Award-Winning FailFest Returns for Second Year

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Launch Fishers announced today their popular FailFest event will return this winter. The one-day conference will celebrate failure’s role in innovation at Tom Wood Aviation on December 9.

Launch Fishers recently received international recognition from the International Economic Development Council for FailFest 2014 and the supportive role the event plays in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship.  

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FailFest 2015 includes an all-new list of speakers headlined by Jim Hallett, Scott McCorkle and a host of other top entrepreneurial leaders. Hallett is Chairman and CEO of KAR Auction Services and was named national EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. McCorkle serves as CEO, Marketing Cloud, Salesforce and previously led technology and strategy for ExactTarget and was VP of IBM’s customer relationship management product group.  

“The turnout for our inaugural event in 2014 was so amazing that we decided on the spot it needed to be an annual event,” said John Wechsler, Founder and CEO of Launch Fishers. “Moving the event to Tom Wood Aviation at the Indianapolis Metro Airport in Fishers will add an extra twist of excitement this year.”

Full list of speakers this year includes: Jim Brown formerly of Haven, John McDonald of CloudOne, Scotty Wise of Scotty’s Brewhouse, Financial Commentator Pete “The Planner” Dunn , Chris Byers of Formstack, Santiago Jaramillo of Bluebridge Digital, Brand Coach Thaddeus Rex, Jason Tennenhouse of 10 IN HOUSE Strategy & Design, Katie Culp of KSM Location Advisors, revenue and go-to-market expert Jenny Vance, Dante Ventresca of Theater of Inclusion, Brad Wisler of Sproutbox, Gabe Connell of Hotbox Pizza, Dr. Allen Bourff of HSE Schools, Jay Love of Bloomerang, Jim Hallett of KAR Auction Services, Dave Wortman of Diagnotes, Bobby Logan of K12 Mobility, Danielle McDowell of The Speakeasy, Ellen Rosenthal of Conner Prairie, Anderson Schoenrock of Memory Ventures and Scott McCorkle of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.  


A look back at FailFest 2014

“Like every good startup, CloudOne has experienced many failures, including at least two potentially catastrophic ones. I can’t wait to share that story at FailFest and, more importantly, how these failures directly led to our explosive growth and customer success," said John McDonald, CEO of CloudOne.

Early bird ticket pricing is available now at $79.00. 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 Taft Stettinius & Hollister, Elevate Ventures, Launch Indiana, Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Indiana Small Business Development Center, Visit Hamilton County, Invest Hamilton County, The City of Fishers, AT&T and Metonymy Media.

About Launch Fishers: 

Launch Fishers is a 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 530 members in a wide array of industries and ranging from startup to expansion-stage companies. More at

Press Contact:

Cassie Conklin

7 Launch Way

Fishers, IN 46038

(317) 537-7939


Launch Fishers Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

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Launch Fishers received a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2014 FailFest in the category of Special Event for communities with populations of 25,000-200,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Monday, October 5, during the 2015 IEDC Annual Conference, which was held October 4-7, in Anchorage, Alaska.

“From localized community projects, to large scale endeavors, economic development efforts have played a vital role in the global economy,” said JoAnn Crary, CEcD, Chair of the International Economic Development Council and President of Saginaw Future Inc. “As we address new and longstanding challenges, these efforts continue to take on even greater importance. The award serves as a salute to pacesetting organizations like Launch Fishers for leading the charge.”

The 2014 FailFest was a day-long conference for innovation-driven entrepreneurs that inspired, informed and celebrated the role failure has in success, hosted by Launch Fishers. The latest in a series of initiatives to support the various entrepreneurs that call the City of Fishers and Indiana home, FailFest welcomed Indiana’s best and brightest business leaders, entrepreneurs and supportive elected officials to share their personal failures that enabled them to evolve, regroup and achieve greater success. Held November 19, 2014, FailFest was attended by more than 350 budding, serial and veteran entrepreneurs that participated in panel discussions and presentations.


