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fayvel makes personalized kids' shoes into a trading game

Growing up, Erin Slater was a sticker fanatic “I have fond memories of trading stickers with my neighbor and friend,” she recalls. Little did she know, that childhood passion would turn into a business model as an adult.
Earlier this month Slater launched Fayvel, a line of colorful children’s shoes made with a blank canvas. The kids can then attach Frieze Tags –embroidered patches with industrial Velcro backings in a variety of themes. The Frieze Tags can easily be attached to and removed from the shoes and traded with friends. The tags are available in themes, from fairies and superheroes to sports and outer space.
“Kids personalize the shoes and it encourages creativity,” says Slater, who has a background in product management and two daughters, aged five and seven. “It’s injecting personality into their shoes.”
Slater came up with the idea eight years ago. She spent countless hours researching her idea through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at the Cleveland Public Library. “I spent a lot of time on the seventh floor of the library downtown,” she says. “The librarians are trained and use the same databases as the USPTO to research my idea.”
Slater then leased co-working space at LaunchHouse before recently moving to an office in Beachwood. “I wanted to work in shared space,” she says. “They have great internet and white board space, and Dar Caldwell had great advice.”

Slater chose the name “Fayvel,” which means "bright one" in Yiddish because the term resonated with the brand's concept of empowering kids to personalize their shoes and harness their imaginations for creativity. 
While the shoes are currently available through the Fayvel site, Slater has talked to major retailers about carrying the brand. The shoes are available in sizes 10 through two and will be available in kids’ sizes three and four in May. The Frieze Tags come in sets out four around 10 different themes, with more on the way.

organizations come together to encourage girls to consider tech careers

In grade school, girls are often considered uninterested in math and science, and therefore not encouraged. But leaders at OneCommunityCase Western Reserve University and BlueBridge Networks see the potential for young women to thrive in a techie environment.

On Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14, the three organizations will come together to host the inaugural Innovation Olympiad on CWRU’s campus. The event invites girls age 13 to 18 to explore STEM subjects and the Internet of Things (IoT) in an innovation challenge. It is designed to inspire creativity, innovation and collaboration. The girls will break into teams to brainstorm their ideas and compete for prizes. Organizers are expecting 80 to 100 participants.
“We come to work at OneCommunity thinking about the possibilities in connectivity,” says Jane Passantino, chief marketing officer for OneCommunity. “The ideas are limitless when you think about inspiration, greatness and thought. I hesitate to guess what they will come up with.”
The idea for the Innovation Olympiad came after OneCommunity CEO Lev Gonick heard about Cisco’s IoT World Forum Young Women’s Innovation Grand Challenge. He wanted to something similar on a local level to encourage girls to consider tech careers.
BlueBridge managing director Kevin Goodman and client services director Nicole Ponstingle, who both also serve on the Northeast Ohio Rite Board (Regional Information Technology Engagement Board), got involved with the Innovation Olympiad because of their dedication to making sure the region has plenty of incoming IT talent.
“Our concept is to encourage young leaders in general,” says Goodman. “In this case specifically, it’s encouraging young girls in innovative entrepreneurial leadership.” Ponstingle adds, “As a woman in technology, when I heard about this it obviously excited me. We really have to push the technology option as a viable career path for women.”
Lisa Camp, associate dean of strategic initiatives at Case School of Engineering, sees the Olympiad as a great way to fuel the pipeline of skilled talent in Northeast Ohio. “One of the reasons Case Western is excited to be involved is we’re seeing the next generation coming up with wonderful, creative ideas,” she says. “This is an opportunity to inspire young women to think about STEM, think about Internet of Things. When given the opportunity, young woman want to participate.”

Goodman agrees that the Olympiad is a good way to foster tomorrow’s leaders in the region. “We are looking forward to the magic and art of innovation occurring at the  Case Campus -watching the ideas the participants will come up with,” he says. “The wave of the future as well as in the now, the IoT has  power and ability to change and improve the quality of life in some many ways. Areas such as education energy, exercise and fitness, transportation, home living, smart cities and many other areas are going to be positively affected. What an exciting time to be participating in this arena of technology.”
Organizers will provide opening remarks on Friday, while Saturday will involve breakout groups among the participants and a second break out session for parents. The teams will present their ideas in a “Shark Tank” like setting and prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000 will be awarded to the top four teams. The Olympiad is free and open to the public. Registration, however, is required by Sunday, March 1.

