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New Cleveland-based biomed company will speed delivery of stem cells to patients

Arteriorcyte, a developer of stem cell products and medical devices in Cleveland, has launched Compass Biomedical to speed up the delivery to patients three Arteriocyte stem cells products. Created in December 2012, Compass officially got underway in June.
 
“The purpose of Compass is to help solve the issues in getting stem cells to patients,” says Kolby Day, Compass Biomedical vice president and general manager of research and development. “The challenges are having enough stem cells and improving the tools used.”
 
Compass supplies three product lines used to grow stem cells for research and in clinical settings. The products mimic bone marrow and promote the growth of stem cell cultures. “Arteriocyte is more the research and development company, while Compass is more of the team that sells, markets and gets those products into the hands of people who can use them,” says Day.

Compass has hired four people since December. As Arteriocyte develops new products, Day expects Compass will in turn expand its team. “We want to continue to build the sales team and continue finding products to sell,” he says. “We anticipate bringing in at least two to three products in the next six months, and we will be hiring based on demand.”

 
Source: Kolby Day
Writer: Karin Connelly


Marietta-based OffWhite launches cloud-based marketing platform

Marietta-based Offenberger & White, Inc., or "OffWhite" for short, is making waves in the small- and medium-sized business community with the expansion of its cloud-based platform, Ed.it2, which offers users without programming skills an integrated dashboard to manage communications functions, email marketing and social media.
 
“Our expanded platform is an outgrowth of our original website content management system,” explains OffWhite co-founder Bill White. “It’s an affordable, cloud-based solution, easy to use, scalable and very broad in what utilities you choose to switch on.”
 
Users frustrated with complicated, expensive marketing platforms that require programming will be delighted with OffWhite's simplified experience. “The user can access all digital media pathways via a single dashboard,” says White. “This includes website content, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and many other functions.” White insists users will not need an IT staff to manage the Ed.it2 cloud.
 
The cloud-based expansion is the latest evolution of Ed.it2, which OffWhite has continually optimized since the platform's launch 10 years ago per the request of a Japanese client. “Since then, it has evolved with new features and utilities as the industry evolves,” notes White.
 
Now, small- to medium-sized businesses that lack the budget for expensive content management systems can opt for OffWhite's services. “We have an affinity for emerging growth and small to medium businesses, especially technology companies,” says White. “They need common sense solutions for tapping into their own websites and social media without lots of infrastructure. That’s just a fraction of what Ed.it2 offers.”
 
 
Source: Bill White
Writer: Joe Baur

Turning Technologies acquires largest competitor, eInstruction

Youngstown-based Turning Technologies, a software development company, has acquired their largest competitor, eInstruction, a leader in global education technology.
 
The acquisition is the largest of Turning's to date and positions the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) portfolio company to further their international dominance in Europe, South America and Asia.
 
Jim Cossler, CEO at YBI, believes this latest acquisition is a good example of the incubator's potential. “It answers a lot of questions that people had about our model,” he says. “We announced to the world in 2001 that we were going to launch a world-class market in downtown Youngstown. There weren’t many people in our community or northeast Ohio who believed us, but we’ve done that.”
 
Since its inception, YBI has seen numerous acquisitions take place and eInstruction will hardly be the last. Cossler hints, “We think there will be more in the relatively near future.”
 
Cossler continues, noting the eInstruction acquisition will bring growth to the region. “There will definitely be new job creation in Youngstown as a result,” he says. One area ripe for growth is warehouse space, which Cossler describes as currently inadequate to accommodate the merger. “They’re in the process now of looking for new warehouse facilities in the greater Youngstown area.”
 
 
Source: Jim Cossler
Writer: Joe Baur

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

Cincy's venerable Mercantile Library sponsors hackathon

Young merchants and clerks of Cincinnati came together in 1835 to found and organize the Mercantile Library, which to this day maintains historic collections of books and artwork in the city. It is recognized as “one of the oldest cultural institutions in the Midwest.” 

