News


Tech Czar: In a rural setting, startups are nurtured by Braintree

June 11, 2017
by Michael DeAloia, special to the Plain Dealer
When one typically thinks of Mansfield, entrepreneurship does not immediately come to mind. It's a Rust Belt city with a rural economy. But as Bob Cohen, executive director of Braintree will quickly note, "The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Mansfield."Braintree is a regional non-profit incubator and citadel of entrepreneurial thought. Cohen became executive director in 2004 and has grown the footprint, relevance and influence of the organization.

Sometimes the best startups can be found in the most unusual places. There's a great bastion of entrepreneurial spirit in the hinterlands of Ohio and that's where one particular tech company is solving a staffing problem in the medical field.Michael C. DeAloia (Courtesy photo)Startups in the Hinterland. When one typically thinks of Mansfield, entrepreneurship does not immediately come to mind. It's a Rust Belt city with a rural economy. But as Bob Cohen, executive director of Braintree will quickly note, "The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Mansfield."Braintree is a regional non-profit incubator and citadel of entrepreneurial thought. Cohen became executive director in 2004 and has grown the footprint, relevance and influence of the organization.The organization was launched 30 years ago in an abandoned grocery warehouse on the outskirts of town. It was a joint project of the City of Mansfield and Richland County as a way to spark entrepreneurialism. Since its inception, the incubator has helped more than 100 startup companies, and focuses on advanced manufacturing, alternative energy, IT, bioscience and agriculture. Braintree has expanded from its humble origins in Mansfield to now include Canton, as well.

Read more: Tech Czar: In a rural setting, startups are nurtured by Braintree URL: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2017/06/braintree_starts_in_ohio_hinte.html


Bob Cohen, shared stories of recent start-up business ventures happening right here in Stark County, thanks in large part to the Stark Entrepreneurship Alliance, of which he’s a member. Budding entrepreneurs are also invited to share their own ideas at an event called, Caffeinated Ideas in Canton. The event will be held on August 9th in Canton.

Bob Cohen, shared stories of recent start-up business ventures happening right here in Stark County, thanks in large part to the Stark Entrepreneurship Alliance, of which he’s a member. The Stark Entrepreneurship Alliance is a one-stop shop for early-stage and start-up companies in Stark County, OH. The alliance provides assistance in all aspects of creating and growing a business including business consulting, recruiting management, financing, real estate, product innovation, mentoring and coaching, legal and accounting, and more.Budding entrepreneurs are also invited to share their own ideas at an event called, Caffeinated Ideas in Canton. The event will be held on August 6th in Canton. Here’s how organizers explain it: “Call it Crowd Sourcing your ideas. Bring your business ideas (even if it is on a napkin) and we will talk about it. Need help with a marketing plan, let the group help you? Do you have talents or time and would like to interact with others starting or operating their business? Then we are looking for you!!! Our goal is to be informal and flexible.”

Read more: Entrepreneurship is thriving in Stark County: WHBC interviews Braintree's Bob Cohen URL: http://www.whbc.com/entrepeneurship-thriving-stark-county


Canton startup Vlipsy lets the stars speak for you

May 7, 2017
by Dan Schingler, Crain's Cleveland Business
Exciting things are happening with Canton-based entrepreneur Chris Nickless and his new website, Vlipsy.com. "It's a video clip search engine soundboard," Nickless said.What that means is that the site offers video clips the way some other places, like Giphy.com, provide users with GIFs that they can use in their emails, tweets and other online communications. However, Vlipsy's pieces are actual video clips with sound.

You know the feeling: What you want to say is really best summed up by a quote from the great George Costanza. Maybe, for example, you need to convey exactly how you feel about getting stuck with the bill for someone else's big salad.But where to find it — especially if you don't want to wade through a whole episode of "Seinfeld," let alone spend time editing out what you want for a three-second clip.Enter Canton-based entrepreneur Chris Nickless and his new website, Vlipsy.com."It's a video clip search engine soundboard," Nickless said.What that means is that the site offers video clips the way some other places, like Giphy.com, provide users with GIFs that they can use in their emails, tweets and other online communications. However, Vlipsy's pieces are actual video clips with sound."Face-to-face communication is no longer prevalent," Nickless contends. So, he said, it is increasingly important to communicate online in ways that properly convey things like humor or sarcasm."Expressive media, like emoji and GIFs, have really grown in power. Vlipsy is the next wave in that trend," he said.The site is new. Nickless has been rolling it out since April and is working hard to increase its content and exposure, he said. But he's already got an app available for use on Apple devices and clips can be shared through Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest, or just embedded in the form of a URL link.If he succeeds, Nickless said, using the site will become second nature to a growing base of users. He's counting on ease of use and convenience to make that happen.As an example of how the site makes video clipping easier, Nickless used a famous Tom Hanks' quote from the film "Apollo 13.""Let's say I want to say, 'Houston, we have a problem.' That's a four-minute video, and it takes Tom Hanks about two seconds to say, "Houston, we have a problem," Nickless said.Vlipsy, however, gives users just the two seconds of video with the famous quote, no editing required. All you have to do is type the phrase into Vlipsy's onboard search engine.To be sure, the site is hardly a compendium of every quote a user would want. But, like YouTube, Vlipsy will be driven by users who post their own videos, so it's no surprise that not every video is there now.And some clips will never be there. Like other sites, Vlipsy will be limited to materials already available online — so as not to violate copyrights — and there will be standards prohibiting things like hate speech, sexual content or other offensive materials.If he succeeds, Nickless could be a very wealthy man. Giphy, for example, has a reported value of over $600 million even though it's just 4 years old and has yet to turn a profit.Nickless has a second-tier strategy as well. "Our goal is to be doing specific branded accounts, not unlike a YouTube channel," he said.That will hopefully bring him sponsored content.What might be the most surprising thing about Vlipsy, though, is that it's based in Canton and not a more trendy location. Nickless, a 2007 Ohio State University grad, moved back from California to start the company."I love Northeast Ohio. So for me, it was, 'Why not here?' " Nickless said."We've seen a lot of talent from this area get moved out to bigger cities or have to find a job remotely working for someone else. … I want to make sure they can stay here," he added.So far, the company is extremely lean — just Nickless and his childhood friend and now partner Matt Tew, who, like Nickless, is an Ohio native.The company probably will never need thousands of employees, but as it grows, the plan is to hire additional people to edit content, manage the site and help market it, Nickless said.Once he does begin to hire, he'll likely look for office space, too — possibly in Akron, his hometown.For now, Nickless is compiling new clips and meeting with local economic development officials. Some have been impressed with what they see."He has returned to (Northeast Ohio) to launch a tech startup that sounds to me like it has exciting, high-growth potential," said Heather Roszczyk, an Akron entrepreneurship fellow for Fund for Our Economic Future. "He's very enthusiastic about Akron, and purposely chose this area to launch the business because of his desire to assist revitalization and bring tech jobs to the area."