A shot of the crowd during FailFest 2014

“FailFest was conceived as a way to celebrate the role of failure in innovation,” said John Wechsler, Founder of Launch Fishers and creator of FailFest. “The road to success is paved by failure and anything we can do to change the failure culture and enable learning from past experiences is a good thing.”

Recipients of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards demonstrate to an experienced panel of judges that they are at the forefront of the economic development profession. They are recognized as the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

About FailFest

FailFest was created to celebrate the role of failure in innovation. The inaugural event in 2014 drew 350 attendees to hear 21 speakers from a wide range of backgrounds including Inc. 500 Founders, a public CEO, an Olympic Champion and senior elected officials. More at

About Launch Fishers

Launch Fishers is a launch pad for high-potential enterprises located in Fishers, Indiana. Created by John Wechsler in conjunction with the Town of Fishers in 2012, Launch Fishers has grown to 530 members in a wide array of industries and ranging from startup to expansion-stage companies. More at

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,600 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.  From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.

5 Things We Learned at the 2015 Indiana Coworking Passport Summit

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The second annual Indiana Coworking Passport Summit (ICPS) took place last week here at Launch Fishers. The ICPS serves to bring together teams from each of the 32 coworking spaces on the Indiana Coworking Passport for best practices exchanges and networking. The day was filled with speakers like Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Gerry Dick, but we also learned a lot from entrepreneurs like Matt Wyatt of Recovery Force. The day was full of insight that we can all learn from, despite our role in the coworking world. We highlight some of our favorite bits below.

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Coworking breeds “healthy distractions”

Matt Wyatt spoke on the ways coworking has contributed to the success of his company, Recovery Force.

Matt talked about the way that conversation as a distraction in a standard work environment can be unhealthy for the business and be counter-productive. But conversation as a distraction in a coworking space can lead to new ideas and new connections.

“This type of environment lends itself to healthy discussion when it’s appropriate,” Matt said.


“We’re all smarter than any of us”

If we had given an award for “Best Quote of the Day” it would have gone to Jason Tennenhouse, co-founder of MatchBOX Coworking Studio. Jason led the best practices workshop along with Launch Fishers founder, John Wechsler.

“We’re all smarter than any of us,” Jason said to kick-off the best practices session.

And how right he is. The summit allowed the brains behind coworking spaces to collaborate on ways to improve services provided to members and, as a result, propel the entrepreneurial culture being created in Indiana.


John Wechsler and Jason Tennenhouse


Indiana is becoming home to more and more tech companies

Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business spoke to the attendees about the growth of tech companies in Indiana. The list was impressive!  He rattled of the names of growing tech companies that were started here in Indiana as well as companies that have moved their headquarters to Indiana from San Francisco and companies expanding from New York City and Chicago to Indiana. If you questioned the growth of tech in our state before Gerry’s talk, there was no questioning it afterward.


The state and its support of entrepreneurship

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann spoke on the state’s support of entrepreneurship and fielded questions from the audience. It was easy to sense her enthusiasm for small business.  “If we’re going to have the success that this state can have, then efforts like this are needed,” she said.

BONUS: Check out the map of coworking spaces and incubators around the state on the ISBDC website here. 


Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann


It’s “Coworking” not “Co-working”

Last, but certainly not least, we decided to put an end to the “coworking” vs. “co-working” debate. The group decided the word “coworking” should always be spelled without the hyphen. So take this as your official invitation to jump on the “coworking” bandwagon!


To learn more about the Indiana Coworking Passport, check out the website here.  

Launch Fishers Interns: Meet Caleb!

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Hello! I’m Caleb Ostrander and I will be joining the Launch Fishers team as their fall intern. I just began my final semester at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion studying finance and business administration. I am passionate about community and economic development, entrepreneurship and nonprofits. Needless to say, I am stoked to be able to join the Launch Fishers community. In addition to my studies, I enjoy scuba diving, biking and reading. I also love to hear people’s ideas, stories and passions. So feel free to stop by if you see me around!  

