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Innovation Fund Awards $175,000 to Four Northeast Ohio Tech Startups

March 14, 2017: Four local startups will receive a combined $175,000 from Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio, the region’s most active pre-seed fund for technology startups. The companies will use awards between $25,000 and $100,000 to complete specific projects that will bring their technologies closer to market, preparing them to raise more funding, launch new products, and create jobs.

With the new investments, the Innovation Fund has awarded $11.7 million to 178 local technology startups since it started accepting applications in July 2007.

“We’re closing in on the Innovation Fund’s 10-year anniversary and the regional economic impact we’re now seeing from our portfolio is growing exponentially,” said Dennis Cocco, director of the Innovation Fund.

Innovation Fund portfolio companies have raised $334 million in follow-on funding, reached $176 million in sales revenue, and created more than 900 jobs. Much of that impact has happened in the last five years.

“Lorain County Community College leaders had a vision to fund and support the young companies responsible for job creation, but they knew it would take at least ten years to see the fruits of the investments,” Cocco said.

“We couple critical, early-stage funding with strong coaching and now we’re seeing some of our earliest portfolio companies become established enterprises that are rapidly growing in revenue and job creation. This kind of impact solidifies the Innovation Fund’s and the college’s role in stimulating entrepreneurial and economic growth in Northeast Ohio.”

Here are the latest companies to join the portfolio:

Aatru Medical ($100,000 | Cleveland) is developing a wound dressing product platform that leverages market-ready technology and should disrupt the multi-billion dollar wound therapy market. With its initial focus on the negative pressure wound therapy market space, Aatru Medical is designing the industry’s first and only fully self-contained negative pressure dressing that eliminates the need for pumps, batteries, hoses, and canisters. The company is using the award to refine product design and components, complete some product testing, and begin the FDA submission process.

Triple Beam Technologies ($25,000 | Akron) is developing the Cannibuster, a portable, rapid-results device that evaluates marijuana intoxication of suspected impaired drivers. The simple-to-use product includes a handheld analyzer and a one-time use test cartridge to provide a low cost, rapid method of screening for marijuana. Triple Beam Technology hopes its Cannibuster becomes an integral tool that law enforcement uses to identify and prosecute drugged drivers—just like the alcohol breathalyzer identifies and prosecutes drunk drivers. The Innovation Fund award will help the company complete technology validation studies and gain the real world data needed to raise more money.

Studio Stick ($25,000 | Cleveland) has developed a portable recording studio for smartphones and tablets. The 20-inch container opens and expands to a musician’s height, revealing a reflective filter, microphone, pop filter, phone holder and stand. Combined with the company’s mobile app, users can record high quality songs or any type of audio anywhere. Studio Stick will use the funding for product development, website development, and marketing efforts.

Komae ($25,000 | Akron) has created a new app for parents to unlock unlimited babysitting by exchanging sits with trusted friends. The free app connects parents with people they and their children already know, allowing parents to make and fill babysitting requests for each other. The startup just released its app in Apple and Android app stores. Komae’s founders, both of whom are moms, will use the money to design, develop, and deploy a new user experience design based on the results of usability testing.

Browse the Innovation Fund portfolio to learn more.