LaunchPad INW, a Spokane-based social networking site for business professionals, is scrapping its business plan and shifting to highlighting innovation among area companies.
Founded in 2008, the first few years of LaunchPadINW were largely successful and drew considerable interest. In addition to the online discussion forums, the business leased a downtown space to host social events, workshops and business gatherings.
Over time, it began to lose its edge, in part because social networking was dominated by Facebook and LinkedIn, he said. And the cost of maintaining the downtown office drained resources, Kalivas noted..
Plus, LaunchPad didn’t have the staff to edit and manage the assorted online discussions on LaunchPadINW.com, allowing some users to tout their own businesses or spam others.
He and original co-founder Allen Battle, who owns a minority share in LaunchPad, pivoted to the new business plan within the past two weeks.
It will now publish a weekly tech-focused newsletter.
It will also host networking events — including a relaunch of the quarterly LaunchPad gatherings.
Back in 2001, those first LaunchPad events drew hundreds of tech business leaders, investors, government officials and entrepreneurs.
Kalivas said LaunchPad’s current goal is generating enough money through sponsors and other means to at least cover operating costs and allow for gradual growth..
“We don't have a big tech presence like Seattle,” Kalivas said. “We do have a tech community but you just don’t hear what’s going on as much as we used to,” he said.
“We want to focus on the assets we already have in the community,” Kalivas said..
If succesful, area entrepreneurs and investors will learn about the range of companies operating here and understand how to plug into the network of experienced business veterans in the area, he said.
The company’s website will provide more maps and more visualization of area activity. “People will be able to look and realize how much is actually going on here,” Kalivas said.
Kalivas has a fulltime job with Silicon Valley wireless hardware provider Aruba Networks. The only paid worker is a contracted online editor who manages the site and publishes the weekly newsletter.