Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio, the region’s most active pre-seed fund for technology-based startups, has awarded a combined $375,000 to six young companies. The startups will match the Innovation Fund awards, between $25,000 and $100,000, with non-state funding, enabling them to complete $50,000 to $200,000 projects that will advance their technologies or business models.
This round represents one of the largest funding amounts the Innovation Fund has awarded in more than 10 years. Dennis Cocco, director of the Innovation Fund and co-director of GLIDE, the technology incubator at Lorain County Community College that administers the fund, says that milestone is a direct indicator that Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurial network continues to be robust.
“The Innovation Fund’s standards for funding are higher today than they were when we started a decade ago,” he said. “The fact that today’s startups are keeping pace with that change speaks to the successful evolution of our network of support organizations. Together these organizations continue to identify the highest potential technology startups, provide critical mentorship to the entrepreneurs, and guide them along the appropriate path toward funding.”
Since its 2007 launch, the Innovation Fund has committed over $13 million to 209 Northeast Ohio startups. Those startups have raised more than $400 million and created over 825 new jobs since receiving Innovation Fund investments.
The companies below received funding in the 45th funding round, chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process:
CollaMedix ($25,000 |Shaker Heights) is developing collagen-based medical devices. The patented technology, licensed from Case Western Reserve University, allows a novel method of fabricating pure-collagen threads and biofabric called CollaFabric™ that can be used to create mesh and other medical devices.
DeepHire ($25,000 | Akron) is creating thoughtful software for recruiters to drive better placements, faster. The company’s video screening product is focused on helping recruiters drive decisions from clients faster, resulting in more accurate placements, higher client satisfaction, and increased revenue. Deephire.com
T-Var Ed Tech ($25,000 | Cleveland) designs and sells physical devices that help children of all abilities learn to read. Developed at the Harvard Innovation Lab with engineers from MIT, The Read Read allows kids to independently learn and practice phonics, receiving the same audio feedback they would get if a teacher were sitting beside them. Thereadread.com
Bioflight VR ($100,000 | Akron) developing immersive education, training and simulation solutions for the medical industry using extended reality (XR) technologies. After a successful VR pediatric trauma training pilot, the company is now working to launch a commercial training product with Akron Children’s Hospital. bioflightvr.com
PROJiTECH ($100,000 |Elyria) has developed OnStation, a mobile app that increases productivity and job quality by providing all workers access to project files and site positioning through their smart phones. The project-specific mobile app uses the latest mobile technology to allow transportation project personnel the ability to reference their project files like never before. onstationapp.com
NVeyetech ($100,000 |Willowick) is creating a night vision system for motorcycles and other vehicles. The company just completed 3D printed prototypes, demonstrated the functionality and is now building its minimum viable products (MVPs) in time for the spring 2019. NVeyetech.com
For more information on these and all the Innovation Fund portfolio companies, visit innovationfundamerica.org/portfolio
About the Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund, founded by the Lorain County Community College Foundation, is Northeast Ohio’s most active and successful early-stage fund. It awards technology-based startups up to $100,000 so they can validate their technologies and business concepts. The Innovation Fund averages six funding awards each quarter and fills the capital needs of businesses at the earliest stage of development, before they can attract angel and venture capital funding. Innovation Fund awards are made with funds from the Ohio Third Frontier, which have been combined with matching support and contributions from the Innovation Fund partners. These partners include the University of Akron, the University of Akron Research Foundation, Braintree, Cleveland State University, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), the Lorain County Community College Foundation, Stark State College, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and Northeast Ohio Medical University.