Cover art for podcast Lay of The Land

Lay of The Land

75 EpisodesProduced by Jeffrey SternWebsite

Telling the stories of entrepreneurship in Cleveland. Every Thursday, Jeffrey Stern helps map the Cleveland business ecosystem by talking to founders, investors, and community builders to learn what makes Cleveland special.

episodes iconAll Episodes

#73: John Wetzel, Alex Hilleary, Brooks Sime (Gather — Acquired by ChartHop)

May 19th, 2022

1:06:11

Our conversation today is with John Wetzel, Alex Hilleary, and Brooks Sime — Co-Founders of Gather (acquired by ChartHop in March, 2022) — on building a company oriented around a future of work that puts people first …

#72: Camille Heard (FELOH)

May 12th, 2022

47:29

Our conversation today is with Camille Heard — CEO & Co-Founder of FELOH — on building a beauty tech startup celebrating diversity in beauty through community and inclusion, the startup journey, building in and up …

#71: Patrick M. Howard and Ben Kanelos (RustBit Studios)

May 5th, 2022

49:48

Our conversation today is with Patrick M. Howard and Ben Kanelos, of RustBit Studio and creators of the Grip of Madness!

Patrick is the CEO and a game developer of RustBit Studio — He is an entrepreneur passionate about …

#70: Eugene Malinskiy (Lazurite)

April 28th, 2022

57:13

Our conversation today is with Eugene Malinskiy — Co-Founder and CEO of Lazurite.

Lazurite got its start back in 2015 and to date, Eugene has led Lazurite through three rounds of funding raising more than $18 million.


As …

#69: Ray Leach and Hardik Desai (JumpStart)

April 21st, 2022

1:04:30

Our conversation today is with Ray Leach and Hardik Desai to discuss JumpStart and its role here in the Cleveland startup ecosystem. Ray is the …

#68: Nolan Gallagher (Gravitas Ventures)

April 14th, 2022

54:57

Nolan Gallagher is the founder & CEO of Gravitas Ventures, which he founded in 2006. Under Nolan’s leadership, Gravitas has become a global all …

#67: David Kennedy (Binary Defense and TrustedSec)

March 31st, 2022

52:20

Our guest today is Dave Kennedy (@HackingDave), a cybersecurity authority whose mission is to drive the industry forward and make the world a more secure place. In addition to founding two large-scale cybersecurity …

#66: Tony Pietrocola (AgileBlue)

March 24th, 2022

52:49

Our guest today is Tony Pietrocola — Co-Founder & President of AgileBlue, a lifelong Clevelander extremely passionate about The Land, and now, a …

#65: John Nottingham (Nottingham Spirk)

March 17th, 2022

52:00

Our guest today is John Nottingham — Co-Founder & Co-President of Nottingham Spirk.

If you’ve ever used a Swiffer Sweep+Vac, a Crest Spinbrush, a Dirt Devil, a Jacuzzi, a Little Tikes Playhouse, Duck Tape, SmartMouth …

#64: Rick Simmons (the telos institute)

March 10th, 2022

54:40

Our guest today is Rick Simmons — CEO of the telos institute, a firm he co-founded in 2006 which offers specialized expertise to leaders and leadership teams around the world in the areas of business strategy, …

#63: Drew Kraemer (Code3)

March 3rd, 2022

58:12

Our guest today is Drew Kraemer — CEO of Code3 & Founder of Marketplace Strategy. 

Code3 is a digital performance marketing agency that serves some of the largest digital advertisers globally. With over 250 employees …

#62: Jamie Van Doren (NeverEnding)

February 24th, 2022

56:09

Our guest today is Jamie Van Doren — Founder & CEO of NeverEnding, a Cleveland-based gaming and entertainment start-up that aims to change how …

#61: Ryan Lambacher (Graffle)

February 17th, 2022

49:11

Our guest today is Ryan Lambacher —  Founder & CEO of Graffle, a venture-funded web3 infrastructure provider for projects built on blockchain (starting with Flow) — which recently closed on a nearly $4 …

#60: Cal Al-Dhubaib (Pandata)

February 10th, 2022

50:00

Our guest today is Cal Al-Dhubaib — Founder & CEO of Pandata.

Pandata helps innovative organizations design and develop human-centered, trusted AI. They are a team of creative thinkers, relationship builders, and …

#59: Daniel Brown (Rust Belt Riders & Tilth Soil)

February 3rd, 2022

55:52

Our guest today is Daniel Brown — Co-Founder of Rust Belt Riders and Tilth Soil.


