Fail Fest Returns for a Fourth Year

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Launch Fishers is excited to bring back Fail Fest  for a fourth year. The one-day conference, celebrating failure’s role in innovation, will be held at Launch Indy at The Union 525 on Thursday September 21 from 9AM to 5PM.

  “We are thrilled to bring Fail Fest back for a fourth time, and this time at Launch Indy, our new coworking location in the heart of downtown Indianapolis,” said John Wechsler, Founder and CEO of Launch Fishers and Launch Indy. “The Union 525 is an ideal venue for Fail Fest – it’s an ecosystem of companies and people who understand that failure paves the way to innovation and success.”

Building on the success of previous events, Fail Fest 2017 will include a wide-range of speakers including Chief Steve Orusa (City of Fishers Fire Department), Jeremy Brown (Nameless Catering Company), Jackie Bledsoe (JBSB Companies, LLC), Polina Osherov (PATTERN Magazine), Shelley Klingerman (Launch Terre Haute), Lindsey Erdody (Indianapolis Business Journal) Jenn Lisak (Sapphire Strategy), Rupal Thanawala (Accenture), Matt MacBeth (pi lab), Lou Gerig (Sease, Gerig & Associates), Kelli Jones (Be Nimble Ventures), Steve Cashdollar (Inspiring Greatness), Seth Meinzen (Neugistics, LLC), and Chief Mitch Thompson (City of Fishers Police Department).

Early bird ticket pricing is available now at $79.00 until midnight on August 31. General admission tickets will be $99.00. Tickets are now available at

Fail Fest is produced and presented by Launch Fishers & Launch Indy, and sponsored by Elevate Ventures, Nameless Catering,Metonymy Media, Barnes & Thornburg, City of Fishers, Indiana University, Iconic Digital Agency, Visit Hamilton County, Brosmer Photographic, and Clear Object.


  About Launch Fishers & Launch Indy
Launch Indy is a 10,000 square foot launch pad for high-potential enterprises located in the Union 525 in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It is the companion site to Launch Fishers, a 52,000 square foot coworking space in Fishers, Indiana. Created by John Wechsler in conjunction with the City of Fishers in 2012, Launch Fishers has grown to over 600 members in a wide array of industries and ranging from startup to expansion-stage companies. Launch Fishers increasingly serves as host for many statewide entrepreneurial support initiatives including Launch Indiana, The Indiana IoT Lab Network and The Indiana Coworking Passport. More at and

Talking About Failure with PPHS Students: 4 Lessons Learned from 4 Entrepreneurs

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With the increased visibility of the Launch Fishers-inspired family of initiatives -- Launch Fishers, Launch Indy, Launch Indiana, Indiana IoT Lab Network, and Fail Fest -- comes invitations to speak to various organizations.  Nothing gets my attention more than a request to speak to the next generation - university students and high schoolers. It's almost like being given a chance to go back in time. To reprogram the mistakes made, teach the lessons I wished I had learned earlier and generally try to make the world a better place.  

I recently spoke to Purdue Polytechnic High School. PPHS is a tuition-free public school open to any state resident. Free from many of the regulations governing traditional public schools, PPHS controls their own curriculum, staffing, organization and budget. They are expected to help students reach their fullest potential while exceed Indiana’s academic standards.  

PPHS asked me to speak on a topic on which I am eminently equipped to discuss -- failure! Most entrepreneurs could write chapters, if not entire books on failure.  I chose to start an event called Fail Fest.    

For PPHS, I enlisted three of my favorite area entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs who are obviously successful and who are willing to talk about the role of failure in their careers and lessons learned along the way.  I like to think of the process of talking about this as "failing, falling and learning to fly again!"  

Joining me on stage were:
  • John McDonald, CEO of Clear Object
  • Shawn Schwegman, COO & Co-founder of DemandJump
  • Jim Brown, President & Sales Coach at SalesTuners


At about the 45 minute mark, all of which was extemporaneously delivered, we got into little jam session on "what one thing" could we each deliver to these students that could help accelerate their learning.  

John started out by encouraging the group to "embrace weird."  Stay the way you are and never change to meet others' definition of you - be the best you that you can be.    

Shawn picked up with "never quit." Failure is only truly a failure when you quit.  The real difference between those we see as winners in life and those who don't make the cut is that those who don't make the cut quit!    

Jim picked up with the importance of surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you.  Important to note this doesn't mean just like you, it means they complement you - in other words they complete you by adding in areas you might not be as strong.    

