Happy Valley LaunchBox graduates summer 2017 startup cohort

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Happy Valley LaunchBox hosted a community event for five startups graduating from its business startup accelerator program on Aug. 8 in downtown State College. The graduates join 26 other startups that have gone through the accelerator since it opened in February 2016.

Lee Erickson, chief amplifier at Happy Valley LaunchBox, said this summer’s cohort had more community members than ever before with a mix of ages, backgrounds and passions.

“We’re celebrating the completion of our fifth accelerator program tonight. To date, 31 teams have completed the program and 65 percent are still up and running. Considering that statistically nine out of 10 startups fail, we’re optimistic that our program, professional services and network of experts have increased our startups’ chances of success,” she said.

The five startups that completed the 10-week program this summer are:

Ardor & Forge — Watches for people who are always ready for adventure. Its watches are rugged enough to wear camping or hiking on the weekend and stylish enough to wear to the workplace on Monday morning.

BOSS Healthy Journey — An individualized daily workout and diet management mobile app that helps individuals who desire to lose 50 or more pounds to begin and maintain an exercise routine.

Embrace the Space — High visibility products for cyclists that increase rider safety and driver awareness. Embrace the Space cultivates a healthier relationship between cyclists and motor vehicles through its products and education.

Node Farms — An online platform that facilitates the sale and delivery of local farmers’ market goods.

Sleuth Tiny Homes — Customized tiny homes for those dissatisfied with conventional housing options.

Zack Rackovan, founder of Ardor & Forge, said LaunchBox helped fill in gaps in his business plan, define his customers’ needs and develop a go-to-market strategy.

“Without participating in the LaunchBox accelerator program, I’m pretty confident I would have hundreds of watches sitting in my attic collecting dust, and credit card debt collecting interest,” he said. “I feel like I went through a 2-year degree program in 10 weeks. I still have a ton of work to do in order to see my idea to fruition, but I now have a plan for how to get there, resources to help me when I get stuck and validated confidence that I am on the right track for success.”

Jeffrey Kern, founder of BOSS Healthy Journey, already has BOSS Running available on the App Store and plans to launch an Android application soon. He credits LaunchBox for helping him not be too hard on himself if an idea fails.

“An idea can fail for multiple reasons. There isn’t a market for it. It isn’t economically viable. But there's a silver lining — you learn from them, change trajectory and move forward in a different direction,” he said.

Happy Valley LaunchBox was created to provide no-cost services to Happy Valley entrepreneurs. It is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. For more information visit LaunchBox.psu.edu.

Last Updated August 09, 2017