Doug Weintraub looks to rev up Akron’s newest entrepreneurial engine

 

Among the metrics being used to grade the performance of Bounce are the jobs that companies residing in the accelerator create, their sales, the volume of new tenants that comes in, occupancy levels, the number of programs that Bounce offers and more.

The companies that take residency at Bounce have standardized reporting requirements every six months. To help them get on track to meet their goals, resident companies meet with Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR), Weintraub-appointed staffers who aid companies as they get their footing in the market. That could mean helping them with prototypes, raising capital, building a board, sales and marketing, etc.

Weintraub sought EIRs who have been in the field, have built businesses, have experience in a particular industry or an area such as enterprise sales or family business, or have built a software product or a medical device from scratch.

“Everybody here has to be in the shoes of the entrepreneur,” Weintraub says. “They should be able to go into that business, roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

To evaluate where to place the responsibility for the successes or failures of these disparate teams, Weintraub leans on the EIRs and holds weekly meetings with the staffers who support intake, the entrepreneurship program and the accelerator programs.

“They’re pushing the entrepreneurs every day now. And that wasn’t happening before,” he says. “Their doors were closed, and they were running their own show. Now they’re accountable to somebody else. When you’re accountable to somebody else, if you’re not performing, you feel bad. So in between meetings, if you’re not answering the requests of the last meeting, you’re falling behind.”

Weintraub understands that the runway of each venture may be longer or shorter depending on the business, and that each has particular needs, which means every company requires its own metrics. Balancing the weighted metrics of the different companies with what Bounce needs to accomplish is a tough exercise, and Bounce residents who fail to keep up with the metrics can be asked to leave.

“It’s hard, but it’s for the right reasons,” he says. “And I don’t think anybody has ever argued about it. They know it’s time. I think people feel they have overstayed their welcome. We’ve had discussions with companies that should have been farther along in the process. And we hope that we can support them to get them to that point.”

Today, there are some 50 companies in the building, up from 40 when Weintraub took his position last March, and a staff of 12, up from just one at the start. And, importantly, he’s seeing change.