| Follow Us:

Cleveland : Innovation + Job News

281 Cleveland Articles | Page: | Show All

JumpStart's mentoring program aims to create "serial entrepreneurs"

JumpStart’s Burton D. Morgan Foundation Mentoring Program offers young companies a little additional insight into running a successful business. Each participating startup is assigned between one and four mentors.

“It really depends on the stage the company is at and what their needs are,” says Anthony Hughes, director of the program. “No one mentor is going to have all the skill sets needed as these companies take their ideas to fruition.”
Companies do have to be involved with JumpStart to enroll. Currently, 38 mentors are involved in the program and they have assisted 33 companies since it was launched in March of 2012. The program currently has 21 active companies.
“The companies have generated or raised $2.9 million in capital," says Hughes. "Startups with access to mentors and advisers are seven times more likely to raise capita and three and a half times as likely to gain customers. We are responsible for creating serial entrepreneurs and polishing the diamonds in this ecosystem. They’re really flying blind without access to people who have been there, done that.”
The mentors come from virtually every industry and background -- from Fortune 500 companies to venture capitalists, to leaders of nationally-know startups. “We’ll entertain anyone, but through a stringent evaluation process. We use mentors who are experienced and knowledgeable,” says Hughes. “Mentors are invitation-only. We’re not trying to be elitists or exclusive.”

Source: Anthony Hughes
Writer: Karin Connelly

Cleveland Clinic Innovations launches spinoff to create breast cancer vaccine

Cleveland Clinic Innovations has launched a spinoff company, Shield Biotech, out of the Lerner Research Institute. Led by Vincent Tuohy, the company is developing a vaccine for breast cancer.

The vaccine uses the body’s own immune system to fight off and kill cancerous tumors. Tuohy, who serves as Shield’s chief science officer, has been working on this theory for the past 11 years. 
The next step is to secure FDA approval for human clinical trials, probably within the next two years. Researchers found that a single vaccination could prevent breast tumors from occurring in mice genetically bred to develop breast cancer, while also inhibiting the growth of already existing breast tumors. The research was originally published in Nature Medicine in 2010.
“It works in animals,” says Tuohy. “It’s safe and very effective. We’d like to see women live longer without tumors, not women live longer with tumors.”
Tuohy sees the vaccine as particularly effective in breast cancers that are aggressive and tend to recur. “Triple-negative breast cancer has a higher recurrence rate than other forms of breast cancer and is insensitive to current forms of adjuvant therapy,” he says. “It’s the predominant form of breast cancer that occurs, for example, in women with BRCA1 mutations. “
Tuohy sees potential in eventually immunizing against prostrate and ovarian cancers as well. 

Source: Vincent Tuohy
Writer: Karin Connelly

Innovation Summit will draw more than 1,000 to Cleveland

The Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit will be the first event held at Cleveland’s brand new Global Center for Health Innovation. The event will be held October 14 through 16, and organizers expect it to draw more than 1,200 people.
"We’ll have CEOs from major companies, investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,” says Gary Fingerhut, acting executive director and general manager of information technology commercialization at the Clinic. “Deals come out of this summit. Past innovation deals have been made on the buy-side and in research.”
More than 1,000 jobs and $700 million in investments have been created from the regional spinoff companies.
On the first day, 12 startup healthcare companies will have a chance to pitch their companies to a panel of executives. “The winner gets a year engagement with StartUp Health Academy."

The theme this year is "Finding Balance through Innovation: Obesity, Diabetes and the Metabolic Crisis." Fingerhut says the topic was chosen because of the growing international concern about diabetes. "Clearly, it's an economic problem in the world," he says. Demonstration and panel discussions will focus on the impacts of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Mike Roizen and a panel of experts will discuss the Clinic's top 10 medical innovations for 2014. hiVelocity readers can receive a discount to the summit. Go to the registration page and use promo code FRE2013 for a special $500 rate on registration.

Source: Gary Fingerhut
Writer: Karin Connelly

Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies set to expand telemedicine for Parkinson's treatment

For the last several years, Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies (GLNT) has been using telemedicine technology to study Parkinson's disease. The Cleveland-based provider of patient-centered diagnostic and therapy systems is planning to expand its approach by adding real-time video conferencing to its existing Kinesia HomeView™ innovation.
The technology is currently under development at GLNT with clinical validation studies planned for this fall. Adding video conferencing to currently available remote monitoring of Parkinson's patients will keep patients engaged in treatment, says Dr. Dustin Heldman, biomed research manager at GLNT.
"Patients will be more likely to take medications when they're supposed to, and (through the system) will be assessed more regularly," says Heldman.  Through the video feed, patients living far from treatment centers won't have to make potentially pricey trips for medication adjustments and other routine maintenance, notes the technology group research manager.
The current Kinesia system includes motion sensors patients wear and a broadband integrated tablet which users employ to follow video instructions and complete motor assessments. Telemedicine is a growing healthcare market trend designed to improve patient care and accessibility. Applications include live video conferencing, remote monitoring and store and forward technologies.   
This type of technology is especially useful for monitoring Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative movement disorder that can afflict its sufferers with a variety tremors, slowed movements and gait abnormities. These symptoms can change daily in type and severity, making a patient's condition difficult to determine during a short office visit. Creating a visualization tool for such a complex disease will only help in its treatment, Heldman says.