When the young minds and innovators came together at that time, in what was one of the largest cities in the United States, the goal was to move Cincinnati forward. 

To this day, that goal remains the same. And earlier this year, the library hosted a Hackathon—an event that brought together young coders who possess the ideas and skills needed to market the library and its offerings to a younger generation. 

“At a typical hackathon, some people will have an idea of a team they want to get together and a project, or a product they want to launch," says Zach Zimmerman, a member of the Hackathon’s first-place team, and who is now working to build the library a new website.

"But at the core of the hackathon, you push it out to people, and they come, and you break off into groups and start to ideate about what you could do, what you could build to provide a solution that hasn’t been thought about before or that could really push a company or product over the edge and make it something big.” 

Zimmerman says one of the ideas his team had to make the library’s website appealing was to rely simply on the building’s beauty and grandeur, as the space showcases history and sells itself through its offerings to the public. 

“The building is gorgeous," he says. "The art that’s there, and just flipping through some of the books—these are 200- to 300-year old books, and the art and just the labor that went into making them—it’s just fascinating to me. I just felt very inspired, and our team actually worked at the library when the hackathon kicked off. They said you could go out and about, and at the end of the hackathon, come back and present your ideas. But we actually stayed at the library the majority of the time because it was a very inspiring place—somewhere I felt pushed to do more.” 


By Brittany York

Nextdoor app connects Cincinnati residents

Last month, the city of Cincinnati adopted Nextdoor, a free, private social network that aims to improve community engagement between the city and its residents, and to foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications.
 
Each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods will have its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, which is accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. City administrations and several city departments will also use Nextdoor to share important news, services, programs, free events and emergency notifications to residents, but they won’t be able to see who is registered to use the site or the conversations among residents.
 
Founded in 2010 in San Francisco, Nextdoor’s mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood.
 
“We all remember what our neighborhood experience was like as kids, when everyone knew each other, looked out for one another and stayed in the community longer," says Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor. “We want to invoke that nostalgia for neighborhoods.”
 
To date, Nextdoor is being used by about 17,000 neighborhoods across the country. In June, Nextdoor partnered with New York City and Mayor Bloomberg to communicate with the city’s 8.3 million residents. The site plans to roll out in other major cities like Cincinnati over the course of the next several months.
 
Nextdoor also recently released its iPhone app. “We’re really putting the lifeline of the neighborhood into the palm of the residents’ hands,” says Leary. “The common thread is an interest in using technology to make connections with neighbors. But it doesn’t stop there—once people have an easy way to communicate, they’re more likely to get together in the real world.”


By Caitlin Koenig

CLE-based BoxCast to expand courtesy of JumpStart investment

When Gordon Daily founded BoxCast in 2008 after a funeral director asked his business partners to create a way for family members to privately observe funeral services at his chapel, he had no idea the concept of simple, live streaming video would be so popular.
 
Today, business is booming, especially in the church and on athletic fields. BoxCast allows anyone with a camera to stream live video to BoxCast’s cloud-based service. Users can then watch the video anytime, anywhere.
 
“We have eclectic audiences looking to do things they’ve never been able to do before,” explains Daily. “It’s simple and affordable because no one has to be a technical expert to stream live video.”
 
With JumpStart’s recent $250,000 investment, things are moving even more quickly. “The JumpStart funding was the jump start of our company, it really was,” says Daily. “Until we had the funding, we couldn’t do what we really needed to do.”
 
What BoxCast needed to do was hire the right people to implement and market the company’s technology and build the right business relationships. “Now, it’s all happening,” says Daily. “The pieces are coming together. A lot of partnerships are coming together.”
 
Daily says a lot of high schools, colleges and churches are interested in BoxCast for their sporting events and other activities. But he says he’s also seen a lot of unique potential customers surfacing. “There are a lot of neat ideas -- interesting and unique entertainment venues that never had video,” he says. “People with specific, eclectic interests that didn’t realize they could do it.”
 
