Flashstarts Responds To Plug and Play’s Arrival in Cleveland
We’ve been covering the Cleveland startup ecosystem since the initial launch of FlashStarts in 2013. Serial entrepreneur and FlashStarts CEO and Founder Charles Stack, along with his team have been working tirelessly to renew a sense of entrepreneurial spirit in Cleveland and across the state.
When we talk about startups in terms of geography, it’s often lists comparing cities, but if you were to take the innovation hubs in Ohio; Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, and clump them together, the collective ecosystem would rival those in Texas, New York and California. A lot of that is because of the in the trenches, on the ground works folks like Stack have been doing across the region.
The Global Center In Cleveland, was do for a big overhaul, one that would spur the Cleveland startup ecosystem even further. Several startup organizations put in proposals of the best way to utilize this opportunity at the Global Center.
It was announced last week that BioEnterprise is relocating to the Global Center. Along with that came an announcement that California based Plug and Play, a for profit accelerator, is partnering with Jumpstart and the Cleveland Clinic to launch a new three year healthcare accelerator. While this is a great opportunity for healthcare startups across the region, does it undermine the efforts of FlashStarts and Cleveland200?
Taking a step back four years to 2013 when Charles Stack first started talking about FlashStarts. Like many startup community leaders he had plans that sounded grandiose at first. He looked beyond seed funding. When Stack spoke he wanted to provide entrepreneurs with access to a big fund, we’re talking 7, 8 maybe 9 figures. He wanted to create a mentor network for startups and a place that companies could grow even beyond a typical accelerator.
Guess what. He did all of those things. The Cleveland region has over $160 million dollars in new seed and early stage funding. Techstar’s Chris Heivly recently confirmed that this is the largest group of regional seed funds, not in the United States, but the world. (again one of those bat shit crazy things Stack talked about in the beginning).
“In the interest of full disclosure, Flashstarts also submitted a proposal to assist with the revival of the Global Center. Our pitch was to broaden the focus of the GC beyond just healthcare, and to create a regional innovation hub along the lines of what Chicago has done at 1871.” Stack said in an email to supporters.
We’re confident that Cleveland could easily have a space that rivals 1871, the Capital Factory and even the newest iteration of 1776.
“The new player in this story is Plug and Play. They are a for-profit, private, family-owned, California-based accelerator. Their business is based on connecting large corporations with innovative startups using the accelerator model. The revenue comes from money paid by the large corporations. The focus for the Cleveland location (their second in the US) will be on health care….” Stack said.
FlashStarts, Stack and the Cleveland200 always put Cleveland above all else so they are welcoming the arrival of the for-profit California based Plug and Play. They’re also helping to actively recruit Techstars to the region and continue with their goal to launch and support 200 Cleveland based startups.