demore's sauces keep customers coming back for more

Marrion Demore has always loved improving on commercial bottled barbeque sauce. “I used to have really big family cookouts and I’d just doctor up some Open Pit to make it taste better,” Demore recalls. “People always said, ‘you should market this.’ I never gave it much thought until the economy went down hill. Then I knew I had to make it from scratch.”
Today, Demore calls himself the Rock and Roll Star of Sauce. In 2009 he began experimenting with homemade sauce, trying his various versions out on friends and family. Two years later, he had perfected his flavors and launched Demore’s Fusion Sauce in 2011 “There were a lot of taste tests and a lot of money being blown on bad batches, he says of his two-year journey. “It was important to me that my sauce was all natural, with no preservatives.”
Demore makes and bottles four versions of his sauce – mild, medium, flaming and hickory smoke. He uses ghost peppers, ground into a powder, to add the heat to his flaming sauce and buys his bottles from Cleveland Bottle and Supply. In addition to being all-natural, all varieties are also low in sugar and sodium. “It’s more sauce with less calories,” he says.
Demore describes his company as a grass-roots effort. He recently launched an online store on through his Facebook site. Last November he began handing out free samples and selling his sauce on Saturdays at Zagara’s Marketplace in Cleveland Heights, where he sells 15 to 20 bottles a week.
“A tell-tale sign to me us when you have a taste-testing and people buy it,” Demore says. “I let people try it and tell them about it. It keeps me motivated and keeps me going when people walk away with a bottle. Ninety-five percent of people are going to enjoy one of my sauces when they try it.”

While Demore still makes his sauce in his home kitchen, he has gone to the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen (CCLK) for advice and guidance. “Cleveland is very supportive once you plug yourself in,” he says. “Even though this is not high-tech, the platform is here. It gives you more confidence with the product to know there are people you can call for mentoring and that kind of thing.”
Demore is always thinking of new flavors and ideas. He is currently testing coconut and pineapple sugars in sauces and he is working on dry rubs.

cardboard helicopter soaring to new heights with creative inventions

Like many children, Tim Hayes remembers playing with a cardboard box as a child and letting his imagination take him to new places. He built a helicopter with that box, not knowing that it would be his business inspiration years later.

“It was the first time I remember using my imagination as a child and I believed it was going to fly by the end of the day,” says Hayes, who today is founder and CEO of industrial design and product development company Cardboard Helicopter in Lakewood. “We kind of lose that blue sky mentality.”
But Hayes hasn’t stopped envisioning new ways to make things. A graduate of Cleveland Institute of Art, Hayes and his team of five dream up and create those useful gadgets you just can’t live without. They produce their own inventions as well as work on projects for other companies that come to them with an idea. “We do a lot of different things here,” says Hayes. “The main thing is we have a lot of fun and design a lot of things.”
In three years of existence, Cardboard Helicopter’s inventions have been sold in stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Depot and Target. The team’s own invention, the Splash Infuser, in November had a successful Kickstarter campaign. The Splash Infuser easily infuses water or cocktails with fresh fruit and herbs. The company just filled a large order for a French retailer and plan to sell it locally and to major retailers this spring.
Cardboard Helicopter also recently developed a self-sealing pour spout for oils, vinegars and other liquids for Jokari, a Texas-based home product retailer.
“We literally have hundreds and hundreds of ideas we’re working on,” says Hayes. “We’re trying to create multi-dimensional concepts and we have a great team here coming up with great ideas.” Hayes predicts they will have 30 to 40 licensing deals by the end of 2016 that could bring in 20 years of royalties.
Hayes wants to continue to support the Cleveland inventor community. “We want to help people who have an idea but not a lot of resources,” says Hayes. “We have services for innovators on a low budget.”
And, of course, the team at Cardboard Helicopter will continue to create products based on their own imaginations. “We want to reinvent the way you think of things,” says Hayes. “The real thing for us is to have that a-ha moment, draw it out, make a sketch, and it evolves from there.”

local entrepreneurs believe startmart could fuel cle's startup ecosystem

Charles Stack and Jennifer Neundorfer founded Flashstarts in 2012 with the mission of funding and coaching startups in Cleveland. Since then, Flashstarts has turned out more than a dozen successful companies through its rigorous 12-week summer accelerator programs – offering coaching, mentorship and other resources startups need to get off the ground.

