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LaunchPad INW changes business plans

LaunchPad INW, a Spokane-based social networking company, has scrapped its original business plan and shifted to highlighting corporate innovation in a weekly newsletter.

Founded in 2008, LaunchPad INW offered online forums and leased a downtown space to host social events, workshops and business gatherings.

LaunchPad co-founder Bill Kalivas said the concept enjoyed initial success, but was eclipsed by the social network sites Facebook and LinkedIn. In addition, operating the downtown building drained resources, he said.

The discussion groups on LaunchPad were not closely moderated, Kalivas added, allowing some users to tout their own businesses or spam other members.

Kalivas and co-founder Allen Battle, who owns a minority stake in the company, pivoted to the new business plan in the past two weeks.

LaunchPad will continue hosting networking events.

Kalivas said LaunchPad’s new goal is to generate enough funds through sponsors and other means to cover 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.”

Kalivas works for Silicon Valley wireless hardware provider Aruba Networks. LaunchPad’s only paid worker is a contracted online editor who manages the site and publishes the weekly newsletter.