I finished by encouraging the students to always pursue excellence. Not perfection -- sometimes that can be the enemy of the good.  But excellence.  I think this can be be described as the degree with which you deliver against expectations.    

As we went down the line in the 15 minute excursive, we all looked at each other and thought we had really come up with a handful of lessons learned.  Lessons that if we could somehow get this young minds to understand would help lead them to their passions in life and ultimately contribute to making them happy and fulfilled along the way.  

Congrats to INX3!

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What a week of celebrations for the Indiana Tech community! A tremendous amount of thanks goes out to the team of John McDonald, Kara Kavensky, Ken Miller and the Venture Club of Indiana for organizing the INX3 celebration that took place at Union 525. It's energizing for everyone in the network to hear pitch after pitch from some of the best and brightest of Indiana’s startup community and to hear the valuable insights offered by the panels assembled in the knowledge center. DCPqvNEVoAEvDaj.jpg-large Another huge thank you goes out to John Hurley and his construction crew for their tireless work in getting the Union 525 building and specifically the Launch Indy space itself as far along in the construction process as they could and ready to host attendees. The great entrepreneurial spirit lit this week will continue to burn bright at Launch Indy and we are now just 2 weeks away from being open as the newest addition to the Indiana Coworking Passport network. If you are looking for a home base for your work please reach out to Katie Birge, Executive Director ( for a tour or for more membership information.

Preparing Our Community’s Future Leaders: A Recap of the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship Bootcamp

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Launch Fishers recently hosted its third annual Launch Fishers High School Fellowship bootcamp, a week-long program filled with speakers and discussions focused on entrepreneurship. The students who participated in the fellowship share common interests in business and entrepreneurship, and the program builds upon these interests by helping participants see the how entrepreneurship is entwined within the Fishers community. At the end of the week, students interviewed with 15 host companies and many received internship placements. 2017 LFHSF Student Group The bootcamp kicked off with a welcoming speech from our founder, John Wechsler, and Fishers’ mayor, Scott Fadness. They welcomed students and set an entrepreneurial tone for the rest of the bootcamp. Throughout the week, students interacted with local entrepreneurs and guest lecturers visited to present on a variety of topics such as how to start a business, skills employers seek, how failure can lead to success, and the future of IoT technology. Speakers and panel members ranged from entrepreneurs just getting started with their ventures to those with brick-and-mortar businesses with multiple years of operational experience.  Individual presenters included: In addition to individual presenters, the bootcamp hosted a panel including: On the final day of the bootcamp, the fellowship students had the opportunity to interview for internships with 15 local businesses. Through their resumes and interviews, the students were able to showcase their impressive involvements in high school and in the local community. “These students are all exemplifying things in high school that are unexpected for people of this age,” Marisa Pennington, the LFHSF Program Coordinator, said of the participants' high caliber achievements. interviews

Interviews being conducted on Friday, June 9.

New this year, students were given the opportunity to take a Ball State course on entrepreneurship (MGT 241: The Entrepreneurial Experience) at the Ball State Center for Academic and Economic Innovation at Launch Fishers. This dual credit course counts for both high school and college requirements and gives students a head start on their college careers with 3 hours of earned college credit. Many students in the fellowship have the same goal: to become an entrepreneur. The fellowship assists participants by developing the skills and mindset needed for that future. Fellowship students enter the program with some knowledge about entrepreneurship and business, but leave the week with practical know-how, lessons-learned from stories shared, and a whole new perspective on what it takes to be successful. Launch Fishers' goal is to create an environment in which starting a business is less of a dream and more of a reality, and the fellowship program allows us to promote this to our community’s youth. Tom Simmons, a student of the fellowship, summarized the goal of the program: “Before, I didn’t have an understanding on what I wanted to do in the business field. But throughout the week, I was able to hear people’s aspirations about their company, and I realized that I could follow in their footsteps to become a leader and change-maker in the community.”

FailFest 2016: A Recap

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#FAILFEST16 is a wrap. We started with a blank slate of a nearly 1,000-seat performing arts center and a cafe at Fishers High School! An amazing place to be certain! image2 We ended with new relationships formed and lessons learned from among the 300 registered guests, speakers and volunteers. image1 Our volunteers ranged from high schoolers in our Launch Fishers High School Fellowship to Orr Fellows interested in a day of service and growth. unnamed Our speakers came from a wide range of industry and community leaders of all shapes, colors and sizes. We owe a big thank you to all of our volunteers as well as to HSE Schools, our speakers and the hundreds of guests who believe enough in our innovation ecosystem to spend a day talking, thinking and learning about how failure paves the way to success. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, It is after all the man (and woman) in the arena that deserves the credit. Not the critic, who tears things down. The builder of things, the one who isn't afraid to risk it all -- that is who deserves credit. KMBT_C364-20160630141250 Builders build things. Creators create things. Innovators and entrepreneurs are our modern day patriots. They make our world a better place and most of the time have a good time along the way. So thanks to all of you who showed up and we hope to see you September 21st for FailFest Wabash Valley produced by our friends at Launch Terre Haute! Fail Fest Full Color As John Qualls said yesterday quoting the incomparable Paul Harvey, "and now you know the rest of the story."

