Spokane Journal of Business

Ignite Northwest selects first class here

Young companies’ CEOs to start session this month

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Ignite Northwest, the nonprofit business accelerator that recently formed here to help young tech companies overcome early startup challenges, has selected 10 Inland Northwest companies to be a part of its inaugural class that’s scheduled to start Aug. 25, says CEO Bill Savitz.

Ignite is designed to help companies with working prototypes that have already entered the marketplace, but need a boost to become even more successful. Savitz says Ignite Northwest received 32 applications for 10 slots.

“While we didn’t entirely know what to anticipate in the way of applications, getting 32 applications was a lot better response than we anticipated,” Savitz says.

The companies selected are Dragon Jacket, Electrijet Flight Systems, HarvestScape, Iasis Molecular Sciences LLC, iCPooch, InstantMD, intelliPaper, Obloco, ReliantRx, and Rush-On. 

An Ignite Northwest press release describes Dragon Jacket as an innovator of commercial insulation products, and says Electrijet designs and manufactures long-range electric delivery drones and electric propulsion systems for passenger aircraft. It says HarvestScape develops and implements “product solutions for the growing, processing and distribution of good sustainable foods.”

Iasis is a life sciences company focused on creating services that address microbial contamination of medical, industrial, and consumer goods, the release say. iCPooch has created a device for two-way video interaction between consumers and their pets.

InstantMD offers medical care to workers via a telemedicine camera at the workplace. IntelliPaper makes custom-printed business cards and mailers with silicon chips that can be folded and plugged into USB ports. Obloco is a financial technology services company that develops different ways for credit unions and banks to capture receipts for customers, the release says.

ReliantRx is an accredited specialty pharmacy providing medications for long-term care facilities, and Rush-On is an online business that helps customers plan various thrill-seeking adventures.

Savitz says eight of the 10 companies are based in Spokane. Dragon Jacket’s headquarters is in Hayden while Rush-On is based in Sandpoint.

Ignite is located in a second-floor suite at 714 N. Iron Bridge Way. Its nine-member board includes longtime business community members such as Savitz; Kim Zentz, former Innovate Washington CEO; Roger Woodworth, vice president and chief strategy officer for Avista Corp.; and Washington State University Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown.

Savitz came to Innovate Washington last October with the intention that he would become the CEO for Ignite. Innovate Washington was born out of the former Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute, later known just as SIRTI.

 “Our inaugural class represent growing sectors like e-commerce, energy innovation, bioscience, and aerospace,” Savitz says. “We truly believe the exciting new technologies these companies possess have the potential to change the world.”

The 10 companies’ CEOs will complete a rigorous 13-week session beginning Aug. 25. In addition to class time, they will be given personal advisers with industry expertise to help guide them as they build and grow their business models. Companies not selected are encouraged to re-apply for the spring 2016 session, Savitz says.

Ignite Northwest has secured federal grant money to assist businesses in their startup efforts. U.S. Small Business Administration statistics say only half of newly formed companies survive. It worked with Washington State University Spokane and Greater Spokane Incorporated to identify businesses and technologies that would benefit from accelerator services.

Last week, the SBA selected Ignite as one of 88 organizations across the country to receive a $50,000 grant award for displaying innovation in its efforts to help businesses grow.

 Kevin Blocker
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Reporter Kevin Blocker, a University of Colorado alum, is a rec league basketball addict. At age 47, he still sports a 32-inch vertical leap. He has three children, all of whom are hooked on hoops.

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