Now Stack envisions a startup community that pools Cleveland’s many business incubators and accelerators into one space. StartMart is a plan for a mixed-use downtown space where various accelerators – like Flashstarts, LaunchHouse, SEA Change and Bizdom – could be housed, in addition to a co-working space; meeting space; short-term flexible lease space for startups; space for investors, attorneys and other advisors; and retail space.
“There’s a certain benefit from getting big amounts of diversity and density in one place" when it comes to nourishing startups, explains Stack. "The exchange of ideas circulate more frequently and rapidly – like a giant water cooler.”
The StartMart plan, much like the entrepreneurial hubs at Cincinnati’s Cintrifuge and Chicago’s 1871, brings players together to fuel ideas, support startups and house resources fledgling companies need in the early stages of development. Rather than limiting it to technology, healthcare or retail ideas, the space would throw all types of entrepreneurs together to fuel creativity and ingenuity.

While Stack has not yet signed a lease on space, he has garnered support in the startup and accelerator communities. LaunchHouse and Bizdom have stated their intentions to move at least part of their facilities into the common space.

“StartMart would have all sorts of synergies and energies,” says Ethan Cohen, head of the Cleveland Bizdom office. “It would be a more exciting environment in which to work, bounce ideas off each other. It would be a critical mass of entrepreneurs working together.”
Shannon Lyons, chief business development officer for LaunchHouse, said they were on board as soon as Stack approached them. “This is just what Cleveland needs, because it’s raising the visibility for all of our entrepreneurs,” she says. “Having this kind of epicenter, having a place that has visibility, there’s something very magical when the stars align. Watching the city evolve over the last 10 years, I’m like, 'yes, this is the next step for startups.'”
More established startups that have been through area accelerator programs have also committed to StartMart. Anthony Stedillie, co-founder of CompassMD, which pairs patients with the right doctors, established his company at LaunchHouse and sees StartMart as a great resource. “It’s the next logical half-step from the accelerator programs,” he says. “It’s designed to bring all the participants – investors, customers, startups and mentors – together to work in one place."

Stedillie says there’s no venue in Cleveland to fully flush out an idea. “Accelerators are great, but we’ve yet to bridge that startup idea with execution – getting someone in to test the idea, validate it,” he says. If StartMart comes to fruition, CompassMD would be one of the first tenants.
“I see this as a great place, even for existing startups that are further along,” says Stedillie. “We would be looking to move in there. The hardest thing we’ve found is connecting with the hospital systems here in Cleveland. We had to build those relationships organically.”
Ryan O’Donnell, who founded Sociagram in 2011 and, more recently, launched Sell Hack, also sees StartMart as the entrepreneurial ecosystem Cleveland needs. “You need to consider people who have already started and need support and people who would like to start a company and haven’t started yet,” he says. “That’s where I see StartMart having an impact. It’s experiential and teaching.”
John Knific, who five years ago founded DecisionDesk, a solution for reviewing and sorting college applications, didn’t go through an incubator when he was just starting out. While he did have the support of the North Coast Angel Fund, Knific says he would have benefited from the resources StartMart proposes.
“If I had been around the types of advisers they’ll have, I’d have structured a lot earlier,” Knific says. “Ecosystems that challenge people would have been great for us. It’s sometimes about not wasting time drilling into the business until you’ve validated your model and product market fit.”

gray's auctioneers offers unique art, furniture and more from cle showroom

When Deba Gray and Serena Harragin decided to open an auction house back in 2006, they pondered several different locations. They already had an office in upstate New York and a workshop in Florida. Gray had experience with all the major auction houses, including Sotheby’s and Christie’s, but they knew location was key.

“Part of our business plan was finding an ideal location,” recalls Harragin. “We hit upon Cleveland because the main auction house had closed back in 2000. We thought the market wasn’t being served here in an international caliber.”
So Gray and Harragin returned to Gray’s hometown and opened Gray’s Auctioneers and Appraisers. “We did a ninja visit, we didn’t even tell Deba’s family,” says Harragin. “Next thing we knew we found this building that was perfect for an auction house. It is one level, has garage doors that let in light and make it easy to bring pieces in and out, has 7,000 square feet of exhibition space, and it has a parking lot.”
Since then, Gray’s Auctioneers has steadily grown in both reputation and company size. “We started off with nothing and in the first six months we doubled,” says Harragin. “And we’ve tripled our growth every year since then. It grew from Deba and myself with one employee to seven employees and two part-time employees.”
By having multiple specialists on staff, Harragin says they are able to act quickly on some coveted items. In November, Gray’s sold Andy Warhol's “Moonwalk” at $120,000, which sold to a local buyer in the audience at Gray’s auction showrooms. Other pieces that have sold at their monthly auctions include Samia Halaby’s “Rainbow Spirals.”
“Every auction is exciting,” says Harragin. “There are so many amazing pieces that show up here.” The auctions range from modern and contemporary to post-war art. Gray’s will soon hold an auction of antique and scientific instruments. “These are pieces that have been lost to time but integral in medical history.”
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, Gray’s will hold an auction of fine art, furniture and decorative art that will include artists such as Emile Auguste Pinchart, Gaston Prunier, Edmond Hottenroth and Pablo Picasso, as well as a diverse collection of antique furniture, jewelry, tribal masks and wood-carved statues.
French artist Auguste Pinchart’s oil on canvas painting “Family Gathering by the Sea Shore,” which features four women of different generations, is a particular standout to Harragin in Wednesday’s auction. When Gray’s first opened, the owner came in for an appraisal. Now it has returned for auction. “It’s so great to see it, to welcome it back,” says Harragin.
Interested bidders can come to the auction in person, reserve a phone line or bid online. People must register to place bids online, and all online bids must be made 48 hours prior to the auction.

