcare sector. The two-day event will be held April 25 and 26 at GCHI's Innovation Center.
 
"From a startup perspective, it's a great opportunity for companies to come up with unique solutions," says BioEnterprise president and CEO Aram Nerpouni. "We're getting applications from around the country and all over the world."
 
Big data is becoming an increasingly big deal both domestically and internationally. According to a 2016 BioEnterprise report, the healthcare IT industry outpaced biotech and medical devices for the first time since the organization began compiling the study 12 years ago. In Cleveland, Explorys, Hyland Software and CoverMyMeds have made headlines with their attempts to take on the data overload from an industry generating huge amounts of new information every day.
 
"Every community in the country has the same challenge," says Nerpouni. "We are looking for some solutions and doing it in a way that plays to a regional strength."
 
Application deadline for the competition is March 31. Ideas will focus on the management, analysis and optimization of health data and be judged upon their commercial viability.
 
Nerpouni says the competition will be attractive for startups searching for a medical innovation hub. Trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) foretell a future where even more data will need to be collected and translated in order to improve access to patient care.
 
“Cleveland continues to build upon the strengths of its health IT, biotech and medical device assets,” says Nerpouni. "The competition is a celebration of the growth of that critical mass while letting the rest of the country know what's going on here." 

For local firm, virtual reality imparts new dimension to design

Cleveland architecture and design firm Vocon is employing virtual reality software to give its clients a sense of depth and space on their projects before a single brick has been laid.
 
Utilizing the HTC Vive headset, Vocon creates "walkable" renderings precisely to scale with a client's plans. Users get a full visual representation of their work, allowing them  to identify potential design issues ahead of time.
 
"We're giving clients a tool to understand their plans earlier in the process than we've ever been able to do," says project architect Michael Christoff.
 
Vocon integrated 3D software late last year, with a half dozen clients using the technology so far. Real-time views of a space let users study, for example, the visual difference two feet can make in the height of a ceiling. One company changed the placement of maintenance equipment after getting a virtual viewing of how it would appear in reality. Layouts are even changed on the fly — to the point where renderings can be studied in different types of sunlight.
 
"When people put on a pair of goggles, they have a better understand of the decisions they're making," says Christoff. "It helps them walk through the space and look at every nook and cranny."
 
Before VR, Vocon made 360 degree panoramic renderings that were static and fell short of delivering real immersion.
 
"Now clients can walk from one room to another, or sit in a space and look around," Christoff says. "Walking around a space gives them peace of mind about a design. It's not a mystery anymore."
 
As part of its marketing process, Vocon sends a headset and digital files to out-of-town companies. Vocon technology guru Brandon Dorsey schools clients on how to use the Vive software, which can be mapped to an XBox One controller.
 
"It takes about 15 to 20 minutes teach someone," says Dorsey. "It's an intuitive technology that anyone can use."
 
Christoff wants to roll out VR to more Vocon customers this year. The technology, he adds, is not limited to office spaces. For instance, city planners can harness the software for citizens interested in studying a virtual master plan design. And while high-end headsets are expensive, budget-conscious residents can purchase a Google Cardboard headset for $15.
 
Whatever the case, Vocon officials are satisfied with their leap into the virtual world.
 
"I'm seeing us make better design decisions earlier in the process," says Christoff. "Any tool that allows us to make a better looking project is an important tool for us to have."

Trending: Cleveland healthcare sector attracts nearly $200M

Cleveland healthcare companies attracted almost $200 million in new equity investments in 2016, continuing a strong local trend of ideas translating into investment dollars, say authors of an annual industry study covering the Midwest.  
 
Forty-six Northeast Ohio companies raised $198 million last year, according to the BioEnterprise Midwest Healthcare Growth Capital Report. The figure put Cleveland fourth in regional venture investment, just behind Minneapolis ($422 million), Chicago ($323 million) and St. Louis ($241 million). Ohio also ranked third among Midwestern states in drawing $291 million in healthcare investment funding, trailing only Minnesota ($424 million) and Illinois ($327 million).
 
“We are encouraged that Cleveland, again, ranks near the top of Midwest regions in number of companies and investment attracted,” says BioEnterprise president and CEO Aram Nerpouni, whose local nonprofit is tasked with assisting biomedical startups.
 
Medical device companies led the charge with $89 million raised, followed by $58 million garnered by local biotech and pharmaceutical firms. Matching a national trend, funding in Cleveland's health IT and services sector more than doubled, from $20 million to $50 million.
 
