TechGrowth Ohio Innovation Celebration
Entrepreneurs and innovators mingle at TechGROWTH Ohio's fourth annual Innovation Celebration

TechGROWTH Ohio’s Fourth Annual Innovation Celebration a Success

Jasmine Grillmeier
April 22, 2016

More than 175 people turned out on March 29 to celebrate innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in southeast Ohio at TechGROWTH Ohio’s fourth annual Innovation Celebration.  The evening highlighted companies that are significantly impacting the region’s economy and turned the spotlight on four up-and-coming startup ventures that are gaining traction.

“The new multi-media, multi-stage, fast-paced networking format really hit a nerve with the audience," Lynn Gellermann, executive director for TechGROWTH Ohio and the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship, said. "All of the positive feedback we've received indicates the attendees really enjoyed the experience.”

Four “Rising Startup Stars” took the stage to pitch their ventures, including:

  • Ben Lachman, Co-Founder of Sense Labs, LLC, a company that has developed an intelligent energy tracker to help users reduce electricity usage and carbon footprint;
  • Greg Merril, CEO of YOST Labs, one of the fastest growing tech companies in Ohio specializing in patented sensor technologies enabling motion and position tracking in many upcoming products;
  • David Carter, Co-Founder of Jersey Watch, a company that helps youth sports organizations creatively use digital technology to impact their players, followers and fans through free custom-built websites; and,
  • Rich Sloan, CEO of FWD:Energy, Inc., a renewable energy business focused on converting waste to energy through renewable energy plants and other commercially valuable products.

“It is through these stars that our university and our region will continue to achieve great things,” Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said as he welcomed attendees to the Innovation Celebration. “I am truly proud of all that we have accomplished, and I am inspired by the potential of the future.”

Ohio University student entrepreneurs were also featured.

“The Innovation Celebration was a wonderful event that brought together entrepreneurs from the community,” student entrepreneur Kate Clausen, said. Clausen presented at the event on behalf of Vaylenx, a startup venture producing CNP-1, a nanoparticle larvicide that kills mosquitoes to stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases that kill over 1 million people a year. “It was inspiring and energizing to see the great things other companies are doing, and it motivated my team even more to make Vaylenx a success.”

TechGROWTH Ohio also surprised the audience with its premiere of Driving the Innovation Engine: Entrepreneurs in Southeast Ohio, an inspirational video celebrating regional companies.