High School Fellowship Spurs Creation of Young Entrepreneurs’ Business

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This past June, high school students from the HSE School District participated in the second annual Launch Fishers High School Fellowship bootcamp. This weeklong program consisted of guest speakers with entrepreneurial experience and ended with an interview process that placed many students in summer internship positions throughout Hamilton County.

Two participants of the fellowship, Phil Tran and Nate Smith, are great examples of entrepreneurship in action. In addition to their summer internships, the students have teamed-up to create “Phil&NatePaint,” their own mailbox painting company.

The business consists of painting mailbox posts to the correct specifications of each neighborhood’s homeowner’s associations as well as polishing the metal mailboxes.

For the students, finding enough time to handle two jobs isn’t an issue. According to Toby Smith, Nate’s mom, the boys “have been working every night after they intern, weekends, and even on the 4th [of July]!”

While most high school students spend their summerbreak relaxing, Phil and Nate have put the skills discussed within the Fellowship to use. We at Launch Fishers applaud the boys for their hard work, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit. Way to go Phil&NatePaint!

For more information, please email

FailFest Returns for a Third Year to Celebrate Failure’s Role in Innovation

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Launch Fishers announced today their popular FailFest will return for a third year. The one-day conference, celebrating failure’s role in innovation, will be held at Fishers High School on Thursday, July 28th from 9AM to 5:30PM.

"Launch Fishers continues to collaborate in unique ways to foster the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the community, and our partnership with HSE schools is no different," said John Wechsler, Founder and CEO of Launch Fishers. "Working together we can, not only encourage innovation-driven education opportunities in our schools, but the facility has a bigger footprint and allows for additional uses." In 2015, Launch Fishers received recognition from the International Economic Development Council for FailFest and the supportive role the event plays in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship. In an effort to integrate the event more deeply within the local innovation ecosystem, the event is being held at Fishers High School using the 950-seat performing arts theater and other rooms for breakout sessions.

Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business at FailFest 2015.

  Building on the success of previous events, FailFest 2016 includes a wide-range of speakers including a two-time Super Bowl Champion, an ExactTarget Co-founder, and the ground-breaking entertainment lawyer who represented the Goldman family in their pursuit of justice against O.J. Simpson. This year’s list of speakers includes: Chris Baggott, Founder of ClusterTruck; Kim Brand, President of 1st Maker Space; Brandon Gorin, 2X Super Bowl Champion and Area Representative of Marco's Pizza; Eric Hiler, Founder of Dulead; Matt Hunckler, Founder and CEO of Verge; Jared Ingold, Owner of Vardagen; Steve Loser, Assistant Principal at Fishers High School; Robert McDonald, Co-Founder of Brandery; Oscar Moralez, Managing Director of VisionTech Partners & VisionTech Angels; Polina Osherov, Editor in Chief of Pattern Magazine; Kris Parmelee, Co-Founder and CEO of Lectio; Jonathan Polak, Partner of Taft Law; John Qualls, President of Eleven Fifty Academy; Teresa Sabatine, Founder of The Jump Network; and, Cassie Stockamp, President of The Athenaeum Foundation. More speakers will be announced soon. Early bird ticket pricing is available now at $69.00. Advance sale general admission tickets will be $99.00 and at-the-door sales will be $129.00. Tickets are now available at FailFest is produced & presented by Launch Fishers and sponsored by Elevate Ventures, Nameless Catering, Duke Energy, The City of Fishers, Invest Hamilton County, Visit Hamilton County, HSE Schools, Indiana University, Barnes & Thornburg, Metonymy Media, Fight for Small, Iconic Digital Agency, and Inside Indiana Business. About Launch Fishers Launch Fishers is a 52,000 square foot launch pad for high-potential enterprises located in Fishers, Indiana. Created by John Wechsler in conjunction with the City of Fishers in 2012, Launch Fishers has grown to over 600 members in a wide array of industries and ranging from startup to expansion-stage companies. Launch Fishers increasingly serves as host for many statewide entrepreneurial support initiatives including Launch Indiana and The Indiana Coworking Passport. More at