BoxCast has grown to 12 employees and Daily is looking for an administrative person to help around the office. To accommodate the growth, BoxCast recently moved into a 4,000-square-foot office at Burke Lakefront Airport.

 
Source: Gordon Daily
Writer: Karin Connelly


The world's most powerful MRI lands in northeast Ohio

After more than a two-year wait and construction of its very own building, the Cleveland Clinic took delivery of and installed a 7 Tesla full-body MRI last month. It is the only one of its kind in northeast Ohio, and one of only about a dozen in the country.
 
While the 1.5 Tesla MRI is more common, and the Clinic even has several 3 Tesla MRIs, the 7 Tesla provides a better look, even down to the cellular level. “It has special resolution where we can actually see much finer detail than a 3 Tesla or 1.5 Tesla,” says Mark Lowe, director of high field MRI at the Clinic. “With this higher special resolution you can see things you’ve never seen before.”
 
The MRI will be used for neuroscience research into disorders such a multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. The finer detail will allow researchers to see focal dysplasia in epilepsy patients, or greater vascular detail in angiography. The acquisition of the new machine created two new jobs, with the potential for more future jobs with grant funding.
 
“The bottom line is, for years MRI has been very good at imaging soft tissue contrast, but it’s not as good in spatial resolution,” says Lowe. “This provides that spatial resolution.”
 
It was no easy task to get the 40-ton machine to Cleveland. Lowe and his team secured funding for the $10.5 million endeavor two and a half years ago. It was scheduled for delivery in December. But a shortage of helium, which is used to cool the MRI magnet, caused further delays.
 
The 7 Tesla is housed in a specially constructed building next to the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis. The roof was lifted off the building to lower the MRI into place, which also comes with 350 miles of superconducting wire.

 
Source: Mark Lowe
Writer: Karin Connelly

Seventh healthcare organization joins Cleveland Clinic HC Innovation Alliance

Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) announced last month that Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences is the seventh clinic to join the Clinic’s Healthcare Innovation Alliance. The collaboration will help Marshfield develop and commercialize its innovations and improve healthcare.
 
The alliance, formed two years ago based on CCI’s 13 years of experience, is a way for the Clinic to share its knowledge while also improving upon its reputation within the healthcare industry. In Marshfield’s case, the Clinic is hiring a senior commercialization officer who will be embedded in Wisconsin.
 
The officer will help to advance diagnostic tools and treatments created by Marshfield Clinic physicians, researchers and staff. The Innovation Alliance also will foster the transfer of Marshfield Clinic technology into commercialization.
 
“It’s about getting the technology quickly to the patient,” says Brian Kolonick, associate general manager of the Innovation Alliance. “It’s all collaboration, these are not bilateral relationships. We look for ways to collaborate, to share knowledge.”
 
There are 65 Clinic employees working within the alliance. “If someone in the alliance has an idea, we get a person on the ground there,” says Kolonick. “We find the right person with the right expertise. It’s getting the right people to the table.”
 
Conversely, the Clinic also learns about what other researchers are doing around the country. “We’re about going in there and getting fresh ideas, flushing them out and commercializing them,” says Kolonick. “It’s about getting in there and shaking trees.”
 
The Innovation Alliance gets a percentage of the revenues from any idea that goes to market.
 

Source: Brian Kolonick
Writer: Karin Connelly


Pro-shale development group boasts economic benefits for Mahoning Valley

Local businesses and labor leaders, elected officials, landowners and others gathered at the Log Cabin in downtown Warren last month to tout the economic benefits and job creation resulting from the development of shale oil and natural gas.
 
Tony Paglia, VP of Government and Media Affairs at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, says the event, hosted by the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment, was held as a counter-presence to an anti-shale development demonstration that was simultaneously held on Warren’s Courthouse Square. “We wanted to get out the word that the Mahoning Valley welcomes oil and gas development in our area,” Paglia explains. “Most of the demonstrators against oil and gas were from outside the area and the state.”
 
