How to Start an Internet of Things Company

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As we prepare to cut the ribbon on The Indiana IoT Lab, we expect to see a range of IoT innovators.  From the classic "backpack and an idea" entrepreneur to corporate innovation teams looking for an edge as they future-proof their products.  I recently published a story w/ Entrepreneur Magazine with some thoughts on what it takes to launch an IoT enterprise.  Let me know what you think! You can find me on Twitter.

Launch Fishers to Host Fireside Chat with Author and Pando Founder Sarah Lacy

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We are excited to host a unique event with one of the nation’s top authors and speakers on the topic of women in technology. Sarah Lacy, author of A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy, will be at Launch Fishers for a fireside chat and Q&A on Thursday, March 1st at 5:30 p.m. Lacy is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief at, an investigative news site for the tech industry.

Lacy has covered technology news in Silicon Valley for two decades and was one of the first to report on the misogyny and harassment allegations at tech titan Uber. Her book urges women to fight for equality in their personal and professional lives.

The cost of this event is underwritten by iLAB, LLC, ClearObject, BLAST Media, Slane Capital Partners, Ice Miller, and Launch Fishers. A limited number of tickets are available for this event. For more information and to purchase a ticket, go to

Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers Announces Founding Organizations, Sets Grand Opening for March 21

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February 8, 2018 (Fishers, Ind.) -- One of the nation’s first public-private Internet of Things (IoT) labs, The Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers, announced today the founding organizations that will establish operations at the Lab’s dedicated office suites. The announcement marks a major milestone ahead of its grand opening on March 21.

“Our economy is at a critical time where innovation must happen in the heart of Indiana’s core industries: manufacturing, agriculture, and distribution,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “By creating a physical space to allow innovators and entrepreneurs to come together with industry leaders, Fishers will lead the way for innovation in our state and beyond.”

The Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers, announced in February 2017, has garnered national attention for being on the leading edge of IoT innovation. The Lab features eight dedicated office suites to provide private spaces for IoT firms to establish operations and fifty members have signed on to use the Lab’s co-working and prototyping space. General memberships are still available along with dedicated desks and work spaces for smaller teams and individual IoT entrepreneurs.

“This has been truly a collaborative effort from the public and private sectors to establish a leading IoT innovation hub,” said Indiana IoT Lab Founder and CEO John Wechsler. “Interest in the IoT Lab is high right now, and we are seeing a healthy appetite by corporate innovators for collaboration with IoT subject matter experts affiliated with the Indiana IoT Lab.”

Founding dedicated suite members include:

Indiana UniversityAs a key university partner, Indiana University’s presence at the IoT Lab will provide a unique platform for its faculty, students, and alumni to connect to companies around the state to innovate the future of industry and the economy.

ClearObjectAt ClearObject, user-centric IoT solutions are designed to empower custom, connected, collaborative experiences… just as the IoT Lab is doing for the state.

Outside SourceOutside Source designs applications for connected home brands. They help product managers launch apps & cloud integrations for their smart devices.

Flexware InnovationOur mission is to accelerate innovation within manufacturing and our community by harnessing #IoT and the collaboration of The Indiana IoT Lab in Fishers.

Rook SecurityRook Security protects organizations from the constantly evolving threat of cyberattack in this new age of hyper-connectivity.

ShopperKraftShopperKraft’s Dezign VR/AR cloud based platform allows IoT data to be overlaid over real world objects using AR, and uses VR to better visualize IoT data within immersive VR environments.

Novel BitsNovel Bits helps companies and developers learn how to connect devices with Bluetooth Low Energy technology via training and consulting services.

Volktek Volktek products help business customers build reliable network applications for their clients and inspire them to develop new business models for the expanding market.

The Indiana IoT Lab - Fishers has received broad support from the education and private sectors through sponsorship and membership commitments. Through their contributions, sponsors will provide financial, equipment, and programming support. Sponsors include:

The City of Fishers, Allegion, Indiana University, Comcast, KSM Consulting, Beck's Hybrids, Foxio, Arrow Electronics, ClearObject, Mesh Systems, AT&T, Glassboard, Rook Security, Old National Bank Foundation, InGen, Iconic Digital, Developertown, Blast Media, Vai Logic, Flexware Innovation, Cage Campus, Innovatemap, Klipsch, Jasper Group Brands, Baldauf Group, Stanley Security, ocelli, Vibenomics, and Nameless Catering.

“The future success of Indiana’s economy will depend on engaging Hoosiers in innovation-driven enterprises, and the Indiana IoT Lab will play a crucial role in that effort,” said Indiana University First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie. “Indiana University is pleased to be a key university partner of the Indiana IoT Lab, which provides a unique platform for our students, faculty, staff and alumni to interact with companies across the state. By providing a collaborative space for Hoosiers to pursue essential technology solutions, this facility will improve on-the-ground operations and strengthen our state’s competitive advantage across a spectrum of industries.”

The public is welcome to the March 21 grand opening event. Registration to the grand opening event is requested at Innovators, developers, and entrepreneurs are invited to the #IoTCivicHack, April 20-21, focused on applying technology and IoT innovation for first responders. More information can be found at

About Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers

The Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers is designed to bring the emerging IoT sector together as a lab for innovation and collaboration. Entrepreneurs and businesses will have the space they need to bring key components of IoT solutions together including design thinking, cloud computing, edge technology, and software development. Through the Lab, entrepreneurs and businesses will launch the technology solutions needed to meet the world’s growing tech needs.

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