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Posts tagged: Bill Kalivas

LaunchPad does a pivot and shifts its attention to a tech newsletter, events

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.

LaunchPad INW offering tiered memberships and more business services

Spokane business-networking company, LaunchPad Inland Northwest, has announced new services and business training as part of its offerings.

When the company launched in early 2010, its focus was on offering shared office spaces, promoting networking events and workshops.

In a release coinciding with the firm's relocation to the 1889 Building, at 120 N. Stevens, co-founder/organizer Bill Kalivas said the new services will provide additional training and consulting services for its paid members.  Among those: Social media consulting, on-site training, and business development.

LaunchPad now offers two levels of membership: Plus and Pro, which cost $35 and $79 per month, respectively.

Kalivas said LaunchPad will still host events and workshops for area business people. Pro and Plus members get free or discount access to many events; they also get other benefits, summarized on the LaunchPad membership web page.

Kalivas said the added level of services and training is an “evolution” of the LaunchPad goal of being the go-to organization to help Spokane-area businesses grow more prosperous.

LaunchPad INW moving next month to the downtown 1889 Building

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Spokane business-services company LaunchPad Inland Northwest is moving its offices to the 1889 Building, starting next month. The company, launched by co-founders Bill Kalivas and Alan Battle, is one year old and up to now has used the Holley Mason Building for offices and rented spaces for entrpreneurs.

Kalivas said the new site, at 120 N. Stevens, has advantages that the firm’s current site can’t provide. LaunchPad works with businesses in finding partners, financing assistance and marketing consulting. It also offers work space for its member businesses.

LaunchPad will take 1,000 feet on the ground level of the building; close to two-thirds of the main floor will belong to a new wine tasting business, Nectar Tasting Room, being opened by Spokane resident Josh Wade.

Kalivas said having Wade’s coffee and wine bar as a nearby business helped him make the move, making available wine and other offerings for LaunchPad events or visitors.

The other benefit of the new space, he added, is having street-level access to networking events and work spaces used by LaunchPad members.

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