Rust Belt Riders provides businesses, organizations, and individuals with a clean, timely, and community benefiting alternative to …

#58: Ryan Young (FlashHouse)

January 27th, 2022

59:59

Ryan Young is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at FlashHouse where he's on a mission to create a seamless real estate experience, empower …

#57: Jack Grover (Grove Bags)

January 20th, 2022

42:03

Our guest today is Jack Grover — Founder and CEO of Grove Bags, a provider of cannabis packaging specifically tailored for the unique physiology of …

#56: Dr. Daniel German (orthobrain)

January 13th, 2022

58:07

Our guest today is Dr. Daniel German — founder & CEO of orthobrain!

Dr. Dan German is a man who loves smiles. All kinds of smiles. So much so, he’s devoted a lifetime to bringing more of them to the world. …

#55: Jane Alexander (Cleveland Museum of Art)

January 6th, 2022

54:35

Our guest today is Jane Alexander, who is the Chief Digital Information Officer for The Cleveland Museum of Art where she is responsible for creating awe-inspiring and iterative digital projects supporting a vision of …

#54: Eric Diamond (Central Kitchen)

December 23rd, 2021

49:32

Our conversation this week is with Eric Diamond who is the co-founder and CEO of Central Kitchen, which has a massive physical presence here in Cleveland, hundreds of thousands of square feet out of their main food hub …

#53: David Boone Jr. (BlendED)

December 16th, 2021

52:46

Our conversation this week is with David Boone Jr. — co-founder and CEO of BlendED — an education technology company which has raised over $1mm in …

#52: Mike Belsito (Product Collective)

December 9th, 2021

51:00

Our conversation this week is with Mike Belsito who is the Co-Founder of Product Collective — an organization he started here in Cleveland back in …

#51: Robert Baskette (Roundtable Learning)

December 2nd, 2021

40:30

Our conversation this week is with Robert Baskette — founder and CTO of Roundtable Learning (originally founded as Knowbase) — on immersive learning and the commercial applications of virtual reality.


Bob founded …

[REWIND] Justin Bibb (Cleveland Mayor-Elect) (Episode 15)

November 25th, 2021

50:33

Happy holidays everyone! We’re revisiting a topical and popular episode now that Justin Bibb has secured his position as Mayor-Elect of Cleveland. 


We …

#50: Jeffrey Stern’s Reflections on 50 Episodes & Startup Flywheels

November 18th, 2021

30:17

Lay of The Land’s 50th episode is a reflection on the 50 before it, my own professional journey & how Lay of The Land came to be, and some musings on what gets a startup ecosystem’s flywheel going.


Thanks for tuning …

#49: Michael DeAloia (Evergreen Podcasts)

November 11th, 2021

1:02:58

Our conversation this week is with Michael DeAloia — CEO at Evergreen Podcasts  — on the business of podcasting, building a media company here in Cleveland, content creation, and Cleveland startups!


Evergreen Podcasts is …

#48: Scott Colosimo (LAND Energy & Cleveland CycleWerks)

November 4th, 2021

1:13:44

Our conversation this week is with Scott Colosimo  — Founder at Cleveland CycleWerks & LAND Energy  — on Cleveland manufacturing, commitment to …

#47: Stan Garber & Alex Yakubovich (Scout RFP)

October 28th, 2021

56:29

Lay of The Land's 47th conversation is with Stan Garber & Alex Yakubovich — Co-Founders of Scout RFP (now known as Workday Strategic Sourcing) — on serial entrepreneurship and Scout RFP’s journey from inception here …

#46: Steve Potash (OverDrive)

October 21st, 2021

49:39

Our conversation this week is with Steve Potash  — Founder, President, and CEO of OverDrive.


Steve founded OverDrive here in Cleveland back in 1986. Over the last 3 decades Steve has led OverDrive to become the leading …

#45: India Johnson (UAVistas)

October 14th, 2021

45:17

 Our conversation this week is with India Johnson — Founder of UAVistas.


With a background in biology and computer science, India Johnson is an …

#44: Jake Bailosky (PROJiTECH — OnStation)

October 7th, 2021

49:48

Our conversation this week is with Jake Bailosky  — CTO & Founder of OnStation — on revolutionizing how road workers locate and communicate in …

#43: James Barnes Jr. (Immaculate Cleaning)

September 30th, 2021

46:18

Our conversation this week is with James Barnes Jr. — Founder & President of Immaculate Cleaning — on building Northeast Ohio’s fastest-growing …

#42: Charlie Lougheed (Axuall)

September 23rd, 2021

48:35

Our conversation this week is with Charlie Lougheed — Co-founder & CEO of Axuall, a Cleveland-based company which recently closed on $10.4mm in financing.


