Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio, the region’s most active pre-seed fund for technology-based startups, has awarded a combined $165,000 to five young companies. Since its 2007 launch, the Innovation Fund has committed $12.3 million to 190 Northeast Ohio startups. Those startups have raised more than $354 million and created 775 new jobs since receiving Innovation Fund investments.
“This funding cycle showcases the diversity among our region’s technology startup leaders and the important economic potential that all young companies hold,” said Dennis Cocco, director of the Innovation Fund and co-director of GLIDE, the Lorain County Community College technology incubator that administers the fund. “We are fortunate to be working within a focused and inclusive entrepreneurial support ecosystem that prepares entrepreneurs for Innovation Fund money, and then helps us propel them to the next phase of growth.”
The following five companies received funding in the 41st cycle, chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process:
CORE Nutrition ($65,000 |Chagrin Falls) is a SaaS that offers a unique endurance sports nutrition planning capability. CORE is designed for the rapidly growing, global endurance sports space, including running, triathlons, cycling and many other sports. It provides athletes with training and event specific nutrition plans that are personalized for the athlete’s physiology, training plan, fuel preferences, and more, while encouraging continued improvement by analyzing results and providing feedback. The founding team of CORE includes a world leader in the field of exercise metabolism and nutrition who also works with elite athletes in all sports. fuelthecore.com
Augment Therapy ($25,000 | Chagrin Falls) is a telemedicine solution for pediatric physical therapy that includes automated data collection for therapists while engaging pediatric patients through augmented-reality based exercise. The software can be used in both the clinical and home setting to support and augment the performance of therapeutic pediatric exercise. Children interact with digital content layered over their image on the screen, while collected data is forwarded to their physical therapist. Augment Therapy has recently completed their proof of concept and will use the funding to secure intellectual property and further develop the pilot version of the software. augmenttherapy.com
CelerDx ($25,000 | Twinsburg) is developing a rapid test platform to detect bacterial infection and antibiotic sensitivity. For patients with infectious diseases, quickly and accurately identifying the microbial cause is fundamental to quality care. But time-consuming, decades-old diagnostic technologies mean many patients receive broad-spectrum antibiotic therapies rather than an appropriate therapy based on the identified infectious agent. The result is often prolonged hospital stays, increased resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics, unnecessary deaths, and massive additional healthcare system costs. CelerDx’s patented technology helps identify the bacterial species responsible for the infections and determine the antibiotic resistance profile of the pathogenic microbes. The company is using the funding to complete its regulatory strategy, FDA pre-submission process, publication strategy, and preliminary health economic benefit modeling.
Echo Investing ($25,000 | Akron) is a financial technology company that empowers people to make the best investment decisions possible. The platform, which allows users to trade shares of publicly-traded securities commission-free, is geared toward the 90 million technology-minded millennials who control more than $2 trillion in U.S. wealth—a number that’s expected to grow to $7 trillion by 2020. Echo Investing’s minimum viable product is complete, with all major functionalities, including the company’s keystone real-time portfolio synchronization. Echo Investing is using the Innovation Fund award to build out social networking, flexible trading, and advanced echoing functions. echo.investments
TidyCup ($25,000 | Cleveland Heights) is a disposable, one-time use product that assists female patients in collecting a mid-stream urine sample in a neat and sanitary manner. The inventors of this next-level product for the medical laboratory diagnostics industry combined their expertise and experience in the medical and manufacturing fields to develop and obtain a patent for the TidyCup, which they anticipate becoming standard practice for women patients collecting urine samples. The team will use the Innovation Fund award to begin a pilot study.
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, Youngstown State University, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and Northeast Ohio Medical University.