Drug development company BioMotiv raised $37.5 million in 2016, representing the region's largest deal. OnShift, a developer of software for post-acute care and senior living, had the next largest deal at $18 million. ViewRay, makers of a clinical MRI-guided radiation therapy system, raised $13.75 million.
 
Since 2012, Northeast Ohio's healthcare sector has acquired an average of $200 million in private investment capital, a trend that Nerpouni says is emblematic of the area's strides in the industry.
 
"A decade ago we were getting $30 million a year," says Nerpouni. "The consistency we're seeing now is exciting."
 
The region has also had more than 60 exits since 2002, meaning global entities are consistently grabbing up area companies, although many of these businesses are staying in the region after being acquired. Nerpouni cites Explorys, a healthcare data analytics company and division of IBM Corp. now building its headquarters near Cleveland Clinic.
 
Nerpouni expects local healthcare funding to break $200 million in 2017 as Cleveland's biomedical industry continues to find its legs.

"Look at the talent we have moving into Northeast Ohio," says Nerpouni. "The rest of the country is catching up to the fact that if you're a biomedical company, this one of the places to grow." 
 

Who's Hiring in CLE: Rick Case, Hyland Software, Cleveland Foundation...

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Water Cleveland's “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
 
Rick Case Automotive Group
Rick Case Automotive Group is hosting a career fair on Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Rick Case Honda, 915 E. 200th St., in Euclid. Candidates can apply for product specialist and sales consultant jobs as well as dealership service advisor positions. For more information, call 216-416-6847 or visit the dealership website.
 
Cleveland Foundation
Cleveland Foundation is seeking a media relations officer to oversee external communications and support the chief marketing officer in providing counsel to the foundation team. Responsibilities include enhancement of the nonprofit's media outreach footprint. A minimum of eight to 10 years in media relations required. To apply, send resume and cover letter indicating salary requirements to resumes@clevefdn.org by February 19. Candidates selected for interview will be contacted on or around the week of February 27.
 
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is searching for an administrative program coordinator to identify operational improvement opportunities and coordinate policy implementation and evaluation. The successful candidate will work from the Clinic's Beachwood campus and is expected to lead multiple complex projects, assist with scheduling, and act as a liaison with committees, employees and vendors. Bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, communications, healthcare administration, or related field required. Apply through the company's career page

CBS Radio
Broadcast media company CBS Radio needs a full-time reporter for its in-house traffic team based in Cleveland. Duties include writing, editing and voicing traffic reports for broadcast on CBS Radio stations. Knowledge of broadcast area geography and transportation systems preferred. Apply through the company's website.
 
Hyland Software
Hyland is looking for a network and security engineer to perform general maintenance  and vulnerability assessments on its systems. Qualifications include experience as an IT security administrator, proficiency with Microsoft and Linux operating systems, and experience using various security tools. Apply through the company's website.
 
Rockwell Automation
Mayfield Heights industrial automation firm Rockwell Automation is hiring a senior-level mobile software engineer to develop large scale applications. Hires will work with software engineering areas such as SPA architectures, mobile platforms and test automation. Minimum four years of software development experience and a bachelor's degree in computer science or equivalent required. Apply through the company's website

Women Who Code launches new tech network in Cleveland

An international nonprofit that empowers women to pursue and succeed in high-tech industries has chosen Cleveland for its newest chapter.
 
Women Who Code, with 60 locations in 20 countries, is an 80,000-member strong organization supporting an underrepresented demographic in technology-based fields. Upon joining Cincinnati as Ohio's second WWCode network, the Cleveland group kicked off at a JumpStart-hosted launch event on January 31, complete with programming activities and a brainstorming session to determine the group's future outreach.
 
The local chapter, which already consists of over 100 members, is led by Nicole McGuire, a technical architect at IBM's global consulting company Bluewolf. McGuire is tasked with guiding the group through regularly scheduled events, promotions and relationships with venues and sponsors.
 
Cleveland was selected as a chapter due to what WWCode global leadership director Joey Rosenberg calls the city's "vibrant tech spirit"
 
"We saw Cleveland having this movement around technology and entrepreneurship," says Rosenberg. "There's a buzz here we thought would support Women Who Code. Under the steady guidance of Nicole, this network has a chance to have an incredible impact on the city of Cleveland."
 
