On Monday night, I presented to City Council our 18-month and 5 year plan to keep LaunchHouse in Shaker Heights and at the center of NEO’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today I come to you with disappointing news; on Tuesday I received a call from Mayor Leiken notifying me that the City of Shaker Heights has decided to move forward with transitioning LaunchHouse’s building over to the Shaker Heights Development Corporation (SHDC). The SHDC then preemptively sent a press release announcing their take over of the building with no input from us on the release or the information that they provide to the media. It is disappointing that we were characterized as the ones making the decision to leave instead of the other way around—that the city declined to extend our lease.
This unfortunate news shocked and saddened me because following Monday night’s presentation I felt that there was hope and opportunity to continue our partnership with the City. In fact, we were looking forward to continuing our growth with the City of Shaker Heights as it has always been our goal to continue to create a vibrant entrepreneurial hub on Lee Road.
I am proud of the accomplishments that we have been able to achieve, not only for LaunchHouse, but for the City, during our five year residency in Shaker Heights, and for that, we’re grateful.
Some highlights include:
LaunchHouse has invested in 65 companies that have raised 28 Million dollars in follow on funding
More than 8,000 people have been to LaunchHouse
Provided 2,500 hours of business counseling
Have held more than 500 free community events
More than 200 companies have been members of the coworking space
More than 50 jobs have been created from LaunchHouse portfolio and member companies
Tenants have created more than $550,000 in new payroll
2011, started Northeast Ohio’s first coworking space
2012, started Northeast Ohio’s first formalized accelerator program
2013, started Ohio’s first high school entrepreneurial accelerator program
2013, awarded TeamNEO Economic Development Awards for Fostering Entrepreneurship for the creation of the LaunchHouse Accelerator (LHX)
2013, brought high speed fiber Internet to Lee Road
2013, created the first entrepreneurial homes in Cleveland with the City of Shaker and the Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland
2015, started Northeast Ohio’s first hardware accelerator program
While this news is disappointing, we are now left with the unfortunate choice to determine our next move. Our goal is to have the City release us from our non-compete agreement and find a new home. We have no choice but to find a new home for LaunchHouse and this community. We appreciate your patience and continued support as we look forward.
I thank the City of Shaker Heights for their support over these past five years, and I want to wish them and the Shaker Heights Development Corporation all the best with their future endeavors. It’s now time to go (Launch)house hunting!