What's Happening This Week: 12/08/19

Hi, welcome to the Cleveland Tech newsletter. I talk about all things tech in the Cleveland community. If you’ll be at Blockland tomorrow, email me and I’d love to meet. I also wrote an article in Crain’s this week on mental well-being, check it out here!

In personal news, I’m happy to announce the launch of OhioX, a nonprofit organization that represents and connects those committed to growing Ohio’s economy through technology and innovation. Crain’s covered our launch which you can read here.

Profile of the Week

Name: David Croft
Current Job: Attorney - Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis
Favorite restaurant in town? That’s a tough question.  I’m a foodie and Cleveland is a foodie town, so I’ll have to name a couple.  Michael Angelo’s Winery in Broadview Heights is up there (make sure you check it out) … as well as Ginko.  I’m also partial to Taza and Blue Point.  And Li Wah.  And Alley Cat and Greenhouse Tavern.  This is probably the most difficult question in your interview.  There are so many more I could name, but not enough time or space! 
Favorite thing about Cleveland? Say what you will about its parks and attractions (which are excellent), but my favorite thing about Cleveland is its people - hands down.  I’ve been to quite a few places in my life and the good folks of NEO are like none other.  They are warm and welcoming.  There’s a feel about the people in Northeast Ohio you just don’t find anywhere else.  It’s like being home.

Q: You practice both cryptocurrency and cannabis law, two areas that definitely have a lot of grey area. What advice would you have for entrepreneurs going into heavily regulated fields?  Do your homework.  And once you’ve done your homework, make sure you seek professional assistance from someone with actual, practical experience in the industry.  I’ve been involved with both industries for a long time (I started in crypto in early 2012 and cannabis in 2011 – 8 years is a LONG time in both industries).  I’ve watched both of these industries grow up.  While they are the most inclusive industries in which I’ve worked (one need only ask for help or information and the answers and assistance are freely given), they are also constantly evolving, especially from a legal and regulatory perspective.  An entrepreneur that is focused on her or his business does not have the time or ability to focus exclusively on the ever-changing laws and regulatory landscape. 

Q: You are involved extensively with Coin Miner, what does the company do? Coin Miner (together with its affiliates, like Hash One) is heavily involved in the cryptocurrency mining industry – it’s one of the largest companies of its kind in the industry and it’s headquartered right here, in Northeast Ohio.  Coin Miner’s focus has traditionally been in hardware sales, consulting, etc.  They have recently become more involved with next-gen mining – which is efficient mining that could also be coupled with another technology, like AI or deep learning or rendering.  Coin Miner and its affiliates have some significant projects on the horizon; projects that are very unique and game-changing. 

Q: As someone who is part of the blockchain industry in NE Ohio. What have been your thoughts on the Blockland effort?  It started very strong.  The amount of involvement at the outset was encouraging and I was impressed with the level of speakers at the conference in December.  I’ve attended many crypto/blockchain conferences over the years and Solutions was one of the top conferences in my opinion.  I think the momentum slowed down a bit after Solutions, but it appears to be picking back up again with the announcement of the tech hub in Tower City.  I believe, especially with all of the attention being paid to the industry from a regulatory perspective, Ohio must become more forward-thinking to attract blockchain and other next-gen tech businesses to the area.  This should include financial (especially tax-based) and educational incentives.  I also believe that a good deal of companies (like Coin Miner and Hash One) have their heads down and are working on projects.  I’m excited to see what surfaces as we get into 2020. 

Q: What have been some of the cool technology trends you've seen in the cannabis space?  I am really impressed with the leaps and bounds in the medical area – both from hemp-derived CBD (which is federally legal and Ohio has just passed some laws) as well as medical marijuana.  Some of the companies involved in this space have made some really interesting advances in genetics and botany.  I also think there are some amazing innovations that can be used in agriculture.  Finally, the security technology used to protect the product (think about bio sprays that can be detected on the skin of a would-be thief 30 days after a break-in) are also very interesting and have wide-reaching applications.

Q: In your spare time, you do homebrewing. What does that process look like and what type of beer do you make?  Well, I haven’t brewed at home in a year or two.  It was a passion, but with so many excellent craft breweries, it’s hard to justify taking over the kitchen for a whole day when I can take a trip to Fathead’s or Platform or Masthead and get many different styles of great beer AND great food.  But, to answer your question, when I was brewing at home, I employed the extract method (as opposed to partial mash or all-grain).  It was easier and faster for me and necessitated less equipment.  Basically, you cook the grains (barley, oats, wheat – depends on your recipe) in water, add the malt extract (think sugar obtained from grain), and then the hops.  Once the stew (wort) cools down, it’s added to a fermentation container along with yeast.  It sits for a week or two and then is bottled or kegged.  I’m oversimplifying a bit, but that’s the basics.  My favorite styles to make?  Definitely a dry-hopped IPA and a cherry stout. 

Companies Hiring

This Week’s Events

Future Events

Interesting Reads

  • Crain’s Cleveland: North Coast Angel Fund event focuses on what it takes to build startup businesses

  • Axios: How Ohio boosted venture capital investment

  • Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Flashstarts ends start-up accelerator, becomes business consultant

Requests

  • Let me know if your company is hiring

  • Let me know if you are hosting an event

  • If you are interested or know someone who would be interested in being highlighted for our profile of the week, let me know.

About The Author

My name is Ari Lewis. I’m the founder of OhioX, a nonprofit organization that represents and connects those committed to growing Ohio’s economy through technology and innovation. I’m also the founder of GreenBlock Group, we work with companies both small and big on innovation and communication. Follow me on twitter @amlewis4 or connect with me on LinkedIn. Always open to meeting new folks. Email me if you want to get coffee.

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