Hackathons, technology study groups and fireside chats with female tech leaders are currently being planned for WWCode's first year here. McGuire says bringing the group to Cleveland will galvanize the area's tech sector and create an immediate, and much-needed, system of resources.
 
"Women need to believe they belong in what is a heavily male-dominated field," says McGuire, a 16-year industry veteran. "We'll introduce them to role models that will let them say, 'Hey, I can become a vice president or CEO (in tech) and here's some women who've already done that.'"
 
College-aged women and those already pursuing tech careers are WWCode's target audience. Encouraging more female participation is critical in diversifying a field where only 17.6% of computer science graduates are women, organization officials maintain.
 
McGuire has always loved coding, dating back to 1983 when her parents bought her a Commodore 64 for Christmas. She looks forward to spreading that love to Cleveland-area women hoping to excel in technology careers.
 
"We want to find as many women as we can get to help drive the organization,"  McGuire says. "There's a chance here to mentor women, and produce more mentors to help junior coders or people already in the industry."
 

Women, Wine & Web Design aims to boost digital literacy

Tech Elevator founder and CEO Anthony Hughes believes digital literacy drives the modern economy. In order to put more women behind the wheel, he's created a Cleveland coding boot camp geared specifically toward them.
 
Women, Wine & Web Design is a free beginner's workshop that teaches the fundamentals of front-end web development. Hosted by JumpStart, the February 7 program will familiarize women of all ages and skill sets with HTML/CSS, directing them toward building a basic webpage.
 
Hughes, whose organization is sponsoring the event alongside e-commerce firm OEC, says the three-hour workshop is a casual, if intensive, introduction to coding principles. Tech Elevator alumni will guide attendees through the class led by software designer Nicole Capuana.
 
Program registration closed quickly, says Hughes, who points to a waiting list of would-be coders as further evidence of an increasingly in-demand skill set.
 
"There's a huge demand from women who are interested in exploring this path," says Hughes. "This program is a good vehicle for them to try programming and have fun at the same time."
 
Tech Elevator's objective with its web-related venture is to bring more women into a male-dominated field.
 
"Giving folks a sense of creating something is a great way to plant a seed and get them more involved," Hughes says. "Technology can be intimidating, but we're creating an event that's accessible."
 
Ideally, women leaving the class will pursue further coding knowledge via free online sources or more formal educational pathways. Program officials want to foster an uptick in the percentage of women graduating with computer science bachelor's degrees. Currently, the numbers are pretty dismal. Per ComputerScience.org, "as of 2010-2011, women made up just 17.6% of computer science students."
 
"Diverse companies have diverse thought processes," says Hughes. "Finding ways to bring more women into the field is only going to be better for all of us."
 
Cleveland is a first-time host for Women, Wine & Web Design, but Tech Elevator hosted a successful iteration of the program last fall in Columbus that drew 70 people.

Though the Buckeye State ranks below average in nationwide digital literacy, Hughes says additional introductory programming classes will only drive that ranking higher. To that end, Tech Elevator already has another women-friendly web event in preparation for later this year. 
 
"This could be a quarterly program," says Hughes. "If it helps women explore career paths more deeply, we'll keep doing it." 

Local startup unlocks the power of Amazon

Amazon.com is an unstoppable e-behemoth, ringing up nearly 40 percent of holiday web sales between Thanksgiving and the Monday after Turkey Day alone. As more consumer brands and general manufacturers harness the power of the online giant, a Cleveland startup is aiming to help them realize the powerful platform's nearly limitless potential.
 
Marketplace Strategy (MPS), housed in Tyler Village in Cleveland’s historic Tyler Elevator complex, is a five-person team of experienced digital marketers developing Amazon optimization programs for companies including Powerstep Insoles and Cyalume
 
Where other Amazon-specific agencies may focus on keywords and product page content, MPS takes what vice president of sales and marketing Jeff Walcoff calls an "end-to-end" approach. That means not only maximizing website visitors, but also creating a better user experience, increasing a business's presence on the platform, and optimizing company revenue.
 
MPS's work with Powerstep, in particular, demonstrated the Cleveland service's potential, Walcoff notes. The startup organized the shoe insert provider's sales listings while also fashioning back-end improvements. Powerstep's sales leapt significantly following the makeover.
 
"For us in digital marketing, unless you have some kind of software others don't, you have to offer something that makes you stand out," says Walcoff. "Growth with our clients has been across the board."
 
Walcoff and his colleagues developed the Amazon optimization program as part of a larger agency, but split off last year to launch MPS. 
 
