September 10, 2012: The Innovation Fund, founded by the Lorain County Community College Foundation, is awarding $385,000 to seven technology startup companies in its latest funding round. The round included four awards at $25,000 and three awards at $95,000 and each recipient has committed to providing an entrepreneurial education experience to students at Lorain County Community College and Innovation Fund partner colleges and universities.
HolePatch ($25,000 | Cleveland)
HolePatch LLC is developing a cheaper, faster, and sustainable replacement to the cold patch method currently used by governments for patching potholes in the winter. HolePatch will use the Innovation Fund award to continue product development and validation.
Miach Medical Innovations ($25,000 | Shaker Heights)
Miach Medical is developing novel sensor-equipped endotracheal and feeding tubes that can rapidly and accurately identify anatomic location and signal unplanned movement, reducing the risks to patients who require breathing or feeding support. The company is using the funds to develop transmitter technology for wireless monitoring of the sensor signals.
On Demand Interpretation Services ($25,000 | Concord)
On Demand Interpretation Services provides courts access to certified interpreters through secure remote teleconferencing technology. The company plans on using the Innovation Fund award to continue its sales efforts.
WiTuners ($25,000 | Twinsburg)
WiTuners, Ltd is a software-as-a-service for Wi-Fi owners and installation firms to plan, maintain and audit large scale Wi-Fi networks to the maximum capacity. The company will use the Innovation Fund award to expand its sales funnel.
AMIDAC International ($95,000 | Elyria)
AMIDAC International, a manufacturer of exothermic welding products, has patented a cost-competitive line of products that increases safety and provides precise results over traditional welding products. The company will use the Innovation Fund award to set up manufacturing and tooling, purchase raw materials, and secure patents.
BoxCast ($95,000 | Cleveland)
BoxCast has created a complete, hand-held video streaming solution that allows any video camera to broadcast any event online. The company is using the Innovation Fund award to secure intellectual property and begin expansion into international markets.
eFuneral ($95,000 | Cleveland)
eFuneral allows families to find, compare, and select funeral homes in their local area, while acting as a customer acquisition tool for funeral homes. The company is using the Innovation Fund award to hire an additional software developer and launch its product into eight additional metropolitan markets.
The educational experiences these companies have committed to, which are a requirement of accepting the funding, range from paid internships to guest speaking in the classroom.
"The experiential education component has been engrained in the Innovation Fund's operations since the very beginning," said Dennis Cocco, co-director of GLIDE, which administers the fund. "The program gives students the opportunity to sit alongside an entrepreneur and learn the ins and outs of leading a startup, while showing the entrepreneur how valuable a student perspective can be."
AMIDAC International, recipient of its second Innovation Fund award, has already hired an intern from Lorain County Community College. Cassandra Andrusyszyn was attending Lorain County Community College while working three jobs when she began her internship to fulfill a requirement of an entrepreneurship class.
"My internship was absolutely amazing and it truly changed my life," Andrusyszyn said. "AMIDAC had me doing everything from marketing to business development with national and international customers."
Andrusyszyn was hired full time last month to manage AMIDAC's national and international business communications. AMIDAC will be employing another paid intern with this funding award and Ameer Alghusain, the company's president, is excited about the possibilities of adding more local talent to his business.
"I located my company in Lorain County to develop the county and create jobs here," Alghusain said. "I am excited to find more talented students to join us and possibly obtain a full-time job as we grow."
Since its 2007 inception, the Innovation Fund has made 106 awards to 88 companies totaling $6.1 million. Along with providing more than 150 internships to college and university students, bridging the gap between classroom education and real startup experience, these companies have attracted more than $62 million in follow-on investments and created 314 jobs.
About the Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund, founded by the Lorain County Community College Foundation, awards early-stage capital to technology-based companies in Northeast Ohio so they can validate their technologies and business concepts. The funding awards of up to $100,000 fill the capital needs of businesses that are at the earliest stage of development, before they can attract angel and venture capital funding.
Funds from the Ohio Third Frontier combined with matching support and contributions from the Innovation Fund partners are used to make the Innovation Fund awards. 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 of Technology, Youngstown State University, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).