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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!



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We ended with new relationships formed and lessons learned from among the 300 registered guests, speakers and volunteers.

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Our volunteers ranged from high schoolers in our Launch Fishers High School Fellowship to Orr Fellows interested in a day of service and growth.

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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.

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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!

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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 philnatepaint@gmail.com.

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.

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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.us.

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 LaunchFishers.com.

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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 http://about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

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.

 

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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.

 

 

WOMEN + BUSINESS OWNERSHIP

…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.)

A Monumental Month: March 2016 In Review

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March was definitely full of madness here at Launch Fishers. And by “madness” we mean exciting announcement after exciting announcement. It began with the move to our new location and wrapped up with news on AT&T’s Aspire contribution to our high school fellowship program. Feeling like you missed out on a lot last month? No worries! We’ve piled all the action from March into a few simple clicks below.

The New Launch Fishers is Open for Business

Inside INdiana Business to Locate Bureau, Studio at Launch Fishers

RSVP for the Grand Opening of the New Launch Fishers

Fishers Courts, Wins Technology Businesses

AT&T Aspire Contribution Fuels Launch Fishers High School Fellowship Program

Launch Fishers High School Fellowship Applications Now Being Accepted

Now that you’re all caught up, be sure to keep an eye out for exciting things coming soon like Lemonade Day, the AT&T #IoTCivicHack and monthly CoderDojo events.

AT&T Aspire Contribution Fuels Launch Fishers High School Fellowship Program

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The Launch Fishers High School Fellowship program will return this year backed by an AT&T Aspire contribution of $25,000. The funding will enable Launch Fishers to expand supporting technology and infrastructure for the program as it enters its second year of serving Fishers-area students.

AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire drives innovation in education – through technology, social innovation and relationships – to ensure all students have the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.   Through Aspire, the company has already passed the $250 million mark in its plan to invest $350 million in education between 2008 and 2017.

“Education is the best investment we can make to ensure our new hires start day one with the skills they need,” said Bill Soards, President of AT&T Indiana.  “Through AT&T Aspire, we are promoting student success in school and beyond.  It’s one more way we are using the power of our network to build a better tomorrow.”

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“AT&T’s support of Launch Fishers and the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship enables us to significantly expand the programming we can offer to Fishers-area students,” said John Wechsler, Founder & CEO of Launch Fishers.

2016 marks the second year of the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship, which originated as a partnership between the City of Fishers and Launch Fishers. The program, now funded by the City of Fishers and AT&T,  accepts a group of entrepreneurial-minded students to participate in a week-long bootcamp held at Launch Fishers. Students learn from accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders during the bootcamp portion of the program. Following the bootcamp, students participate in interviews with host companies and are placed into summer internships.  

Student and host company applications are now being accepted for the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship at www.launchfishers.com/hsfellowship.

Learn more about Launch Fishers at www.launchfishers.com, and about AT&T Aspire here. You can also find Launch Fishers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Inside INdiana Business to Locate Bureau, Studio at Launch Fishers

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Grow INdiana Media Ventures, LLC, the parent company of the powerful Inside INdiana Business platform of properties, has announced plans to establish a bureau and studio production facilities at the new Launch Fishers facility in Hamilton County. The expansion will include branded office space, production capabilities and a variety of studio options to produce expanded, real-time content for Inside INdiana Business properties.

“We are very excited to expand the Inside INdiana Business brand to the epicenter of the state’s coworking revolution in a city that is quickly gaining a national reputation for innovation,” said Grow INdiana Media Ventures President Gerry Dick. “Our Launch Fishers location will be important to the continued growth of our brand and our ability to tell Indiana’s exciting innovation story.”

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Grow INdiana Media Ventures will maintain its headquarters in downtown Indianapolis and continue to produce INdiana Business with Gerry Dick on its set in the studios of WFYI, through a partnership that dates back more than 18 years.

Founded in 2012, Launch Fishers has grown from humble beginnings in the basement of the local library into the state’s largest coworking location and a model for communities statewide seeking to create environments where entrepreneurship and innovation can flourish.

“It’s truly amazing what we can accomplish when everyone gets behind a common vision,” said Launch Fishers Founder and CEO John Wechsler. “By partnering with Gerry Dick and his award-winning team, we feel like we are taking another step forward in helping make Fishers a smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial city.”

The March 7th move to a 52,000 sq. ft. facility in the Northeast Commerce Park in Fishers is in response to the remarkable growth of Launch Fishers to include over 550 members and more than 300 companies.

In addition to providing space for entrepreneurs, Launch Fishers strives to develop entrepreneurial capacity through programs like Launch Indiana, the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship and the Indiana Coworking Passport.

Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, the state’s most-watched local business program, will feature reports from Launch Fishers as part of its weekly Inside INnovation segment, powered by AT&T. The Launch Fishers studio will also serve as an important hub for interviews and features on entrepreneurs, innovative businesses and thought leaders from throughout the state. The content will be featured across the entire IIB platform.

”Fishers is honored and excited to have one of the most respected figures in Indiana business choose to be a part of our entrepreneurial city story,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness.

IIB will also provide Launch Fishers with a streaming content feed of real-time Indiana technology news, including a weekly “What’s on Tap” feature, presented by Sun King Brewing, that will also be streamed to the brewer’s tasting rooms in downtown Indianapolis and Fishers.

“It has been exciting to watch Launch Fishers grow from idea to launch pad for innovation in three short years,” said Dick. “We see this as the start of an important, long-term partnership that provides us a front row seat for ‘what’s next’ in Indiana.”

The New Launch Fishers is Open for Business

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The new Launch Fishers facility located at 12175 Visionary Way in Fishers officially opened for business today. The new 52,000 square foot facility will now be home to Launch Fishers’ member base made up of more than 550+ individuals and 300+ companies.

Features of the new facility include 13 rentable office suites, an increased workspace for members, additional dedicated desk spaces and a larger coffee shop complete with booth seating. The building will also include 18 meeting rooms for members to utilize as well as conference space that can accommodate events with up to 150 attendees.

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Here is one section of the coworking floor. The glassed in areas are rentable office suites.

 

Launch Fishers CEO John Wechsler commented, “we are excited to have a larger footprint with which to continue our work. We have more space and new amenities for our members to continue to grow and advance their entrepreneurial dreams.”

The future of the building holds a few surprises as well. In the coming months look for a bistro with food service that can also be used as event space and a theater that will seat up to 150 people. Fishers has also applied for Certified Tech Park status with the State of Indiana, a move that would direct incremental tax revenue within the district towards infrastructure to support the innovation economy in the area.

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Here is a shot of the dedicated desk area. Members can pay an additional $150/month for a desk assigned solely to him/her.

 

“The opening of our new Launch Fishers facility is the next step in creating our smart, vibrant, entrepreneurial city, and I could not be more excited or optimistic,” commented Fishers Mayor, Scott Fadness.

Other notable features of the building include “fiber ready” designation by AT&T with a full 1 gig fiber connection and an innovative Power of Ethernet (PoE) lighting system by Hoosier startup Platformatics.

Tours of the new facility will begin on Wednesday March 9 and will happen between the hours of Noon and 2:00p.m. each day.

Find out more about Launch Fishers at www.launchfishers.com. You can also find Launch Fishers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.