Read more: Canton startup Vlipsy lets the stars speak for you URL: http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20170507/NEWS/170509863/canton-startup-vlipsy-lets-the-stars-say-it-for-you


Meet Amanda Greenberg, one of the many incredible founders attending the SheWorx100 Summit. Amanda pitched at the very first SunDown RunDown in Mansfield in February of 2014.

1. What does your company do?
Baloonr removes bias from collaboration and decision-making, so that companies gain access to otherwise unreachable insights.
2. What impact are you making?
What does this impact look like in 10 years?When developing Baloonr, our team dug into hundreds of studies across the areas of cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, social science, public health, and psychology with one question in mind: How do you get the best and most information and insights out of a group in the most efficient way possible? In groups and companies, a wall is created that locks knowledge in peoples’ minds. This wall is complex and is a result of corporate culture, group dynamics, bias, and fear of failure. We create a more productive and equitable workplace by removing that wall and driving inclusive innovation. That’s what we provide for our customers, like Bosch, BMW, AbbVie, Dartmouth College, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.In 10 years, our plan is to have ushered in a new wave of productivity that is specifically focused on mitigating bias. This wave will have a dramatic impact on the workplace — every aspect will change — from hiring to strategic planning to product development — and it will be moving toward a true level playing field.
3. Why are you excited about the SheWorx100 Summit?
What is the best part about being in the SheWorx community?I have heard great things from previous attendees, and I am thrilled to attend this year. Oftentimes, the challenge is finding a strong intro or the right connection. Providing an approach focused on relationship, action, transparency, collaboration, and accessibility is incredibly exciting.

Read more: SunDown RunDown alum Amanda Greenberg of Baloonr featured in SheWorx AAA Spotlight URL: https://medium.com/@SheWorx/sheworx-aaa-spotlight-amanda-greenberg-co-founder-and-ceo-baloonr-1b80d1f034a8


Braintree's building has interesting history

April 18, 2017
by Timothy Brian McKee, richlandsource.com
Humphryes Manufacturing Co. began their foundry business in 1882, and served as an anchor of Mansfield’s industrial strength for decades making pumps and then cast iron bathtubs and sinks, operating in the building that was more recently known as the Braintree Business Development Center, our area's business incubator, from 2001 to 2017.
In the 1950s Hymphryes consolidated with Borg-Warner and expanded their product lines to include vitreous china; and expanded their industrial sites to include West Fourth Street and Shelby.They ran full bore until 1973 when the foundry went cold.

Humphryes Manufacturing Co. began their foundry business in 1882, and served as an anchor of Mansfield’s industrial strength for decades making pumps and then cast iron bathtubs and sinks.In the 1950s they consolidated with Borg-Warner and expanded their product lines to include vitreous china; and expanded their industrial sites to include West Fourth Street and Shelby.They ran full bore until 1973 when the foundry went cold. This familiar corner at Fifth and Newman was the Humphryes main office; today Braintree Business Development Center. A few of the Humphryes buildings survive today, one of which is the Braintree Business Development Center.Even though their factories are long gone, Humphryes still casts a shadow in the Flats: from the landmark smokestack that even yet anchors the former factory district.Timothy Brian McKee is a featured columnist on our site every Saturday with a column titled Native Son. Every Tuesday, he taps into his knowledge and collection of historical photos and bring us Then & Now, a brief glance at the way things were.

Read more: Braintree's building has interesting history URL: http://www.richlandsource.com/area_history/then-now-humphryes/article_65b60812-1eef-11e7-8310-1f1c62151c80.html