ecdi trainings help prepare entrepreneurs for success

The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) in Cleveland now offers several business training classes to get entrepreneurs off on the right foot when starting their businesses. The classes, which range from business information sessions to entrepreneurship readiness training, have already been quite successful in ECDI’s Columbus location.
ECDI provides microloans from $500 to $350,000 to startups trying to get off the ground, as well as technical assistance and training. Now the Cleveland office will offer four training classes that cover the critical components of success.
“Training is a necessary supplement to the lending process,” says ECDI’s training manager Lauren Smith. “We don’t want to drop a lump sum of money on our clients without providing them with the tools for using that money effectively. Our training will help start-ups be more responsible with the loan, more accomplished business owners, and a success story for everyone involved.”

ECDI started its Business Information sessions this week, and will offer them on a regular basis. The 45-minute session is an informational overview for prospective ECDI clients. “It’s the initial touch point for our training and education programs,” explains Smith. The next session will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 17th.

The Readiness and Feasibility course, offered on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at noon, has entrepreneurs evaluate the key points in starting a business. “We help them hash through their idea,” says Smith. “We help them determine if they have the characteristics to be in it for the long haul.” There is a $25 fee for ECDI members; non-members will be expected to fill out an application.

The Small Enterprise Education Development (SEED) training series provides four, three-hour sessions to more established entrepreneurs who are ready to move onto the next step in growing their ideas.

The SEED course focuses on four areas: business concept, organization, customer relations, and operations. The class uses an interactive tool called the GrowthWheel that helps entrepreneurs develop their business.  “It’s a user-friendly alternative to a business plan,” says Smith. The SEED program is a prerequisite for ECDI’s lending program. There is a $100 fee.

“We feel there is a definite need for training and counseling for more developed start-ups and existing businesses, and that will be a heavy focus of our ongoing training,” says Smith.

In April, ECDI will launch the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen’s (CCLK) Food Business Incubator program, an eight-week program that will be taught by local experts in the food industry. The program covers everything from developing a business plan to food regulations and labeling. The $300 fee includes an ECDI membership.

An application is required for the CCLK course. Contact Smith for more information or for an application.

new sustainability director sees a green future for cuyahoga county

As the first director of the newly-created Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability, Mike Foley has visions of Cuyahoga County being a leader in green practices.

“I absolutely believe Cuyahoga can be the greenest county in the state,” Foley says. “We are lucky to have a lot of smart people, good public officials and a solid base of residents and businesses who understand that reducing our carbon footprint is the only sane alternative in the face of climate change.  But I also don’t believe this is a county-by-county competition. Cuyahoga should become as green as possible because it’s the right thing to do." 

Last week, Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish launched the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability and announced Michael Foley as its first director and Shanelle Smith as its first deputy director.

According to a news release,the sustainability department will promote economic development activity that supports businesses that provide environmentally sustainable products and services; educate the public about environmentally sustainable practices; and collaborate with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies to develop programs incorporating environmentally sustainable methods into accepted practices.

Foley says his priority is to make environmentally-friendly practices understandable and accessible to all businesses and residents in the county. While he is still getting his feet wet in the new position, Foley has a background in environmentalism and energy efficiency issues as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.

“Climate change is important to the county, to the state, to the nation, to the world, and we need to address it,” Foley says. “I want to be a part of the minds to work on this stuff. I think that economic and social benefits come to those who adopt renewable and energy efficiency measures as soon as possible. Everybody, everywhere needs to be working towards the same greenhouse gas reduction goals in order to stave off real harm to the planet.”