Caleb Ostrander is a Senior at Indiana Wesleyan University


Indiana Wesleyan partners with Launch Fishers to open Business Center in central Indiana

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MARION, IN – Indiana Wesleyan University has partnered with Launch Fishers to establish The Refinery Business Center in Marion, Indiana.  The Refinery will be a 6,000sf co-working space for entrepreneurs, non-profits, small businesses, students, and all other types of independent professionals.  Marion native and founding partner, Shelby Bowen, said he believes The Refinery will be a great addition to the thriving entrepreneurial culture in central Indiana. “The Refinery team is excited to work with residents, students, and visitors, of all ages and trades,” said Bowen, “and to provide extraordinary local and state resources for entrepreneurs to continue to start and grow businesses in central Indiana.”  The Refinery will offer co-working desks, conference rooms, private offices, Wi-Fi, a café area, patio seating, and other professional office amenities for members and guests as well as educational programming for new entrepreneurs.  Bowen said the center will also house a large, versatile classroom intended for entrepreneurial-oriented youth and adult programming. Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 12.46.15 PM John Wechsler, founder of Launch Fishers and adviser on the project, said that Marion is a great place for an entrepreneurial center because of its central location between Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis, along with being the home to Indiana Wesleyan’s main campus.  "Drawing on the strengths of proximity to major metro areas and university presence, The Refinery will be well-positioned to be a valued part of the Indiana Co-working Passport network.”  Carol Brown, Associate Dean of Life Calling & Career, said the University continues to invest in initiatives that have a broad impact for their students and the communities they serve.”  “Indiana Wesleyan University is eager to support economic development in Indiana by encouraging our students to work within communities to provide world-changing life experiences,” said Brown.  Indiana Wesleyan plans to support the program in a variety of ways, including technical support, facilitating educational programs, university-to-business networking projects, and paid internships through the Lilly Endowment Grant, called “Accelerate Indiana.” According to Bowen, The Refinery Business Center was made possible in large part by a grant from the Community Foundation of Grant County.  “They have been a community partner in every sense of the word,” said Bowen.  Dawn Brown, Executive Director of the Foundation, said The Refinery was another great way to further the mission of the Foundation.  “The Refinery speaks to one of the Community Foundation’s core purposes, which is to connect people, resources, and causes to promote sustainable impact towards the betterment of Grant County,” said Brown. The Refinery, located at 2301 S. Western Ave, is scheduled to open September 24th.  You can learn more about The Refinery at or by contacting Shelby Bowen at or (317) 670-7997. About IWU: Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church. The University, founded in 1920, is committed to global liberal arts and professional education. Nearly 3,000 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion, Indiana. Nearly 12,500 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online. About Launch Fishers: Launch Fishers is a launch pad for high-potential enterprises. Created by John Wechsler and Mayor Scott Fadness, Launch Fishers has grown to over 500 members in a wide array of industries ranging from startup to expansion-stage companies. More at About the Foundation: The Foundation is an advocate for local philanthropy and dedicated to improving the lives of people in the Grant County area.  Since 1984, the Foundation has been working with donors to establish charitable funds and has supported non-profit organizations through a variety of grantmaking efforts.  Learn more at

Member Spotlight: Eric Hensley of GitHub

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Eric Hensley is a Launch Fishers member and employed by GitHub

Today we live in a world where “every business is in the software business”. Eric Hensley works for  GitHub, a company that helps facilitate the software in this new world. When different software developers want to collaborate on a project the default tool they use to keep everything organized is GitHub. If the software project is public or open-sourced GitHub is completely free to use, and is currently being utilized by over 1,000,000 projects! As GitHub, and others, have famously said: “software is eating the world” and it seems like GitHub is selling shovels to the gold diggers of the 21st century. Eric is a current employee of GitHub and works with selling the enterprise version of GitHub to companies both large and small that write and publish different software. Eric originally went to Ball State University and then worked with software sales at notable companies such as AT&T, Oracle and Microsoft. After working there for a while he got “the itch to work for someone a little more cutting edge”. GitHub then reached out to him proactively and the more he talked to GitHub he realized it would be a great opportunity. Eric now works off-and-on between his home, the road and Launch Fishers. He originally heard of Launch Fishers through his neighbor and he likes it because he is able to be in a space with a lot of energy, creativity and thought leadership.