Source: Dr. Dustin Heldman
Writer: Douglas J. Guth

As CLE-based Acendex looks to fill senior tech positions, it trains entry-level staffers

Since 1988, Beachwood-based Acendex has been the go-to IT consulting company for businesses looking for information and communications systems. “We’re like the IT department for companies too small to afford the talent and too large to not have high-end support for their systems,” says Jonathan Husni, founder and president of Acendex.
The Acendex philosophy is to let their clients focus on what they do, while Husni and his team build the right voice and data networks to help them do those jobs.
With the local economy improving, business has picked up. To cover the increased business, Acendex is looking to add three or four senior network engineers to its 14-person team. But Husni is having trouble finding talented people to keep up with client demands.
“Just finding folks who have the skill set I’m looking for is very, very difficult,” he says. “The guys who have been with me who are successful have been with me 10 to 15 years.” Like many IT companies, Husni finds that applicants have the training, but they don’t have the hands-on experience. “A lot of people have the credentials, but they don’t have the experience to back it up,” he says.
So in the meantime, Husni came up with a solution. He hires entry-level people and puts them in the field with clients who want someone on-site 40 hours a week. They have the knowledge for basic support and at the same time have the backup of senior level staff if there’s a more advanced problem.
“They get the opportunity to get real world experience, but when they get stuck they can call our senior engineers.” Husni says. “It’s a sort of proving ground. It works for the client because they get 40 hours of help at a low cost. It works for me because they get the training they need.”
Source: Jonathan Husni
Writer: Karin Connelly

Downtown Cleveland Alliance hosts first all-Ohio BID conference

As millenials, empty nesters and other demographic groups flock to downtowns across Ohio, business improvement districts -- or BIDs -- are playing an important role in ensuring that these areas are clean and safe and that residents, office workers and property owners have the amenities they need to thrive.

A business improvement district is a defined area within which property owners pay an additional tax to fund projects and services that enhance the area. Downtown Cleveland has a BID, and the organization provides basic "clean and safe" services, organizes events and markets downtown to prospective residents, visitors and businesses.

This week, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, which manages the downtown BID, organized the first all-Ohio BID conference, bringing together BID leaders from across the state to network and learn about issues they share in common.

"It came from the idea that there's not a unifying organization or conference for BIDs," says Anna Beyerle with DCA. "We can learn a lot from other BIDs across Ohio. The idea was to get in the same room and throw out ideas and best practices."

Topics included food truck legislation, downtown transportation, farmers markets, placemaking, and office and retail recruitment strategies.

Participants also enjoyed several tours of downtown Cleveland and the surrounding area and had a chance to learn from Cleveland's redevelopment.

Beyerle says the conference will help BIDs, such as the one in downtown Cleveland, to become more effective. "We're up for renewal in a couple years, and we're looking at how we can improve."

Source: Anna Beyerle
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Insivia broadens its services, expands its staff

When Andy Halko founded Insivia right out of college in 2002, he was more of a freelancer, picking up projects piece by piece. Today, the company is a full-service marketing firm working out of the Agora in Midtown.
“We’ve really evolved into a strategic marketing firm for our clients,” says Rick Scheeser, Insivia's director of operations. “Nowadays we’re their entire marketing department. We have a more strategic partnership with our clients, and we have a lot more control over what we do.”
Over the past year Insivia has developed its client base, grown into a 16-person company, and is looking to add a back-end developer and an account executive.
“Before we had lots of one-off projects,” says Scheeser. “Now our clients are more our partners; we’re working with them on a long-term basis.”
Scheeser says Insivia has developed a niche market in the manufacturing industry. “It really helps us understand how we can use technology in their businesses and communicate with their clients,” he says regarding developing an expertise in the market. “I don’t think you could be in Cleveland without helping manufacturing companies.”
Another niche evolves around small tech startups. But Scheeser says no matter what the industry, Insivia gets to know the inner workings of the client. "It’s all about learning about our clients,” he says. “We focus on long-term objectives from a marketing perspective. It allows us to really own the results, instead of just one small piece.”