Some of Foley’s early goals include investing in energy efficient technologies, solar power and collective buying power for groups. “You can’t do it one-off, you want to be a part of a group,” he explains. “We really want to make energy efficiency and green energy, such as solar power, more normal and not such a complicated concept.”

$2.5m contract to help further prosthetic research at cleveland clinic lerner research institute

A research team studying touch and movement in prosthetic limbs at the Cleveland Clinic was just awarded a $2.5 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a suite of outcome metrics for advanced prosthetic limbs. 
Through DARPA’s new Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) program, Dr. Paul Marasco and his team of researchers at the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute department of biomedical engineering will evaluate and identify and quantify the different technologies being used in prosthetic arms. “There’s no way to identify whether something works better or worse,” he says. “We’re trying to develop new ways to get a good sense of how these prosthetic limbs operate.”
Dr. Paul Marasco 
Today’s advanced prosthetics work with the nervous system to actually provide sensation in the artificial limb, Marasco explains. While the technology has seen significant advancements in recent years, there is no standardized set of metrics to evaluate these technologies. This lack of information makes it difficult to communicate benefits to patients and demonstrate improved outcomes to insurance payers.
“We are developing metrics based on how people’s brains respond,” says Marasco. "How they move, how much attention they’re paying, reaction times.”
Each of the three groups involved in the research, including the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Alberta and the University of New Brunswick, will focus on two metrics. Marasco will coordinate all of the groups. “We operate as one big team, spread across Alberta, New Brunswick and Cleveland,” he says. “We’re working hard to blur that line between what’s prosthesis and what’s machine. We’re developing prosthetics where what you feel matches what you see – providing the illusionary feel that the prosthetic arm is part of the body.”

who's hiring in cle: wheedle, triple analytics and more

Welcome to the latest installment of Fresh Water’s “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply.
John Weston knows how hard it is for bars and restaurants to draw customers. For the past seven years the entrepreneur and president of Prime Marketing and Management Group Weston has tried just about every gimmick to bring patrons to establishments like Barley HouseTown Hall and Harry Buffalo.
“It’s a pain in the butt to get people in,” says Weston. “The only network we had was social media, and that takes hours and hours of scrolling to find target customers. I thought, what if there’s a platform for restaurants that want to get the word out?”
So Weston and his partners, Brian Stein and Evan Cooper developed the Wheedle app. Wheedle, or the process of persuading someone to do something or give you something, allows users to enter details about the kind of evening they are looking for. Participating restaurants and bars can then respond with offers that match the request. The app is free for customers and establishments only pay if an offer is accepted.

“We want to have the Match.com functionality for the hospitality industry,” says Cooper. You have people marketing to you.”
Wheedle has been beta testing the app since its soft launch in October. After some tweaks and gathering feedback, the team is ready for a full regional launch this spring. In anticipation of the re-launch, the company is developing its internal development team.
Currently Wheedle needs a technology lead to oversee the outsourced development of its iOS and Android apps while the company prepares to bring development in-house over the next year. The ideal candidate will have Django/Python and mobile app development experience.  Contact Brian Stein for more information or to apply.
Triple Analytics
Triple Analytics, a digital health startup that uses data analytics to help care providers personalize the treatment of chronic conditions, is looking for a front end developer, a senior software engineer and a web designer.
The front end developer will work with the lead developer, product manager, and designer to wireframe, storyboard, and develop user experience
The senior software engineer will work with the team to define, design, implement and test big feature development; coordinate the development team to architect and build large distributed systems; and improve security and big data management while scaling our platform.
The web designer will manage and update Triple Analytics’ website layout and design slide decks and promotional material.
For detailed information about these jobs, click here. To apply for all three jobs, contact the hiring manager.
Quo is building an exciting new way to find an apartment. Our data driven personalized concierge service is in limited beta and seeking an energetic and thoughtful part time junior developer (front-end and back-end) with experience in PHP (ideally Laravel), MySQL, HTML, CSS, Javascript, API integration (Google Maps, Facebook, Foursquare). This position offers constant exposure to our founders and an opportunity to impact all facets of the business, an entrepreneurial mind is a huge plus. Send resumes to the hiring manager.