"We saw potential to develop something unique; not just an SEO (search engine optimization) company," Walcoff says. "Right now we want to build a good foundation of clients. We've had conversations with local manufacturing companies big and small, and some national brands."
 
E-commerce will continue to grow, with Amazon leading the way, says the company official. According to a 2016 survey by BloomReach, 55 percent of consumers reported going directly to Amazon when searching for a product, nearly double those who cited search engines and other retailers.
 
MPS can be part of that evolution, considering that many companies—even larger ones—don't have much infrastructure around the Amazon platform.
 
"If you're selling something, Amazon is the epicenter of the internet," says Walcoff. "We love the companies in Cleveland and welcome the chance to work with them."  

From garage startup to multi-million dollar maker, Beachwood company is a 3D success

Desktop 3D printing is new enough that there's still room for exciting yet practical uses of the technology, says Rick Pollack, founder of MakerGear, a Beachwood designer and manufacturer of affordable desktop 3D printers.
 
The innovation is currently used to print human teeth and organs for study, while businesses are making prototype tools and other parts. Pollack has tapped into the nascent industry's energy to develop the company, which he started in his garage, into an award-winning, multi-million dollar enterprise with 25 employees.
 
MakerGear engineers and builds machines by hand from its Beachwood headquarters, with components manufactured at the company's 6,000-square-foot facility in Newbury. Growth has been in the double digits over the last few years, while revenue is steadily in the millions.
 
"We're self-funded with no outside help or sales and marketing department," says Pollack. "Our growth has been organic and done completely through word-of-mouth or positive press."
 
Local businesses, entrepreneurs and educators use MakerGear printers to innovate in their respective fields, Pollack notes. Clients range from companies producing multiple iterations of a part to makers and hobbyists interested in what the machines can do. Printers come in two configurations: the MakerGearM2 ($1,825) and a kit version ($1,500) that allows consumers to build the device themselves.
 
Pollack entered the 3D printing industry in 2009 wanting to manufacture goods on a desktop. While product creation requires sometimes exorbitant expenditure of time and money, the former software developer learned that 3D printing allows for low-volume, low-cost production without any special tooling.
 
With this knowledge in mind, Pollack bought a desktop lathe for $250 and started making printer parts for hobbyists out of his garage. Today, he produces thousands of parts that are shipped all over the world.  
 
"Starting this, I had no commercial experience, and had to learn to how to be a manufacturer post-recession," says Pollack. "I treated this industry like I'm a customer, in that I'm making a quality product at a reasonable price and with great customer support."
 
MakerGear has received its share of accolades since launch. In November, the MakerGear M2 was ranked No. 1 worldwide by 3D Hubs, an independent 3D printer review site. Pollack is proud of the distinction as well as contributing to the rapid expansion of high-tech manufacturing in the Cleveland area.
 
"This technology has lowered the barrier of entry for manufacturing," he says. "We stand out because we're focused on making a great product for our customers that's manufactured in the U.S." 

Career fair matches area bioscience companies with high-tech talent

BioOhio is looking for a few good employers to attend an upcoming tech-centric job fair in Cleveland.
 
The Ohio Bioscience Career Fair, scheduled for February 22 at Cuyahoga Community College's Corporate College East campus, matches job seekers with the region's growing bioscience sector. Ten companies representing the biotech, manufacturing,pharmaceutical, R&D, and medical device industries are expected to attend an event that organizers say is an affordable and targeted means of connecting with skillful would-be employees.
 
"Finding a workforce has been a challenge for companies," says Jen Goldsberry, manager of member services and events at BioOhio, a nonprofit membership organization that supports the Buckeye State's bioscience community through networking, advocacy and events. "We can bridge that gap."
 
Now in its 11th year, the program attracts about 200 candidates annually, from recent and soon-to-be graduates to experienced individuals exploring new career paths. Attendees meet HR managers and recruiters over the course of the afternoon (2 – 5 p.m.), and have the option of submitting their resumes for review prior to the event, giving them an ostensible jumpstart on future employment.
 
BioOhio is currently reaching out to potential exhibitors via an employer application form. Exhibitor rates are $525 for BioOhio members and $750 for non-members. Exhibiting companies will also be featured on the organization's online career fair page. Among the firms already signed up are Neurotechnology Innovations Translator and Charles River Laboratories. Meanwhile, regional partners like BioEnterprise and MAGNET are aiding in the company recruitment process.
 
