November 4, 2014

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Danville’s The Launch Place has gone to the source of many of its clients with a new partnership with North Carolina’s First Flight Venture Center. The group also announced a new satellite recruiting office that will be located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

First Flight works with entrepreneurs and start-ups as a technology incubator in Research Triangle Park. The partnership will establish a pipeline of First Flight companies to come to Danville with Launch Place seed funding. The Launch Place will consult with First Flight companies.

The Danville-headquartered Launch Place, which provides its entrepreneurship development and business consultation services to companies to draw them into the Dan River Region, regularly works with companies that originated in North Carolina.

Thus, the nonprofit organization recruits in North Carolina.

“Since we had established the seed fund a year ago, the vast majority of our application to the pre-seed fund and the seed investment program have been coming from the Raleigh-Durham area,” President and CEO Eva Doss said. “For us it’s a prime market recruiting new companies.”

This fall, The Launch Place decided to solidify its work in North Carolina by renting an office in Research Triangle Park, considered the heart of much of the entrepreneurial start-ups. Doss said that the recruiting team has been working with North Carolina connections more than a year. “And we have made some very strong relationships,” she added.

Doss explained that it was logical to establish an office there to be able to better provide as much information as possible about The Launch Place and Danville. Within the highly active Research Triangle Park, Doss said there are no organizations or companies that provide the same service as The Launch Place.

“The purpose of the whole office is really for marketing our services and the assets of Danville,” Doss said. “Now it’s structured and we have a place to meet with them.”

First Flight President Andrew Schwab explained the partnership and satellite office would be mutually beneficial. “We’re an advocacy group for all of our companies and any opportunity we can provide additional capital opportunities to our companies is something we readily seek,” he said.

Many companies served by First Flight are more technical. Operations often require manufacturing, which could be handled in localities like Danville. That regional investment approach by The Launch Place appealed to Schwab.

“It’s a challenge to find all the resources you need in just one small area of the country,” Schwab said. “We generally find we have to partner with quite a few places. We see the Danville community as an extension of what’s going on here in North Carolina.”

The Launch Place and First Flight partnered previously for the Big Launch Challenge held last May at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. The event is planned for next spring at the same location.