Source: Rick Scheeser
Writer: Karin Connelly

Ohio universities clock in on prestigious college rankings list

In the 2013 edition of its annual National Universities Rankings, Washington Monthly awarded the number four spot to Case Western Reserve University. In fact, with an overall school of 93, Case shares the number three spot with Texas A&M. The Ohio State University earned a respectable ranking of number 28 with an overall score of 70.

The ratings are unique in that they rank schools not on various academic statistics but rather on their contribution to the public good. Specifically, they look at three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Cleveland developer lures entrepreneurs into historic 5th Street Arcades

The historic Colonial and Euclid Arcades in downtown Cleveland suffered from 40 percent vacancy last year, yet this year they added a slew of new shops and have gone from half-empty to nearly completely full.

Renamed the 5th Street Arcades, the once-moribund properties have been turned around by Dick Pace of Cumberland Development, who has breathed new life into the spaces by luring entrepreneurial tenants with fresh concepts and excitement about downtown.

"Step by step, we're getting there," says Pace, who has focused on locally themed retail that serves downtown residents and office workers. "Each month, there's something new going on. Our tenants cross-market and help each other."

Last year, a retail grant competition netted Soulcraft Furniture Gallery, which opened earlier this year, and Pour Cleveland, which will open by November 1st.

Several of the businesses in the 5th Street Arcades will soon add outdoor seating, including Pour, Sushi 86 and a yet unnamed food tenant that Pace is working with.

Additional businesses that will open this fall include Herron Starr Apparel (a shoe store), The Tea Lab (a tea shop run by Bob Holcepl of City Roast), The Olive and the Grape, and a take-out vendor called C'mon Let's Eat (CLE).

Finally, Sushi 86 is expanding to create space for banquets and cooking classes, and Alphonso's, a men's and women's accessories shop, will open later this year.

"Tenants are drawn here because this is becoming known as a retail area, an area for shopping," Pace says. "That says a lot about downtown and what's happening."

Source: Dick Pace
Writer: Lee Chilcote

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

Bad Girl Ventures is named Outstanding Non-Profit, is Ohio's first Kiva Zip trustee

The SCORE Foundation recently honored Bad Girl Ventures as an Outstanding Non-Profit Organization for its work with entrepreneurs in starting their businesses. BGV works with SCORE mentors in its business education classes.
“BGV has been using SCORE mentors and services since 2010,” says Reka Barabas, director of BGV Cleveland. “We tap into their expertise and we match up our finalists with SCORE mentors.”
Additionally, BGV is now a Kiva Zip trustee, meaning it can recommend businesses for zero-interest loans for up to $10,000 through that organization. “Bad Girl Ventures is the first Kiva Zip trustee in Ohio,” says Barabas. “We have a two-pronged approach to helping female-owned businesses. We provide education, and if they have a strong business plan and are ready to go, they have access to capital. Having these partnerships really helps our mission.”
Two BGV Cleveland graduates already have been identified as candidates for the Kiva Zip loan. Anne Hartnett received a $5,000 BGV loan in 2012 for Harness Cycle, which is opening this fall in Ohio City. Paula Hershman, owner of Storehouse Tea Company, is one of the first Cleveland graduates of the BGV program and will use the Kiva Zip loan to expand her business. One more graduate will be endorsed this year.
BGV business education courses also offer the opportunity to receive a $25,000 low-interest loan. The application deadline for the fall session is September 1.

Source: Reka Barabas
Writer: Karin Connelly

Enterprise Community to offer $35k in innovation grants in Cleveland

Enterprise Community Partners is hosting its second annual Leadership in Community Innovation Awards, providing the winner with a $25,000 unrestricted grant for non-profit organizations that are creating community development solutions in Cleveland.
Last year’s winner was the Ohio City Market District, which attracted 30 new businesses to the neighborhood through its grant program, creating 300 jobs.
This year, in addition to the Community Innovation Award, Enterprise is introducing the Nurture an Idea Award, which recognizes a group with an innovative idea. The winner will receive $10,000 and a team of advisors that will help bring the idea to fruition.
“The Nurture an Idea Award is about the future,” says Kathy Matthews, an Enterprise program director. “It’s an award for an idea that hasn’t been implemented yet and needs the wind at its back to move it forward.”
In addition to the $10,000 awarded to the winner, a few finalists will be selected to participate in a Crowdrise fundraising campaign. Ohio Savings Bank will award $10,000 to the organization that raises the most money.
The application deadline is September 6.