"These are partners trying to grow jobs in their backyards," says BioOhio project and content manager Drew Cook. "They're critical supporters in what we do."
 
BioOhio holds yearly career fairs in northeast, central and southwest Ohio in an attempt to fill the coffers of the state's approximately 2,300 bioscience companies. With 10,179 students graduating in industry-related majors in 2015—according to the Ohio Bioscience Growth Report—a conscientious effort must be made to keep these talented young people at home.
 
"Companies want to find homegrown talent over bringing someone in from outside," says Cook.
 
Group officials say the career fair is the best solution for employers searching for new hires who need minimal onboarding before becoming a vital company asset.
 
"If you post on CareerBuilder, you don't know what you're going to find," says Goldsberry. "Here you're going to have access to some awesome talent."

Cleveland healthcare IT firm creates hot idea for cold hospital storage

Tens of thousands of vaccines, pharmaceutical lab tests and food items spoil each year due to faulty hospital refrigerators, costing medical systems money while posing a danger to patients.
 
Healthcare IT developer Emanate Wireless has a solution to this problem, and recently corralled a good chunk of money to implement it. In December, the Cleveland-based startup raised $1.5 million in angel funding for its wireless PowerPath Temp device, which monitors both the internal temperature and power draw of medical refrigerators.
 
The monitor alerts staff of compressor issues, defrost failures and ajar refrigerator doors before temperatures lower to the point where spoilage can occur. Early detection results in preventative maintenance that protects patients and hospital assets, says company CEO Neil Diener.
 
Emanate's wireless system, resembling a laptop's power brick, efficiently sends information to a cloud-based server, eliminating the need for staff members to check cold storage themselves and log the results by hand.
 
The startup co-founder notes that, unlike the competition, Emanate's tech tracks whether a fridge's defrost cycle is active, or if its compressor has been running too long.
 
"Any change in behavior will be noticed," says Diener. "It gives an early warning that maintenance is needed. There's a number of competitive solutions that do what we do, but when you get an alert telling you temperature is out of spec, it may be too late, and result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in pharmaceuticals getting tossed out."
 
Emanate, which received coaching and fundraising assistance from the BioEnterprise business group, currently sells the monitor along with an annual subscription for operational software. The company also designed an iPhone app that lets hospital employees check the monitor remotely.
 
Recently acquired capital will help Emanate scale up its current offerings and continue to broaden its portfolio. Two Cleveland Clinic facilities, Avon Hospital and Marymount Hospital, are among the local entities using the high-tech solution. The company, with help from business partner, Accruent Healthcare Solutions, brought on a Pennsylvania hospital network as well.
 
2017 could see expansion to additional hospitals from a home base that Diener believes to be a great place to build a healthcare IT startup.
 
"There's lots of positive momentum in Cleveland with a great hospital system," he says. "Anything you can do to make their lives easier has a positive effect on what they're able to do for patient outcomes." 

Cleveland contingent wins gold, spreads awareness at inaugural Cybathalon

A Cleveland-based group of researchers and athletes recently harnessed an innovative technology - along with a nearly superhuman will to win - to take home gold at the world's first "cyborg games."
 
The gold medal team journeyed to Zurich, Switzerland, in October to compete in the first ever Cybathlon, an international "cyborg Olympics" open to disabled people who use electronic prosthetics to compete daily tasks. Sent by the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the contingent won a gold medal in the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike race, which modified recumbent bikes for competitors with spinal cord injuries.
 
Team Cleveland "pilot" Mark Muhn, a California native paralyzed from the armpits down after a skiing accident, finished 1:10 ahead of his nearest competitor, thanks to training and a locally-born experimental research program that implanted a pulse generator under his skin.
 
Designed by the Cleveland VA's Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center, the device was connected to an external control box that Muhn and his fellow riders activated with a button press. The implant sent electrical stimulation to Muhn's paralyzed muscles, allowing him to create a pedaling movement in sync with the bike around a 750-meter track.
 
"The pulse generator is like a pacemaker that delivers current to the back, hips and legs," says Dr. Ron Triolo, team leader on the project. "That small amount of current fires the nerve, resulting in muscle contraction."
 
Cleveland's 10-person Cybathlon crew consisted of a biomedical engineer, a neuroscientist/certified bike mechanic and a world-class competitive cyclist. Triolo traveled to Zurich with Team Cleveland athletes bolstered by two months of training in the implant technology.
 
