BlackBookHR Awarded $1.2 M CALF Loan from Ohio Third Frontier

The Ohio Third Frontier has awarded a $1.2 million loan to BlackbookHR, a company that delivers award-winning HR SaaS solutions to help companies measure employee engagement and retain their best team members. The money comes from the Commercial Acceleration Loan Fund (CALF), which helps early stage companies, that are poised for growth, speed the commercialization of their product and bring them into the marketplace.

“We are supporting the problem-solvers and businesses that are building a new Ohio,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “Our investments are the foundation, creating new opportunities for Ohio technology companies that could save lives and change the way we work and live.”

“It’s gratifying to do business in a state that believes in supporting and incubating companies with high growth potential,” said BlackbookHR CEO Chris Powell.

The loan will help BlackbookHR accelerate product development of its RNA, Presto, and Sense products, increase the speed to market of new product features, and scale sales.

Read the full release here.

New Investment: StreamSpot

We are proud to announce CincyTech’s latest portfolio company investment: StreamSpot. StreamSpot enables simple, high quality live and on-demand streaming from churches, synagogues and events, has closed a round of seed financing. CincyTech and Connetic Ventures co-led the round, with participation from OCEAN Capital. The funding amount is undisclosed.

StreamSpot was founded by Brian and Laura Duerring. The couple met while working in television news, he in broadcast operations and she in new media. The idea for StreamSpot struck when the two were engaged and their pastor was late for a meeting with them.

“We developed StreamSpot to solve a problem for a single church in Milford, Ohio,” recounted Brian Duerring, co-founder and CEO of StreamSpot. “Our pastor was returning from a nursing home, where he’d been playing back his sermons on a tape recorder. While it was a radical idea at the time, we offered to outfit the church with live streaming capability for those who could not attend services, due to difficulty or distance. We knew the process had to be simple, with minimal action required by the church staff.”

Customers in more than 40 states and three countries now use StreamSpot’s all-inclusive solution to deliver high quality live and on-demand broadcasts. StreamSpot’s patent pending automation software differentiates itself from other streaming options, requiring no interaction to start or stop scheduled broadcasts or create an archive. StreamSpot provides everything needed to have a new customer streaming within minutes to any internet-connected device.

“Brian and Laura are a great team to capitalize on the streaming services market,” said Justin Thompson, principal at CincyTech. “They’ve already gained impressive traction.”

“We believe StreamSpot is poised to become a market leader, and potentially become a verb in our language,” said Brad Zapp, founder and CEO of Connetic Ventures.

StreamSpot is also receiving financing from OCEAN Capital, a group of investors backing the OCEAN accelerator, the nation’s first independent, faith-based accelerator.

“We are thrilled to be working with three incredible investors,” said Laura Duerring, president and co-founder of StreamSpot. “The funding will allow us to accelerate the innovation of new features for our proven product, and to enhance our sales and marketing efforts.”

New Investment: Sweat Sensors Developer Eccrine Systems

Eccrine Systems, Inc., announces it has raised $1.5MM in seed funding in a round led by CincyTech Fund III, with participation from management and other sources within the CincyTech investor community. Formed in late 2013, the advanced sweat sensor company is developing disposable electronic patch systems based on innovative research and intellectual property that originated from the University of Cincinnati and Air Force Research Labs at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

According to Dr. Jason Heikenfeld, lead UC researcher and co-founder of the company, sweat secreted from eccrine glands in human skin holds great promise as the best non-invasive bodily fluid for the real-time capture and transmission of robust biomarker data. “Although the analysis of sweat goes back to the 1950’s, it never gained significant momentum as a non-invasive alternative to blood due to the limitations of fluid collection. One might as well draw a blood sample rather than scoop sweat off the skin repeatedly to get enough of a sample before sending to a lab for testing.” Fast forward to the current era of microfluidics, nanotechnology, miniaturized electronics, continuous connectivity and cloud-based computing. Heikenfeld continues, “The convergence of these and other technologies will launch sweat into full prominence as the best non-invasive fluid source for secure, real-time monitoring of human physiological function or dysfunction. We foresee many high value applications for our Sweatronics™ platform across medicine, industry and sport.”

Robert Beech, Eccrine’s executive chairman and co-founder, echoes Heikenfeld’s outlook and provides further insight about the strategic positioning of the company, “We recognize there are many well-known companies vying for the attention of broad consumer markets for wearable devices, which often intersect with fashion trends and personal image choices. In direct contrast, our efforts are aimed at specialized and regulated medical and business markets that expect proof of data accuracy and chronological assurance, plus credible scientific studies related to physiological and economic outcomes. Furthermore, our low profile electronic patches are being designed for placement on discreet skin locations that do not interfere with work, play, sleep, or personal image preferences.”

The company is deploying a platform business model that seeks exclusive relationships with downstream partners across multiple market segments. Explains Beech, “There are very large opportunities in areas such as medication adherence, clinical trials management, industrial safety, medical diagnostics, treatment effectiveness, nutrition support, and elite performance optimization. The secure, real-time monitoring of sweat biomarkers in these segments offers the potential for valuable breakthroughs in improved safety, effectiveness, and economic outcomes. We bring to each partnership our pioneering IP portfolio, modular Sweatronics platform, and innovative prototyping capabilities. In turn, our market-savvy partners collaborate closely with us to develop and embed Sweatronics patch systems within their respective product offerings.”

“The implications for real-time trending and interpretation of sweat biomarkers, derived from very tiny amounts of sweat captured under a small electronic patch, are profound,” states Mike Venerable, Managing Director at CincyTech. “The Eccrine team is very focused on enabling this important technology opportunity and its positive impact on many aspects of life.”

BlackbookHR Adds Workplace Diversity Expert to Board of Directors

BlackbookHR, a human resources technology company helping organizations create engaged and connected workplaces, announced today that DiversityInc founder and CEO Luke Visconti joined their team as an investor and board member. With this addition, BlackbookHR gains Visconti’s deep expertise in leadership, corporate diversity and veterans’ affairs, which will support the company’s rapid expansion, said the company in a news release.

Read the full release here.

Read an interview with Luke Visconti on the BlackBookHR blog here.

Assurex Health Closes $30 Million Financing Round

Assurex Health has announced a $30 million round of financing from new and existing investors to continue its work in neuropsychiatric pharmacogenomics.

Read the full release here.

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