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Prototech 2015

Prototech 2015
Jun 8, 2015

ProtoTech: Invest showed investors the region's top startups are worth a look

KARIN CONNELLY | MONDAY, JUNE 08, 2015
Event attendees took time after ProtoTech: INVEST to network with other professionals
Event attendees mingle around the Alex Theater in the Metropolitan at the 9 to discuss the various product pitches given that afternoon.

Seventeen companies in various stages of development pitched their causes to about 30 local investors last Thursday, June 4 at MAGNET’s ProtoTech: Invest at the Metropolitan at The 9. All of the companies are in significant fundraising mode.

“It was a good event, it was a lot of fun,” says Dave Crain, executive director of the Incubator at MAGNET and ProtoTech organizer. “I don’t think people realized how many great startups are in the region. There were 17 presenters and not a dud in the group.”

Crain traveled to other entrepreneurial hubs around the country to research “investment summits,” or pitch events geared toward attracting investors. ProtoTech: Invest was the first event of its kind in the state, Crain says. “No one is really doing it in Ohio, statewide,” he says. “Great entrepreneurial regions do these all the time.”

In fact, Crain says he will consider hosting ProtoTech: Invest a couple of times a year, based on feedback he heard from investors in attendance. “There are lots of great opportunities, lot of great companies, but we need more money in the region,” he says. “I would tell the investors, when we do this next time, call all your friends on the coasts.”

Investors on the east and west coasts have started to take notice of Cleveland’s entrepreneurial scene. “I do think it’s changing,” Crain says. “The coasts have a much more developed ecosystem out there.”

Crain enjoyed hearing about the progress of many of the startups presenting on Thursday, such as Rick Pollack’s 3-D printer manufacturer MakerGear. “I know Rick, but I never realized they are the number-one rated company on Amazon,” Crain says. “They’re asking for money to fund their growth. It’s fun to hear how much they’ve grown. There’s a breadth of opportunity here, from life sciences to products.”