By James Hilton, Co-founder and mentor of The Bit Factory
Please allow me to be blunt: I am excited for 2018. There is so much occurring that will help Akron gain the spotlight it deserves. I am fourth-generation Akron, and happy to plant my roots and expertise in this city. The many endeavors to spur entrepreneurship, at large, is encouraging, starting with Bounce, Akron’s Innovation Hub.
I am confident that Bounce is accomplishing something Akron has really needed for a while now: a solidified, universally supported organization, similar in philosophy to the origins of Jumpstart, here in Akron. Bounce is that philosophy, and organizations like The Bit Factory (which is actually owned by Bounce, but let’s move beyond that) gain by having this support system. Our client startups benefit from the collaborative support that grows through a connected hub like Bounce. In general, I think the startup community and entrepreneurial ecosystem benefit from Bounce.
The Bit Factory is going to see some changes… Presence The Bit Factory is going to be increasing its digital presence. We intend to return to regularly posted blogs and will be releasing a new podcast. The intended purpose of this is to help the startup community at large. While it is difficult to join The Bit Factory, along with having to fall into the software space, tenets of entrepreneurship ring true across many industries. We hope that by collecting, organizing and sharing our breadth of entrepreneurial knowledge, The Bit Factory can help the startup community in Akron nurture itself. Process We will be moving to increase our processes, from investment to admittance, thanks to the move to Bounce. For us, the innovation hub will empower us to make quicker decisions, and be significantly more proactive in how we help our startup clients. This is a good thing, and we are glad that Bounce is bringing this kind of startup ideology to our accelerator. Partners The Bit Factory would like to work more closely with local corporations, organizations, and support networks (outside of Akron) to better our offering for clients. While we feel the current system of mentorship and what we offer to our startup clients is on point, we also feel that our network can be expanded. We will be working on improving our core value offering to new and existing clients, and strengthening the value startups gain from joining The Bit Factory. The changes that Bounce is bringing to Akron is contagious, and is encouraging us to move even more purposefully for our client organizations. Going into our fourth year of operations, we have seen some recent wins and successes, and would like to share those.
- TPA Stream, a FUEL winner in 2016, secured a big investment. Jacob Sheridan, one of the founders, is killing it. His team is excelling, and we are excited with their growth. Make no mistake, this is a fundraise to support their growth, and comes at a time that will help see them expand ever further, more rapidly.
- Speaking of good investment wins, Komae, another FUEL 2016 winner, secured an investment as well. They are also doing a great job, and we are happy to see them succeeding.
- DeepHire is making a difference in the world of job recruitment. They are solving a real need for the hiring process, and bring some much-needed authenticity to finding the right job.
Obviously, I would love to go into more details about each and every client, but we will save that for a future Bit Factory blog post. As I mentioned, you will start to hear more from us as we showcase the successes of each of our startups. In summary, Akron is doing things. I am happy with our progress. The more innovation we can bring to this city, its residents and our larger Northeast Ohio community, the better. For example, the eBay Retail Revival program has brought a lot of value and will continue to make an impact on the Akron community. Bounce is the necessary, and right, move for our city.I certainly understand and appreciate that entrepreneurship is more than a software startup, and each endeavor our great city takes to lift up entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial spirit and successes, is an effort worth committing to.