The Music Settlement
The Music Settlement needs a clinical music therapist to plan and conduct data-based music therapy services at community locations and at the settlement. The therapist will provide clinical music therapy services for children and youth with severe emotional and behavioral disturbances in a residential treatment setting. The music therapist is also involved in ongoing research projects at the residential treatment center. Attach cover letter and resume to application.
The Cleveland Foundation, Pervasive Path and more
The Cleveland Foundation
The Cleveland Foundation is looking for a gift planning officer to assist in the development and execution of strategic cultivation and fundraising activities that contribute to the growth of the endowment of the foundation. The officer interacts daily with external constituents with a primary focus on the cultivation of relationships with professional advisors and other wealth management professionals and their clients to establish new funds and planned gifts.  Send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to the hiring manager by February 13.
Pervasive Path Consulting
Pervasive Path Consulting helps clients make the most of mobile. Whether for customer engagement, or to drive internal process efficiency, Pervasive helps their clients figure out what they should do, how they should do it and then prepare the organization to be successful in their mobile initiatives. The company needs mobile application developers who have at least three years’ experience in developing web and mobile applications. Send resumes to the hiring manager.
BlueBridge Networks
BlueBridge Networks, a regional leader in data storage, with data center services, cloud computing and infrastructure solutions across its networks, has several technical positions open: a network administrator ; a systems engineer; and a data center sales engineer. To apply send resume and cover letter to the hiring manager.
Apex Construction & Management
Apex Construction and Management, a small general contractor, needs an estimator/project manager. Candidates must be able to read blueprints and take off quantities independently, be computer literate and self- motivated.  Experience of estimating software such as PlanSwift is a plus but not necessary. Candidates must be well organized, have strong knowledge of commercial construction especially interior renovation work. 
Applicants must also be able to serve as project manager during summers. Duties include scheduling, purchasing, coordination with subcontractors and suppliers, expediting submittals, document control, change order processing, attendance at jobsite and owner/architect meetings. Send resume and salary requirements to the hiring manager.
Quasar Energy Group
Quasar Energy Group needs a project development analyst to conduct research and analysis of new and existing project opportunities to support successful business development and project management activities of the broader project development team. To apply, contact human resources.
JumpStart Inc. is looking for a partner of entrepreneurial services, access to capital. The ideal candidate is an experienced investment expert who will provide subject matter expertise, assess client needs/priorities and deliver high impact services with an emphasis on helping companies gain access to follow-on capital. For more information and to apply, click here.

ceo-in-residence program brings top biomedical execs to cle to head startups

After growing up on Cleveland’s east side, Bill Fuller headed for North Carolina in 1990. He returned briefly in the 2000s, but he didn’t think he’d ever come back. But when BioEnterprise asked him in 2013 to become its newest CEO-in-Residence, he couldn’t resist the opportunity.

Through the program, Fuller was given a team of advisors, access to investors, a salary – albeit significantly less than what he was making with his 15 years as an executive in the medical device industry -- and 18 months to find a biomed company worth starting and nurturing.

Within 11 months, Fuller became CEO of Centerline Biomedical, a Cleveland-based Cleveland Clinic Innovations spinoff with a technology designed to reduce radiation exposure to patients and caregivers during endovascular procedures.                                                          
“The BioEnterprise CEO-in-Residence program brought me back to Cleveland,” says Fuller. “The program gave me the chance to start my own company with unique access to infrastructure, industry experts, and venture capital to aid in the success of the company.”
BioEnterprise created the program in 2008, hiring two to three CEOs-in-Residence each year. “The idea is we’ve got a really great pipeline of emerging technologies and very robust biomed technologies,” explains Aram Nerpoouni, CEO and president of BioEnterprise. “There are not a lot of experienced biomed CEOs, so who’s going to run the company in the early stages?”

Nerpouni says the CEOs-in-residence usually identify early stage companies with great ideas that need an experienced CEO to help get it off the ground and raise funding. Most of them are boomrerangers.

Fuller says BioEnterprise made the process of launching a company seamless. “They have connections to venture capital, grants and angel investors,” he says. “It’s a great catalyst for this region to have executives come in and set up.”

Al Hawkins, another Cleveland native who settled in Boston, joined the CEO-in-Residence program in January 2011 and formed three gene therapy companies during his time there: Milo Biotechnology, which develops therapies for muscular dystrophy; Abeona Therapeutics, which works on treatments for Sanfilipo Disease; and Deep Brain Innovations – all based on technology licensed from hospitals.

The CEO-in-Residence program was just what Hawkins was looking for to pursue his interests and start companies. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he says. “They paid me and gave me the infrastructure and support I needed to start some companies.” While he is still CEO of Milo and chairman of Abeona, Hawkins also serves as vice president of business development for BioMotiv.

Jon Snyder, founder, president and CEO of Neuros Medical, was BioEnterprise’s first entrepreneur-in-residence. With more than 25 years in sales, marketing and operations with companies like Steris and Houston-based Cyberonics, Snyder found his career was preparing him to launch his own company.

