Some of the region’s notable startups and entrepreneurs will be honored at the seventh annual LaunchHouse Bootstrap Bash, presented by LaunchHouse and the Cleveland Jewish News, on Jan. 20, 2018, at RED Space in Cleveland.
Steve Potash, founder, CEO and President of OverDrive Inc., will be honored with the Visionary Entrepreneur Award at the event. Scott Mueller, CEO of Dealer Tire and Dr. Thomas F. Zenty III, CEO of University Hospitals, are previous honorees of the award.
Todd Goldstein, founder and CEO of LaunchHouse, said the Bootstrap Bash is “an opportunity for individuals and businesses in the community to come out and support entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio.”
“We showcase 10 growing startup companies,” Goldstein said. “It’s about coming out and having a good time. We typically hand-pick 10 companies from LaunchHouse and the general community that are in different stages of growing.”
Goldstein said the Bootstrap Bash gives attendees an opportunity to meet different entrepreneurs across different sectors.
“(The Bootstrap Bash) really gives you an evening of immersing yourself in the entrepreneurial community,” he said.
Goldstein said the area was “lucky to have a visionary like Steve Potash.”
“Steve is the ideal entrepreneurial story,” Goldstein said. “He had a vision and as technology caught up with his vision, he was able to grow a very innovative and successful company right here in Northeast Ohio.”
Potash, who presented at the Israeli Center for Libraries Conference on Sept. 12, said he was “proud to be recognized as a local entrepreneur by LaunchHouse.”
“Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio, I have been an entrepreneur most of my life,” Potash said. “Now, it’s exciting that I can reach a stage of my career through the success of our business to give back and help provide guidance and assistance.”
Potash said the area “was fortunate to have all the ingredients for entrepreneurs to start a business and succeed.”
“These include access to capital and great talent from the higher education institutions and a Midwestern ‘can-do’ attitude that gives us the drive to not take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said.
OverDrive was of particular interest to the Israeli Center for Libraries Conference because it allows library users to download and check out e-books and audiobooks, and part of Potash’s presentation was about OverDrive’s new app, Libby. The app allows members of participating libraries to discover, read and check out audiobooks and e-books from the user’s smartphone. While in Israel, Potash also discovered that the term “Libby” had another meaning to Hebrew speakers.
“I was standing in our booth (during the conference), and everything is in Hebrew,” he said. “I kept hearing that ‘Libby’ is good in Hebrew. Someone asked me if I knew what it meant in Hebrew and they told me Libby means ‘my heart’ in Hebrew, which I was happy to hear.”