State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Happy Valley LaunchBox Graduates Newest Class of Startups

by on August 10, 2017 9:10 AM

Five startups developing a range of innovative products became the latest Happy Valley LaunchBox graduates at a community event on Tuesday. 

The new companies are among 31 that have now graduated from the no-cost startup accelerator and co-working space, a signature program of Invent Penn State, a statewide initiative introduced by university President Eric Barron to spur economic development while helping students succeed professionally through collaboration between Penn State and local communities on entrepreneurship-focused programs.

Startups accepted are accepted into the accelerator complete a 10-week program, then have co-working space and other resources at the LaunchBox location at 224 S. Allen St. and through a network of university, business and community professionals.

LaunchBox's Lee Erickson said the latest group -- the accelerator's fifth since opening in early 2016 -- had more community members than prior classes, with a mix of ages and backgrounds.

Erickson added that of the 31 startups to graduate from the program, 65 percent are still up and running, which is a positive sign considering the fail rate of new businesses.

"Considering that statistically nine out of 10 startups fail, we’re optimistic that our program, professional services and network of experts have increased our startups’ chances of success,” she said.

The five start-ups that completed the 10-week program this summer are:

 Ardor & Forge — Versatile watches that are rugged enough to wear for outdoor activities but appropriate for work and social environments as well.

BOSS Healthy Journey — An individualized daily workout and diet management mobile app that helps individuals who desire to lose 50 or more pounds to begin and maintain an exercise routine.

Embrace the Space — High visibility products for cyclists that increase rider safety and driver awareness. Embrace the Space aims to cultivate a healthier relationship between cyclists and motor vehicles through its products and education.

Node Farms — An online platform that facilitates the sale and delivery of local farmers’ market goods.

Sleuth Tiny Homes — Customized tiny homes for those dissatisfied with conventional housing options.

Ardor & Forge founder Zack Rackovan said the program help with business plan development, identifying customer needs and creating a strategy for taking his watches to market.

“Without participating in the LaunchBox accelerator program, I’m pretty confident I would have hundreds of watches sitting in my attic collecting dust and credit card debt collecting interest,” he said in a release. “I feel like I went through a 2-year degree program in 10 weeks. I still have a ton of work to do in order to see my idea to fruition, but I now have a plan for how to get there, resources to help me when I get stuck and validated confidence that I am on the right track for success.”

For more about Happy Valley LaunchBox, visit

Next Article
On Tap: State College Brew Expo 2017
August 10, 2017 8:00 AM
by David Pencek, Town&Gown
On Tap: State College Brew Expo 2017
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online