The Grand Opening of the New Launch Fishers in Photos

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The Grand Opening of the New Launch Fishers was a huge success! Over 700 attendees showed for last Friday’s celebration. The evening was filled with food and drink from local businesses, live music and entertainment for the whole family. Didn’t get a chance to stop by? Check out these photos captured by photographer Brian Brosmer and the recap video created by 12 Stars Media. VIPsized The night began with a VIP event in our new theater space. Launch Fishers Founder, John Wechsler interviewed Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business and Scott Jones of Eleven Fifty Coding Academy. The three discussed the origins of Grow INdiana Media Ventures, the parent company of Inside INdiana Business, which was founded over 16 years ago.   RibbonSIZED John Wechsler, his daughter Grace and Launch Fishers board members cut the ribbon to signify the grand opening of the new Launch Fishers! The new facility spans 52,000 sq. ft. That's triple the size of the old space located in the basement of the Hamilton East Public Library.   CookiesSIZED Attendees enjoyed complimentary food and beverages from event sponsors like Sun King Brewery, Marco's Pizza, Nameless Catering and these cookies from Taylor's Bakery.   BalloonArtistSIZED The event was filled with activities for the entire family. The coloring station and balloon artist was a huge hit with the kiddos. And can't forget the snow cones provided by Kona Ice!   SuitesSIZED Launch Fishers member companies held meet-and-greets in their individual suites throughout the evening. This gave attendees the chance to see the various kinds of companies and members within our walls. If you stopped by the  Iconic Digital Agency suite (pictured) we sure hope you picked up a homemade whoopie pie!  
Thank you to all who helped celebrate the opening of our new home. It was great to feel the support of the Indiana entrepreneurial ecosystem and tech community as we head into the next chapter of the Launch Fishers story. We hope you'll stop by again soon!

AT&T Unveils Company’s First Engagement Center Located Within Coworking Space

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Launch Fishers chosen as site of AT&T Engagement Center modeled after Yankee Stadium and AT&T Park; location represents first of its kind in U.S. for coworking space. 

AT&T* today unveiled its new “AT&T Engagement Center” within the Launch Fishers coworking space in Fishers, Ind. Modeled after similar AT&T projects in Yankee Stadium in New York City and AT&T Park in San Francisco, it is the first in the United States created specifically for an entrepreneurial space.

At 52,000 square feet, Launch Fishers is Indiana’s largest coworking space for entrepreneurs working on startup, high-growth and high-potential enterprises. It is home to Eleven Fifty Coding Academy, Ball State University’s Entrepreneurship Center and has spurred the success of companies such as Bluebridge, Recovery Force and Agency 360. A nonprofit, Launch Fishers is focused primarily on drawing technology, developers and Internet-based businesses to the community. The AT&T Engagement Center provides entrepreneurs in Central Indiana with the opportunity to try out new devices, learn about emerging products and services and better utilize technology to help grow their businesses. Along with a wireless device charging station and continually updated video screens, the kiosk features a collaborative setting for entrepreneurs to interact with each other, as well as with company subject matter experts. “I’ve always been impressed with how AT&T seeks out ways to become more involved in the tech community in Indiana,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “This engagement center is just the latest example of their creativity and desire to boost small businesses’ success.” “When we were thinking of moving into our new, larger location in Fishers, AT&T immediately wanted to know how they could be a part of it,” said Launch Fishers Founder John Wechsler. “We’re excited that they’ve chosen to bring their expertise directly to our members, and that they continue to encourage Indiana’s entrepreneurial spirit.” In addition to the engagement center, AT&T is also the official fiber provider for Launch Fishers, powering the connectivity of hundreds of tech entrepreneurs at Gigabit speeds from this new location, which opened in March 2016. Launch Fishers is an AT&T Fiber Ready Building; it received that designation in November 2015. AT&T has also made two $25,000 contributions to the coworking space. A $25,000 AT&T Aspire contribution will help support the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship and its “Entrepreneurial Bootcamp” for local teens. A second $25,000 contribution will be used to help sponsor events and programming at the new facility. “Communications and technology fuel small businesses all across the country. We’re excited that an Indiana community is the first to welcome us into a coworking space,” said AT&T Indiana President Bill Soards. “We want to be where the action is, where we can directly interact with the men and women who are starting innovative businesses and help support them from launch. And this is certainly that place. “Launch Fishers is the ideal location for this new engagement center and we look forward to building new relationships and helping to grow Indiana’s tech community,” he added. At the AT&T Engagement Center, Launch Fishers members and visitors can expect:
  • Charging station for devices Device showcase
  • DIRECTV content Product and service Information
  • Tech talks Collaborative space
  • Lunch and learn sessions New product demonstrations
  • Information for developers AT&T Foundry/Lab information
  • It Can Wait events Opportunities for engagement
An Internet of Things (IoT) and Civic Hackathon, set for April 29, will be the first event the company will host in the new engagement center. This event will offer software developers and community leaders an opportunity to create technology-driven solutions for Indiana communities. Additional programming and events will occur regularly in the new engagement center. *AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. About AT&T AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed Internet and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider*. And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at and YouTube at

