Launch Pad City LLC is taking over NTEC to continue helping startup companies

Launch Pad City LLC is taking over NTEC to continue helping startup companies The North Texas Enterprise Center opened in 2008 to help startup companies grow.[/caption]

When 4WEB Medical joined the North Texas Enterprise Center in Frisco five years ago, it was a one-man show with the purpose of providing spinal implants through 3-D printing.

With of the help of NTEC, a business incubator and accelerator, 4WEB Medical became the first company to have a Food and Drug Administration approved spine device manufactured with 3-D printing. The company now has 20 employees.

“NTEC was very helpful in the early days in terms of facilitating introductions, providing guidance and useful resources and giving us a home for our idea,” 4WEB Medical CFO Darren McCallon said.

NTEC was founded in 2008 to help new and startup companies develop by providing training and office space. As of Feb. 28, the business incubator will cease operations, and a new manager, Launch Pad City LLC, will take over the entrepreneurial program.

Launch Pad City will assume operational and program responsibilities March 1. The term of the agreement is 12 months with an option to renew.

The change in management comes after a decision made by NTEC’s board of directors in December.

“Our mission was to initiate the development of entrepreneurial community in Frisco, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do at NTEC for the last 10 years,” said Jaime Ronderos, chairman of NTEC’s board of directors. “We actually have a strategic plan that we’ve discussed for a year to move over to a private model.”

Launch Pad City co-founder Brian Dick said the vision for the program will continue to be to help develop startup companies. Dick said a new training process will allow startups to meet CEOs in the area to build relationships and collaborate with established companies.

Dick said the transition process with Launch Pad City has begun and will be as seamless as possible.

“From a tenant standpoint, they’re not going to see anything different other than better things,” Dick said. “There will be no rate increases; no one is being asked to leave.”

NTEC Executive Director John Miller said his role in the transition process is to help facilitate conversation between Launch Pad City and the tenants.

“We’re anxious to let the new guys spread their wings, and after conversations with the [tenants] I don’t think anyone is concerned,” Miller said.

Decision to phase out

Ronderos said the city of Frisco was an area leader in starting a business accelerator in 2008 when only a few other cities in the country provided similar publicly funded programs.

The Frisco Economic Development Corp. had publicly funded NTEC through sales tax revenue. FEDC built the 50,000-square-foot building for NTEC and still owns that building.

When Miller took over NTEC in 2013, he said the business accelerator had been struggling with only one-third of the building occupied at the time.

NTEC began as a medical device/bio life science incubator, but Miller said he wanted to open up the program to all types of businesses.

Ronderos said the changes Miller made led to higher occupancy as well as more revenue. But with the increase in more business accelerators in the private sector—including Blue Star Accelerator at The Star in Frisco, a sports and entertainment-focused incubator—Ronderos said it was time for NTEC to start phasing out.

“We contemplated that this would be our eventuality, but it just came about faster than we expected,” he said.

Launch Pad City LLC is taking over NTEC to continue helping startup companies

By Nicole Luna
Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.