Winning the gold was exciting, but the Cybathlon's competitive aspect came in second to showing off an innovation that helps individuals with devastating spinal injuries regain some form of movement, Triolo says.
 
"We were using technology that's not commercially available and showing the potential difference these interventions can make in someone's life," he says. "We're raising awareness that hopefully sparks investment."
 
Combining sports and medical research was instructive for Triolo's team as well.
"Biking was new for us," he says. "It's a powerful exercise tool that made our volunteers stronger. They feel like they're part of society again."

Who's Hiring in CLE: a 'fresh' start

Welcome to the re-launch of Fresh Water Cleveland's “Who’s Hiring in CLE” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
 
FlashStarts Inc.
FlashStarts, a Cleveland-based accelerator and micro-venture capital firm, is searching for a marketing assistant to manage general marketing campaigns and orchestrate both internal and external promotional efforts. Responsibilities include management of the company blog, newsletter and social media platforms and working with businesses on search engine marketing strategies. For more information, contact Alayna Klco at alayna.klco@flashstarts.com.
 
Insivia
Digital consulting firm Insivia needs an experienced operations manager to plan and implement a wide variety of projects. The hire would work with teams on innovating new systems and track internal metrics including resource utilization and profitability. Resumes are accepted by e-mail only, hr@insivia.com
 
Quality Electrodynamics (QED)
Quality Electrodynamics, a supplier of advanced medical equipment based in Mayfield Heights, is looking for an electronics technician to test electronic or mechanical assemblies using hand tools and a variety of test equipment. An associate's degree in electronics technology or equivalent industry experience is required. Submit resume to human.resources@qualedyn.com.
 
JumpStart Inc.
Talent attraction organization JumpStart is hiring a business development associate to build its "scaleup" line of business. The position entails developing a pipeline of clients as well as managing individual client projects. Applicants must register with JumpStart's jobs page before applying.
 
Hyland Software
Hyland, creator of OnBase, is seeking a salesforce administrator for its Westlake location. The entry-level position focuses on delivering solutions to stakeholders using the company's Salesforce.com platform. Bachelor's degree and general customer relationship management (CRM) software experience required. Applicants can apply directly to Hyland's website.
 
Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University is hiring a classroom technology specialist to provide technology, multimedia, hardware, software application, and basic network support to users of library and campus classroom technology. The position also requires applicants to train faculty and staff on the use of this technology. Preferred qualifications include a bachelor's degree and previous experience supporting videoconferencing and multimedia equipment. Applications are due online by Monday, Jan, 2.  

Innovation and economic development are the heart of CSU, St. Vincent collaboration

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Cleveland State University are a long-standing pair of downtown Cleveland economic and academic anchors. Now the two entities are combining forces to cultivate new research innovations that could have further impact on the city, proponents say.
 
Announced at an October 12 St. Vincent fundraising event, the collaboration focuses on expansion of the existing Campus District medical and academic hub. While early in its lifespan, the partnership has realized 35 projects in various stages of progress, says Thom Olmstead, the medical center's director of university collaborations.
 
"With CSU down the street, there were some obvious opportunities to collaborate," says Olmstead. "A multi-disciplinary approach can drive these concepts."
 
Work over the last 11 months has included crossover between St. Vincent and faculty from the university's engineering, science, nursing and law colleges. The medical institution also currently serves as a teaching site for CSU's joint degree program with Northeast Ohio Medical University, which trains its charges to meet the unique healthcare needs of urban neighborhoods.
 
An alliance between St. Vincent’s Spine & Orthopedic Institute and CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering, meanwhile, has resulted in new prosthetic technology and rehabilitation techniques.
 
With more than a half-million dollars earmarked for future projects, institution leaders are planning additional partnership endeavors. Among them is St. Vincent residents using CSU's simulation lab for training in cardiac events and other medical emergencies. In addition, hospital trainees are now embedded as observers at the college's speech and hearing clinic.
 
"The model is an academic medical campus, and CSU is only a couple of hundred yards away," says Olmstead.
 
This latest collaboration reinvigorates ties between the institutions fostered six years ago by St. Vincent president and CEO David Perse. New projects will not only further bind the involved groups, but increase in scope and sophistication to have a wider influence on Cleveland's economic development future as well.
 
"This partnership isn't just marrying capabilities on either side, it's showing how we can be significant in revitalizing the neighborhood," Olmstead says. "We're happy to work with CSU. The impact they have on the community is very important to them, and aligns very well with what we're doing."
 
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