Sources: Kathy Matthews
Writer: Karin Connelly

Interactive comic proves effective tool for kids with autism

What has been a lifelong love of comics and video games for Tamar Medina has turned into an interesting business. Medina and his co-founders developed J-Lynn Entertainment in 2011. The Cleveland-based company makes video game comics -- interactive comics in which the reader controls the outcome.
In July, Medina began test marketing the video game comics at conventions. “The feedback we got at the comic conventions was great,” says Medina.
But at the conventions, Medina also got an unexpected reaction. Parents and teachers approached him to say his video game comics would be a helpful tool for children with autism. After some research into autism, Medina and his team discovered their games were perfect for cognitive training, collecting performance data, and research in autism spectrum disorders.
“Kids with autism have trouble reading and comprehending certain words,” Medina explains. “But reading a comic and seeing what’s going on with pictures, the kids really adhere to technology.” Because the comics are interactive, they also help autistic children develop their social and decision-making skills.
Medina went to top experts for help in developing a line of games specific to kids with autism. “At the end of the game, we put statistics on the social choices they made,” says Medina of one feature he’s incorporated. “We wanted to have it be fun and be interactive.”
J-Lynn Entertainment is still developing its regular line of video game comics and is talking to investors. The company has five employees. Medina says they are hoping to bring on a full-time programmer, and envisions J-Lynn will employ 25 to 50 people within the next five years.
“The passion is awesome and we think our product will be great, not only in improving the autism condition, but also identifying it,” says Medina. “I believe we have the ability and skills for growth. J-Lynn is currently polishing its prototype and hopes to release it this fall for android.

Source: Tamar Medina
Writer: Karin Connelly

Lakewood's Ideation Challenge will award access to key resources

Lakewood is looking for a few entrepreneurs to join its business community through its third annual Ideation Challenge. Interested parties submitted business plans for consideration through last week.

"If people qualify we invite them to give a quick elevator pitch,” says Mike Belsito, director of Ideation for Startup Lakewood and co-founder of e-Funeral.

Four finalists will give a two-minute elevator pitch in front of an audience and a panel of judges at a Startup U event on August 27. Two winners will be announced at the September Startup U event.
The theme of this year’s challenge is “access,” as in access to resources often out of reach to new entrepreneurs. The winners of the challenge will receive a lunch meeting with Lakewood mayor and entrepreneur Michael Summers; a half hour meeting with investor Christopher Celeste; an elevator pitch session with Belsito, SociaGram co-founder Ryan O’Donnell and DecisionDesk co-founder John Knific; a scholarship to a nine-week Bad Girl Ventures course; and other useful tools to get their businesses started.
While only one of the winners must be a Lakewood resident, the hope is that both winning businesses will set up shop in the city. “We hope that some of these businesses get started in Lakewood, but it’s all about helping people,” says Belsito. “The goal of the competition is to help people take the next step with their ideas for new products or businesses.”

Source: Mike Belsito
Writer: Karin Connelly

Biomotiv announces $46m raised in effort to speed medicines to market

BioMotiv, a pharmaceutical accelerator formed last year to speed early-stage medical developments to market, announced last week that the company has now raised $46 million in total capital, adding Nationwide Mutual Insurance and several individual investors to original investors University Hospitals and the Harrington Family Foundation.

Additionally, BioMotiv announced Monday that the company has formed a multi-million dollar, seven-year partnership with San Diego-based Torrey Pines Investment, a specialty life sciences investor. “We have now raised $46 million in total funding,” says BioMotiv CEO Baiju Shah. “This further investment partnership will expand capital available for projects by up to $20 million through co-investment by Torrey Pines.”
Shah says BioMotiv has just started to identify and develop projects of interest. The partnership with Torrey Pines expands the scope of BioMotiv’s work. “We’re pleased with the prospective partnership,” says Shah. “It’s been in the works for about nine months now. In the partnership we will jointly invest in projects -- one in the cancer area and two projects in neuroscience.”
Shah says BioMotiv is also working on developments on several other fronts, including anti-inflammatory and blindness. “Our mission is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries in medications that actually benefit patients,” says Shah. “These are medications that are in the early stages of clinical validation -- phase one or two patient studies. Once we prove it works in patients, then we’re in a place to partner with agencies to get it to market.”
Cleveland is the hot spot for companies like BioMotiv, Shah says, making it attractive to companies like Torrey Pines. “Cleveland is an incredible medical innovation environment,” he says. “We are on the global radar for medical innovations, so it’s easy for us to find partners. In many ways, healthcare is our defining industry as a community.”
BioMotiv currently has eight employees, but Shah says they will be adding staff as the company continues to grow.

Source: Baiju Shah
Writer: Karin Connelly
281 Cleveland Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page