co-founder/marketing Dar Caldwell describes the business accelerator as a "thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem." That ecosystem will welcome 10 new inhabitants this coming fall thanks to funding from Ohio's New Entrepreneurs (ONE) Fund
The $200,000 grant will be "a welcome addition here, allowing us to ramp up even more," Caldwell says. Launchhouse already provides dozens of member companies with all sorts of support, from office space to branding to patenting. Not to mention free coffee and wifi.
The ONE Fund grant will allow Launchhouse to seek additional tech start-ups from around Ohio, surrounding states and Chicago. Caldwell says the search won't focus on any particular industry; high growth potential is the key. He expects that Launchhouse will make a formal announcement of the search in April, but notes that the center -- at 3558 Lee Road in Shaker Heights -- has received a steady stream of applications since opening last spring.
Launchhouse's members are nothing if not diverse. Current portfolio members include freshbag
, an online produce-shopping and delivery service founded by a Case Western medical student and some friends; Cell-A-Spot
, which developed a system allowing cell phone users to cut their monthly bills by accepting targeted ads; and Railroad Empire
, an online game for Facebook.
Operated by Ohio's Third Frontier initiative, the ONE Fund is a “mentorship-driven program [that] focuses on the professional development of young entrepreneurs with the necessary ambition to commercialize new technologies.” In addition to Launchhouse, the fund recently awarded grants to similar programs in Cincinnati and Columbus.
Source: Dar Caldwell
Writer: Frank W. Lewis