Characterizing oil and gas development as an economic “game changer” for the Valley, Paglia says, “We have gone from one of the worst economies in the U.S. to an economy that is creating good paying jobs and providing a resurgence for our manufacturing sector.” In total the Chamber estimates upwards of 4,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created in addition to “billions of dollars in investment in the Valley region.”
 
Critics have said the risks associated with shale and natural gas drilling on the environment far outweigh any economic benefits. But after 30 years of economic decline, local leaders are ready to accept shale development as an opportunity to change the region’s fortunes. “We’ve all studied the pros and cons of shale development and believe with strong and effective environmental and safety laws that the risks of the industry can be managed, allowing for continue economic growth and investment,” says Paglia.
 
Pro-shale groups predict full development in the Valley in 2014. This means a large increase in drilling as supply chain companies continue to move into the region and local companies expand their operations.
 
Paglia sums up his defense and support of shale development by pointing to a recent Business Facilities Magazine ranking that put the Youngstown-Warren region sixth in the Economic Growth Potential category among metro areas with less than 450,000 employment. “Ten years ago," says Paglia, "the Youngstown-Warren area would probably have been sixth from the bottom in economic growth potential.”
 
 
Source: Tony Paglia
Writer: Joe Baur

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

Cincinnati Innovates teams with EPA to offer Water Challenge, cash prizes

The region's fifth annual Cincinnati Innovates competition comes with a federal twist, a global challenge and a $10,000 prize opportunity.

By partnering with the US Environmental Protection Agency, Innocentive, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District and Northern Kentucky's Sewer District 1, the newly announced Water Challenge competition focuses on the development of low-cost, low-maintenance sensors able to monitor sewer overflows. 

Sewer overflows, which spill untold gallons of raw sewage into waterways after heavy rainfalls, remain a major challenge for cities and a major barrier to compliance with Clean Water Act regulations. Cincinnati Innovates founder Elizabeth Edwards explains this first-ever Cincinnati Innovates/government initiative:

Why is the sewer system ripe for innovation and why Cincinnati?
Cincinnati, like many other major metros, is faced with major infrastructure improvement costs to maintain our 100-plus-year-old sewer system.

Is this the first time you've partnered with a governmental agency and what do you think that signals? Why do you think the EPA is reaching out to basically "crowd source" innovations in how we handle water overflows?
This is the first time Cincinnati Innovates has partnered with a government agency.

The EPA's Water Research Lab here in Cincinnati is one of the largest in the world. This partnership is just another example of the EPA's efforts to commercialize water technologies in the region.

Contests spur innovation. The EPA's partnership with Innocentive and Cincinnati Innovates is just one way the EPA is sourcing innovation.

How did this partnership come about and what was the process?
We've been working for several months together with Innocentive to create a prize and a process that makes sense. In defining the prize, we worked with water utility experts on both sides of the river.

What impact could this competition, and the products it support, have on the people of Cincinnati--and beyond?
This competition could save Cincinnati and cities like it millions of dollars a year - and improve safety and water quality. 

The competition is open and online now.


By Elissa Yancey

Researchers at Cleveland Clinic and CWRU restore bladder function in rats with spinal cord injuries

Researchers at CWRU School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have discovered a way to restore bladder function in rats with severe spinal cord injuries. Jerry Silver, professor of neurosciences at CWRU School of Medicine, and Yu-Shang Lee, assistant staff scientist in the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, paired a traditional nerve bridge graft with scar degrading and growth factor treatments to grow new nerve cells. 

The neural bridge spans the gap between the severed sections of the spinal cord -- from the thoracic region to the lower spinal cord. The new nerve cells regrew in the bridge, which allowed the rats to regain bladder control. 
 
“It’s exciting news for us,” says Lee, who has been working on this research for the past 10 years. He cites a bladder control survey in which spinal cord injury patients ranked bladder control in the top two most important concerns -- higher than motor or sensory function. “It’s new hope for future treatments.”