The Support Team Every Entrepreneur Needs

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The following guest post is written by Emily D. Tisdale. She is the Founder and CEO of LEAP for Women. Learn more about LEAP at the bottom of this post or on their website.  Like most business owners, I’m proud to be independent… but let’s be real: I couldn’t keep doing this without a support system of people who make it possible for me to do the work I love. They’re the folks whom many business owners can’t live without — and unfortunately, it can be all too easy for us to overlook them during the (occasional) craziness of running our businesses. Here are some of the people that we can’t live without… and how to keep them in our corner.  

A Supportive Family

I’m not the first to admit that entrepreneurs are tough to be with. The bull-headed persistence that helps us succeed despite tough odds can also be the same thing that make it difficult to live with us. I’m lucky: my husband gets what it means to be married to an entrepreneur. We’ve got two kiddos at home, and while they’re both too young to really understand what I do for a living, they know that my schedule can sometimes be a little bit crazy. How to Keep Them in Your Corner:  Schedule time to disconnect completely from your work — and stick to it. For a long time, my husband and kids got used to me working late nights and being perpetually “on the clock” for my business. (Yikes!) For me, the best way to ensure quality time with my family was to put a hard stop in my schedule where I absolutely had to quit working. I know it sounds simple, but I was surprised how often my “five more minutes, guys!” would turn into another hour of work.   2551754497_32e0a3a019_b  

Babysitters You Can Count On

Several years ago, I was still working full-time at my corporate job while trying to launch my business and wrap my head around the whole being-a-new-mom thing. Needless to say, my schedule was pretty crazy. Out of everything that was on my plate in a day, my budding consulting business could have been the most expendable item… Except that I had my very supportive parents nearby, and they were always ready to watch the baby. Whether they’re family, close friends, or paid care providers, having child care that you can trust is absolutely essential for your business and your sanity if you’re a business owner who just happens to be a parent, too. How to Keep Them In Your Corner: Saying “thank you” every day can do wonders to ensure that your caregivers know how much you appreciate them. But don’t stop there — little gifts at random times can do wonders to brighten someone’s day. And you don’t need to break the bank, either. For example, if you’re heading home from a meeting, why not stop by a coffee shop to grab your babysitter’s favorite latte?  

Professional Experts

When you’re in the market for an attorney, an accountant, or any external professional expertise, it’s important to find someone who gets you. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy. Finding an attorney who really understood my goals and appreciated my passion for entrepreneurship took some time. Same for my kick-butt accountant. But now I’m happy to say that I’m confident I can stick with them both for the long haul. There are a lot of things that you can DIY as an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning. And while I’m all for keeping overhead low, I can’t overstate how incredibly helpful it’s been to know experts who understand what it takes to keep a small business ticking. How to Keep Them in Your Corner: First things first… Make sure that you’ve found a professional ally that you can trust and that understands your goals. My accountant and attorney are both intelligent, driven ladies —  no wonder they understand what LEAP for Women is all about! Once you’ve established your working relationship, make sure to keep the lines of communication open. Be candid about any questions you have, even the “stupid” ones. Remember, they’re here to offer their expertise. Before we go, awesome entrepreneurial communities definitely deserve a special mention. Whether they meet online like LEAP for Women or offline like Launch Fishers, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to get personalized support. Membership to entrepreneurial communities can be an amazing investment in your business and your sanity. We all know that running a business means doing a lot of stuff on our own — from finances to marketing to networking, you’re probably used to wearing plenty of hats. Even so, let’s not forget to give props to our awesome support teams. The more we lean on them, the more important it is to show them exactly what they mean to us.    


…in real life. LEAP for Women is dedicated to supporting women business owners at every stage of the game. Support, connection, and networking at a national level starts right here. We want your wildest, pie-in-the-sky, entrepreneurial dreams to come true! We're proud to offer friends of Launch Fishers a 15% discount on their first year of LEAP membership. (Use code LAUNCH15 at checkout.)