As chief executive officer of Bounce Innovation Hub, Doug Weintraub has a passion for helping new businesses succeed. He also knows what it’s like to be in their shoes, having started several companies of his own.
“I’ve been a serial entrepreneur. I’ve started, ran and successfully sold some companies, while also investing in or managing other companies and serving on their boards,” he said.
Weintraub was raised in Akron and earned a business administration degree from The Ohio State University. While working as an accountant, he realized that accounting wasn’t for him, and in 1986 started an ERP/CRM software company, which he sold and then bought back a couple of times. By 2010, he sold the company for good and began investing in other businesses, primarily tech companies.
Because of his entrepreneurial experience, he was tapped to be part of JumpStart, where he used this expertise to help grow startups and small businesses in the region. Now at Bounce, he continues to leverage his wide network of connections to help startups take their businesses to the next level.
“I love the rush of creating something new and helping entrepreneurs follow their dreams,” he said. “I get their passion.”
Four years later, Weintraub is still excited about what Bounce has been able to accomplish.
“During the first couple of years, we built our team, built out our space and found quality tenants. We also added programming for non-tech companies, including resources for minority-owned and female-owned businesses,” he said. “Our partners are supportive and want to be part of this, which is exciting to me.”
As he looks back on 2021, Weintraub notes that continuing to fill programs at Bounce and help more companies grow are the biggest accomplishments.
“We’ve helped businesses succeed whether by helping them hire the right people, raise capital or operate efficiently,” he said. “We’ve been in their shoes and are able to help them make the right connections, which can save time and help shortcut the process – but not cut corners.”
As Bounce heads into 2022 and its fifth year of operation, Weintraub says the organization is not resting.
“There’s no ‘off’ button. We’re already planning on activating previously unoccupied portions of our facility and bringing more clients into the building. We’ll also be adding more resources and expanding our programming, including adding entrepreneurs in residence to our Next Level Incubator program. We’re also strengthening and formalizing program relationships with our partners to further our reach.”
Because of his for-profit experience, Weintraub said one of his biggest challenges at Bounce has been navigating the non-profit arena, but he still views the organization in many ways as a startup.
“This position has combined my two loves – entrepreneurship and real estate, and has allowed me to give back to the community,” he said. “However, I don’t like guardrails; I’ll run through brick walls if I have to. And I know I have a great team to pick up the pieces and reorganize the bricks in my wake.”
While he’s enjoyed activating his own personal network to help startups at Bounce, he’s been surprised by how receptive others in the business community have been when asked to help.
“I think passion attracts passion and people want to help others succeed,” he said. “Although individuals are ultimately responsible for their own success, we will be their biggest cheerleaders – and we will challenge them when we recognize why they’re not successful.”
Serving at the helm of Bounce has also contributed to Weintraub’s own personal growth.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people, many of whom are half my age, but all bring unique skill sets,” he said. “I’ve also enjoyed meeting people at the county, the mayor’s office and at our various partner institutions. I’m fully invested in this community and want to see more organizations succeed so they can come full circle and be in a position to give back to this community too.”
Weintraub and his wife, Janis, live in Bath Township. They have two daughters, one son and five grandchildren.
About the author:
Jill Wodtley, APR, is a freelance writer and owner of Fine Point Public Relations and Advertising. An accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, she develops and implements marketing communications, public relations and advertising initiatives for a variety of clients, ranging from health care and social service agencies to industrial/manufacturing firms.