Seven local technology startups have won a combined $250,000 from Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio. One company won the $100,000 award, which is matched dollar for dollar enabling companies to complete $200,000 projects that should further their businesses. And six startups received $25,000 grants to help validate their technologies.
| $100,000 award winner
Drive My Way (Chagrin Falls) is a unique, online, personalized recruiting service that matches CDL truck drivers with available jobs based on their qualifications and personal preferences. The site’s Match My Way technology sets it apart by letting both driver and employer know how well they match to each job posting before entering the hiring process. The company will use the funding award to fuel its sales and marketing efforts and continue to improve the technology.
| $25,000 award winners
Bodies Done Right (Mayfield Village) is the developer of innovative virtual training software to improve corporate wellness. The company’s BDR© VE (“Virtual Exercise”) Trainer is a patented software application that functions in real-time and can be connected to an off-the-shelf heart rate monitor. With the funding, the company will start work on audio clues that will help the avatar educate participant as they go through the workout and additional motion capture to increase the exercise library.
Enyx Studios (Youngstown) is shaping the future of interactive storytelling. The company is a video game development studio focused on creating interactive experiences for gamers using technologies such as virtual reality. The Innovation Fund award will allow the company to acquire additional hardware and software that will speed up its development time while maintaining quality. It will also enable Enyx Studios to produce a high quality trailer to promote its game.
Hot End Works (Elyria) is an additive manufacturing company developing an advanced materials 3D printing system, the HDfab 3D printer, which is capable of printing materials such as technical ceramics and carbides. The company uses a proprietary, highly advanced thin film processing technique that produces parts comparable to traditionally-manufactured advanced materials, at a speed of four times faster than current additive technology. Hot End Works will use the funding to expedite system testing, further develop novel printer operating software, and continue customer development.
JuggerBot 3D (Youngstown) is a technology development firm introducing a line of engineering-grade 3D printers that are easy-to-use and versatile. The company plans to use its funding to build machines that it will deploy on case studies during beta testing. Its case sites include a fortune 200 tier-one automotive supplier and a renowned plastics engineering university.
MicroFantasy (Brecksville) is a free app that redefines sports spectating by letting fans compete against each other for prizes by predicting plays real-time. Stadiums, arenas, schools, and sports bars that offer the game can use Micro Fantasy to earn more revenue through better fan engagement, advertising, and attendance. The grant will be used to develop automated result updates in minor league and collegiate summer league baseball stadiums. It will also be used to market Micro Fantasy to high schools and colleges nationwide.
Plan My Fuel (Chagrin Falls) is a software-as-a-service business that offers a Nutrition Planning Application to help athletes maximize performance through evidence-based nutrition plans for training and events. The grant will help get the company’s product ready for launch by adding a more comprehensive dashboard, reflowing the user input screens, and extending the product database.
About the Innovation Fund
Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio, 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, Cleveland State University, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), the Lorain County Community College Foundation, Stark State College, Youngstown State University, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and Northeast Ohio Medical University.