“I always took something on in a new area or new role just to build my skill set,” Snyder says. “In my career I was planning this vision around technology. In 2008 he returned to Cleveland from Chicago for the opportunity to explore starting a business in implantable neurostimulation.

“It was a challenging time to put a company together and fund it,” Snyder recalls. But we raised $2 million in 2009 and moved the company through the initial phase.” Today, Neuros medical has just begun its final study on its Altius nerve block technology for pain management in amputees. The next step is FDA approval.
The resources BioEnterprise provided were invaluable in developing a tech-based company during a recession when investors were pulling out of Cleveland biomed companies. “I definitely enjoyed my time as CEO-in-Residence,” Snyder says. “BioEnterprise helped vet ideas as they were coming together. And they provided office space, made introductions and help execute the license agreement.”

local medical device company founder recognized by forbes as one to watch

Eugene Malinskiy, founder of healthIT integrated solutions provider DragonID, didn’t even know a friend had nominated him for the 2015 Forbes.com 30 Under 30 in the manufacturing and industry category. And even though he was featured as one of the 30, Malinskiy just wants to focus on the work at hand.

“It’s nice to get recognized and nice to get the award, but we want to be left alone to do our work,” Malinskiy, 29, says. By work, he means a host of projects in everything from orthopedic and cardiac devices to pain treatments and wearable technology.
DragonID works on both their own ideas generated in-house and ideas brought to them from some of the area’s top people in healthcare. “We’ve done work with all the big boys in town – the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals,” Malinskiy boasts. “Physicians and others bring projects to us and say, ‘Hey, we have an idea for a product on a napkin, can you improve upon it?’ We follow down projects that we’ll hopefully be able to put into production.”
Most recently, DragonID developed a device that reduces the risk of stroke after aortic valve replacement surgery; this is the innovation that led to recognition by Forbes. The device is currently being tested. When it gets to production, Malinskiy plans to manufacture the product locally.
Founded out of LaunchHouse, DragonID now has offices in Cleveland Heights. Malinskiy credits his company’s success with the support he’s received from LaunchHouse, as well as from organizations like BioEnterprise, JumpStart and GLIDE.
Malinskiy credits DragonID’s success with the support that these organizations have provided, as well as having access to top physicians. “We sort of have our pick of the best projects,” he says, although he also prides himself on client confidentiality. “Of course it has to be related to medical, needs to pay and, obviously, needs to be interesting. As long as I know my team and I can do it, we’ll take it on.”

food buggies to start rolling through cle streets (and buildings)

The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), a nonprofit micro-lender, and the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen (CCLK), a pay-as-you-go commercial kitchen, are making mobile food options more accessible to downtown diners with their new food buggy program. If all goes well, the first two buggies will hit office buildings at the end of February.

ECDI purchased two food buggies – smaller, more affordable and portable versions of their larger food truck counterparts. “They’re very cool looking,” says Eric Diamond, ECDI executive vice president for lending. “They have a full working kitchen with a cooktop and plumbing. The idea is you can get into buildings and it’s a lot cheaper than a food cart.”  
The two buggies initially will carry standard lunch items made by CCLK kitchen staff, such as soup, salad and sandwiches. Organizers are identifying buildings and areas that employ about 600 people to locate the buggies. The first two buggies will test the operation – sales, price points and location. Eventually CCLK plans to have 15 to 20 buggies operating throughout the city.
The two buggies will at first only carry food prepared by CCLK users, and the staff there is busy prepping food in the kitchen this week. Diamond says they want operators to eventually add their own creations to the mix and perhaps have cuisine themes for each day of the work week.
The operators, who lease the buggies from CCLK, will pay a percentage of their profits to CCLK, which in turn takes care of licensing and business training. The CCLK will also help find locations and execute contracts with those locations.
The CCLK will sell buggies and help with financing for those entrepreneurs who want to peddle only their own creations. “We would hope they would use CCLK as a prep kitchen and promote what’s going on in the kitchen,” says Diamond, adding that the buggies will feature some of the products turned out by CCLK chefs.
The buggies are not competition for Cleveland’s thriving food truck scene, says Diamond. They will sell lunches on the budget end – about $8 – and stay away from most truck events like Walnut Wednesday.

“There’s a market for both,” Diamond says. He adds that the buggies, in addition to going inside, can easily be hauled to suburban little league games or other more remote events. They attach easily to the back of a car, like a U-Haul trailer. “It’s an affordable option for people who want to get in the business but don’t want to spend the money on a food truck.”

