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Published: Tuesday, 9/2/2008

15 fledgling tech firms in program gaining

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Not all can fly yet, but 15 local technology-oriented businesses being nurtured by an incubator program made strong progress in the last year in their march toward producing revenue and jobs.

"They're moving along quite nicely," said Tasha Hussain Black, director of the Regional Growth Partnership's Launch program, which feeds money and business advice and services to qualified tech start-ups.

One of the beneficiaries is CeutiCare, a Toledo firm that will place pharmacists on the staff of a doctor's office and will use software to create medication and therapy regimens, in consultation with a doctor, for chronic diseases like diabetes.

The company, which recently got a $42,000 grant from the growth partnership's Rocket Ventures investment fund, is still writing its software program but plans to start making hires after Jan. 1. It could have 70 employees next year.

"Launch helped get our software trademarked and copyrighted," said Ken Bachmann, a clinical pharmacologist and CeutiCare's co-founder. "I don't know of any program in northwest Ohio that is so phenomenally helpful to tech-based companies."

Another of the start-ups, Solargystics Ltd., of Sylvania, got assistance in writing grant applications, funds for market research, business advice, and help with its patent applications.

The company, which is developing thin-film solar power sheets that can conform to irregular-shaped surfaces, is more than a year away from production. But it already has orders.

Jeff Culver, Solargystics' chief executive, said the six-month-old company hopes to follow in the footsteps Xunlight Corp., one of the Launch program's four market entry. The Launch program helped obtain investment, he said.

Only 24 jobs were created by the 15 firms under the Launch program in fiscal 2008, which ended in June. But the companies reported that the help they received resulted in $25.5 million in the form of new investment, grants, loans, and other assistance from outside sources, Ms. Black said.

For its part, the Launch program invested $246,150 in the companies through a state Thomas Edison grant.

The growth partnership also is required to provide matching funding, which it can accomplish in part through a list of companies and investors willing to donate money or services.

"We have agreements in place with service providers such as [intellectual property] attorneys or accountants and business advisers," Ms. Black said.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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