Internship Recap: Tanner Brumbarger

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This summer I spent my weekdays working at Launch Fishers as a participant in IWU’s Accelerate Indiana Internship Program, part of the Lilly Endowment’s effort to halt the ‘brain drain’ of talent in Indiana. As a participant in the program, Indiana Wesleyan has provided over a dozen interns to small startup businesses across Indiana in an effort to provide talent to startups in need, as well as develop bridges between college students and startup communities. As a participant, my work at Launch Fishers included day to day management of the 16,000 square foot coworking facility, while assisting in daily support for Launch Fishers members. Additionally, I developed and executed events designed to foster community both inside and outside of Launch Fishers, editing marketing and educational content for Launch Fishers’ website designed at educating the public on the concept of coworking and collaboration. But what I really enjoyed, is making sure all of the organizational pieces of Launch Fishers is up to date, specifically when it came to managing the 500+ entrepreneurs who call Launch Fishers home. So I researched trends & reports on the concept of coworking, acceleration and incubation among startup coworking spaces, while building a statistical report on Launch Fishers' member retainment rate, member diversity and member growth since Launch Fishers’ start. After that baseline was developed, I designed a self-sustaining system to keep track of the process after I left at the end of the summer.
Tanner Brumbarger begins his Sophomore year with Indiana Wesleyan University this fall

Tanner Brumbarger begins his Sophomore year with Indiana Wesleyan University this fall

  One of the most underrated parts of working at a place like Launch Fishers is the community that one can experience. In this role, I made strides in maintaining my own professional network, while growing it exponentially through my presence at Launch Fishers. This takeaway is not only paying dividends this summer, but I know it will be tremendously helpful next summer and beyond as I look to develop specialized skills and connections. My professional goals, at the moment, are still undetermined. I don’t know quite what I want to do ... or even where I want to do it. However, I have a growing interest in marketing, a knack for project management and a thirst for learning product development. Ultimately my main goal is to find a team of great people to work with. Working with great people interests me and  brings me happiness. Great people make great work, therefore my goal is to work with great people.   Intern Q&A: Q: How do you see your internship during college preparing you for the workforce? A: I think the best thing my internship has done for me is put me into a position to succeed, both through flexible work schedules, challenging ideas and a great opportunity it network. Q: Will you share one or two of your most memorable internship experiences? (i.e. accomplishment, funny story, learning moment, etc.) A: Probably one of my favorite Launch Fishers memories was an event celebrating entrepreneurship. Nearly 600 people showed up at our new location, eager to learn more from other entrepreneurs, while also seeing the future of Launch Fishers. That was a bonding experience for our staff - even if it was exhausting to put on. Q: Why should college students participate in internships? A: College students should participate in their respective communities as much as possible. Interning at a startup during college is a great opportunity to do that. Startups tend to be very involved in their community, usually for survival. Plus, most startups are in a position where they need to be adaptive and forward thinking, lest they fall behind and fail. College students should jump on this opportunity because of the immense benefits that a startup internship has. Q: What advice do you have for students that want to get the most out of their internship? A: Get out of bed. That means two things. It’s a figure of speech, but those who put in the most effort will get the most reward. What you put in is what you’ll get out. Perhaps you may not remain at that particular organization, but you will quickly know what you want to do and how you want to get there. Q: Who are some key influences in your life? A: There are so many, but the popular figures who stimulate me: C.S. Lewis, Roger Scruton, Peter Thiel and my father. When reading the The Weight of Glory by Lewis over spring break I stumbled across this quote: “If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work.  The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come." This has been my summer mantra: work hardest at what you do, one step at a time. But who inspires me on a daily basis? Those who are willing to meet me at some obscure hole in the wall in Broad Ripple at 7AM to talk you through a challenge. Those are the people who I am thankful for and it’s these people who influence me the most.