Diamond says the program should create 25 jobs, including the operators and prep staff. “For us, it’s all about creating jobs, creating access to the market,” he says. “It’s a good living for someone.”

edwins restaurant plans dormitory-style housing for homeless workers

In just over a year since opening, Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute has trained almost 50 formerly convicted criminals, and another 30 at Grafton Correctional Institution, in the art of working at an upscale French restaurant. Now founder and CEO Brandon Chrostowski is taking leadership training a step further, making sure his students make their new starts on the right feet.

On February 23 Chrostowski will host NEXT, a six-course dinner fundraiser to build student housing. Chrostowski is working with the Cuyahoga Land Bank to buy an abandoned two-building parcel on Buckeye.  “The whole idea behind Next is to take things to the next level for Edwins students,” he says. “I had a vision to build dorms near the school. I thought it would be a bit later, but the needs of the students – some of them are in shelters, some of them are homeless – made it happen sooner.”
The plan to build the dorms began brewing in April last year. “In October I put it out there to people supporting Edwins and within one month I received $1 million in two checks for $500,000 each,” says Chrostowski.
Additional support wasn’t far behind. Six chefs from Cleveland and chefs from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles will come together to make a memorable dining experience at Edwins. “It’s a great group, anything we need they provide,” says Chrostowski.
Tickets for the event, which cost between $250 and $350 each, sold out in just three days. Chrostowski is still open to sponsorships for the project through. Call Edwins at (216) 921-3333 for more information about sponsorships.  “It’s going to be one big party to contribute to a good cause,” he says. “It’s not just about the money. It’s about community support.”
Chrostowski has phase-one designs for a 37-bed dorm. Students will pay $100 a month, which would be returned to them at the end of the program for a deposit on an apartment. The plan also calls for six individual units on the top floor for Edwins graduates who are having trouble finding housing. Their rent would contribute to operating costs.
Bialosky and Partners Architects helped with the design and Kirt Montack of Montack Realty helped guide Chrostowski through the operating costs of running the buildings. Jones Day helped with the legal work.
“This is one example of the community coming together, and Buckeye is a neighborhood I believe in,” Chrostowski says. “We’re talking about someone without a home who is struggling. We have to change that. It’s a very real problem and we have the power to change it.”
Phase two of Chrostowski’s plan includes a library, fitness center and a meat and fish shop where employees will butcher the meat for sale and for use at Edwins.

centerline biomedical reduces the risks in endovascular procedures

One out of 20 men over age 55 will experience a triple abdominal aortic aneurism (AAA) – an enlargement of the lower part of the aorta – and the risk doubles with every decade of the life. Traditionally, the aneurism is fixed through either open surgery or endovascular procedure. Both require lengthy hospital stays and recoveries. While the endovascular procedure is less invasive, it emits high doses of radiation – both to the patient and the surgical team -- in order for the surgeon to guide wires and devices to the proper places.
Now, with Cleveland Clinic Innovations’ 71st spinoff company, Centerline Biomedical, fixing an abdominal aortic aneurism is becoming less risky and far less radiation involved. Centerline is developing and commercializing a radiation-minimizing system for endovascular procedures based on the research from Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute and the Lerner Research Institute.
Centerline’s surgical navigation provides the surgeon with a navigation tool, making the procedure more efficient and accurate.
“The technology uses a 3D image of the actual patient’s vasculature using sensors and guide wires,” explains Centerline CEO Brian Fuller. “It’s like a GPS system for the vasculature. It will show the patient’s vascular structure, rotate, move around, look up and down the vessel. It’s a more efficient procedure and it’s not radiation-based.”
The elimination of high doses of radiation is particularly innovative. “This is a way to perform surgery on the vascular system that is minimally invasive,” says Fuller. “The average AAA procedure has 15 times the radiation than a CAT scan, which has 30 times more radiation than an X–ray. It’s also really bad for the surgeon and staff.”
Matthew Eagleton, a surgeon with the Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute, heads Centerline’s medical advisory board, is pleased with the technology and its potential. “This technology excites me in that it is an adjunct to our current imaging systems and may allow for improved visualization of the vasculature, easier manipulation within that anatomy with three-dimensional pictures, and potentially will reduce the amount of fluoroscopy needed – thus reducing radiation exposure,” he explains. “It may allow for more complex procedures to be performed more easily.”
Fuller says Centerline expects to complete design by the end of the year and have a prototype to the FDA by the end of 2016. The technology is expected to hit commercial markets by mid-2017.
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