The team’s work was detailed in the June 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Lee and Silver plan to test their method on larger animals before moving on to human trials in a few years. Silver and Lee hope their research will ultimately result in restoration of bodily functions in paralyzed humans.

 
Source: Yu-Shang Lee
Writer: Karin Connelly


Techie volunteers help 18 nonprofits at Give Camp 2013

The fourth annual Cleveland Give Camp was held this weekend on the LeanDog boat by Burke Lakefront Airport. From Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21, volunteers helped 18 chosen non-profits with their software and web-based application projects.
 
In addition to the developers, project managers, designers, creative professionals and other techies, Give Camp techie volunteers do everything from making sure everyone is well fed to cleaning up. “Each project team leader, project manager... Every single person who works on Give Camp is a volunteer,” explains spokesperson Amy Wong. “It’s a way for people with a unique set of skills to give back.”
 
But the people involved in Give Camp, many of which come back year after year, also have fun. Many pitch tents for the weekend, while others simply go without sleeping. The event is also a great techie networking opportunity.
 
“It’s fun, you get to spend the weekend on the lake with a great view,” says Wong. “You meet a lot of great people you never met before and hang with some really smart people. People get sucked in by the non-profits they work with.”
 
Some of the non-profits receiving help on their projects this year include the Free Clinic, LAND Studio, Malachi House and the May Dugan Center. In addition to LeanDog and Burke hosting the event, 12 additional companies sponsored Give Camp, including Arras Keathley, Explorys, JumpStart and Hyland Software.

“We’re really grateful to all of our sponsors,” says Wong. “They give us everything. They feed us breakfast, lunch and dinner and a special treat on Saturday night.”
 

Source: Amy Wong
Writer: Karin Connelly 


Cincy entrepreneurs set to launch multimedia digital portfolio platform

Today the web is a crucial link between employer and employee. Your first contact with a potential employer is almost always online, and it can be hard to stand out.

That's why two Cincinnati entrepreneurs are set to launch a platform that allows job seekers and college students to more completely, creatively and simply show what they're made of.

Kevin Mackey and Stephanie Hughes, founders of GlueWorks LLC, are launching their first product, Talent Showcase. The online platform is a multimedia portfolio that allows users to display and share their important workplace skills and attributes.

Talent Showcase, set to go live July 31, allows users to customize their profiles from a number of available features. With Talent Showcase, job seekers can use video, PDFs, audio, pictures and more to show and sell themselves. Talent Showcase has a workplace assessment feature that will list your top five workplace competencies (out of 84 assessed).

"You can upload your resume, a first impression video or elevator pitch, songs, letters of recommendation, class projects," says Mackey, who has a background in marketing and finance. "It's like an interview before the interview."

GlueWorks will allow users to share their profile from the site.

The platform is a modified idea of Hughes', an NKU professor. Originally, she envisioned the site as a way to connect college students to former professors and businesses. Students can be hard to find once they graduate, and GlueWorks was formed to increase the "stickiness" between them, she says.

Like many startups, the idea evolved, though the core concept remains the same: high-quality connection. Talent Showcase stands out from sites like LinkedIn because of its focus on displaying individuals' talents, Hughes says.

"Glue offers a much more digestible tool," she says. "If I'm an employer, I don't want to navigate my way around a (social media) profile. Glue presents information in a much more standardized, digestible way for employers. It doesn't make the job of the employer difficult."

And what's good for employers, is good for employees.

Those interested in Talent Showcase can sign up on the GlueWorks website. It's free for individual users. Organizations like colleges and universities or chambers of commerce can also purchase a white-label version of the system, which includes a search portal and an administrative portal for providing advice and feedback on their members' Talent Showcases.

Eventually, as Glue builds its user base, employers will be able to purchase regional or national recruiting memberships for a monthly or annual fee.


By Feoshia H. Davis
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