A wound healing business from Fairlawn, an Akron-based drone designer and manufacturer, and a Cleveland startup using the power of collective intelligence in a chat app are among the six technology companies to receive funding from the Innovation Fund. The awards, totaling $375,000, should help these fledgling companies validate their new technologies and prove their business models.
In its eight-year run of awarding a few hundred thousand dollars every quarter, the Innovation Fund has made 166 funding awards totaling $9 million to 137 regional startups. Those metrics make the Innovation Fund the most active and consistent pre-seed seed fund in Northeast Ohio and its leaders have no intention of slowing down.
“The Innovation Fund has been around for a while now and we’ve seen a growth in great new business ideas and a maturity in the entrepreneurs bringing those ideas to us,” said Dennis Cocco, co-director of the Innovation Fund and GLIDE, the incubator that administers the fund.
“Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs rely on the Innovation Fund as the go-to source for their first external financing. Our financial and mentoring support, combined with the many resources that make our region an exciting and supportive place for startups, will help these companies benefit our economy for decades into the future,” Cocco said.
The startups receiving funding awards this cycle are:
BioMendics ($25,000 | Fairlawn)
BioMendics is a wound healing technology company using liquid crystalline biomimetics for the treatment of chronic wounds. This proprietary platform technology creates a partially ordered film across the surface of the skin while mimicking growth factors to target all phases of the wound healing process. The technology accelerates wound closure while providing a safe, cost effective & easy to use consumer product. Funds provided by the Innovation Fund will be used for additional patent protection, chemical synthesis, and experiments toward FDA approval.
Event38 ($25,000 | Akron)
Formed in 2011, Event 38 designs and manufactures drones (unmanned aerial systems), specialized optical sensors, and a precision analytics data platform for small and medium sized businesses. The company has customers in 49 countries using its products for agriculture, surveying, construction, environmental preservation, and other applications. The funding will be used to assist in the development of a cloud based drone data management program.
OcuFreeze($25,000 | Uniontown)
OcuFreeze is targeting the commercial refrigeration market (grocery stores, restaurants, hotels), introducing new technologies that will allow refrigeration users to reduce their energy consumption and environmental footprint. With the Innovation Fund award, OcuFreeze will be able to expedite research, testing, and prototyping efforts for its patent-pending technology.
SplashLink ($100,000 | Beachwood)
SplashLink is the first online marketplace to support an entire range of project, financing, and sourcing needs for the highly fragmented and increasingly stressed global water industry. Whether dealing with industrial process water, municipal infrastructure or drought adaptation, SplashLink enables water-solution buyers and sellers quick and easy “one-stop shop” access to funding, collaboration, and bidding opportunities. SplashLink accelerates response to local and global water challenges by connecting industry players like never before.
<remesh ($100,000 | Cleveland)
<remesh enables a group of people to converse as if they were a single person. By harnessing the power of collective intelligence, the chat app allows groups to speak with one voice; a voice which accurately represents the thoughts of a community, organization, country or planet. From allowing a politician to interact with constituents to enabling a company to talk with customers, <remesh has many applications that will fundamentally change the way groups interact.
SpiroSano ($100,000 | Shaker Heights)
SpiroSano is a patent pending technology platform focused on radically changing the way healthcare is delivered for patients with chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma and COPD, while significantly reducing the associated costs. As a clear differentiator, SpiroSano is the only doctor driven, patient focused, device agnostic and disease specific solution available today in the respiratory space.
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, 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.