Axuall is a bot-enabled, real-time HR data network that …

#41: Aaron Grossman (TalentLaunch)

September 16th, 2021

59:21

Our conversation this week is with Aaron Grossman — Founder & CEO of TalentLaunch.


TalentLaunch, which Aaron founded back in 2016 after over a decade working in the staffing industry, is a network of independently …

#40: Brian Zimmerman (Cleveland Metroparks)

September 9th, 2021

51:22

Our conversation this week is with Brian Zimmerman — CEO of The Cleveland Metroparks. 


As CEO of the Metroparks, Brian is responsible for the management of over 24,000 acres of green space in Northeast Ohio including 18 …

#39: AC Evans (Drips)

September 2nd, 2021

47:38

Our conversation this week is with Aaron Christopher (A.C.) Evans — co-founder & CEO of Drips.com recently ranked one of the 20 fastest-growing companies in North America.


Drips is the first conversational texting …

#38: Dan Collins (Wastebits)

August 26th, 2021

51:38

Our conversation this week is with Dan Collins — Founder & CEO of Wastebits (based in Akron) — on building a software waste-management company …

#37: Brent Zimmerman (Saucy Brew Works)

August 19th, 2021

38:43

Our conversation this week is with Brent Zimmerman — Co-Founder & CEO of Saucy Brew Works, a Cleveland-based production brewery and brewpub with roots based in the Steelman building off 29th and Detroit Avenue.


Over …

#36: Shane Bigelow (CHAMPtitles)

August 12th, 2021

49:49

Our conversation this week is with Shane Bigelow — CEO at CHAMPtitles — Cleveland-based startup, which has raised over $17.5 million in funding, on digitizing the process of vehicle titling. 


Currently, vehicle title …

#35: Kate Volzer (Wisr)

August 5th, 2021

46:44

Our conversation this week is with Kate Volzer — Co-Founder and CEO at Wisr, an education technology company based here in Cleveland which was …

#34: Jacob Sheridan (TPA Stream)

July 29th, 2021

43:04

Our conversation this week is with Jacob Sheridan — Co-Founder and CEO at TPA Stream, an insurtech software company based here in Cleveland having raised ~ $4mm in capital.


TPA Stream is focused on automating employee …

#33: Charu Ramanathan, PhD (vitalxchange)

July 22nd, 2021

54:48

Our conversation this week is with Charu Ramanathan, PhD  — Co-Founder and CEO at vitalxchange, based here in Cleveland having raised over $2mm in capital.


vitalxchange and Lokyata are the latest iterations of Charu’s …

#32: David Edelman (Thrivable)

July 15th, 2021

54:07

Our conversation this week is with David Edelman  — CEO & Founder of Thrivable, based here in Cleveland. 


David is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker who developed the vision for Thrivable through his work building …

#31: Terence McCarron (OpinionRoute)

July 8th, 2021

52:36

Our conversation this week is with Terence McCarron — CEO & Founder of OpinionRoute LLC, a Cleveland, OH-based Market Research Data Collection …

#30: Lindsay Watson PT, MPT (Augment Therapy)

July 1st, 2021

49:17

Our conversation this week is with Lindsay Watson, CEO & Founder of Augment Therapy.


Augment Therapy was founded in 2017 when Lindsay — who is a pediatric physical therapist from Chagrin Falls, Ohio — was searching …

#29: Brandon and Jarred Smith (NOOMA)

June 24th, 2021

59:28

Our conversation this week is with Jarred & Brandon Smith — co-founders of NOOMA.


The NOOMA journey began for Jarred & Brandon as …

#28: Todd Federman (North Coast Ventures)

June 17th, 2021

43:22

Our conversation this week is with Todd Federman — managing director of North Coast Ventures.



North Coast includes six funds and has closed $65M+ of capital in 60 early-stage companies since 2007. Prior to joining North …

#27: Brett Lindsey (Everstream & Snip Internet)

June 10th, 2021

58:01

Our conversation this week is with Brett Lindsey — CEO of Everstream & Founder of Snip Internet here in Cleveland!



We cover the infrastructure of the internet, the future of telecom, and how he’s realizing that …

#26: Gordon Daily (BoxCast)

June 3rd, 2021

47:51

Our conversation this week is with Gordon Daily!



Gordon is the founder & CEO of BoxCast which offers an end-to-end live streaming platform and is one of Cleveland’s fastest growing companies off the bat of a $20 …

#25: Laura Steinbrink (Brilliency & Emerald Built Environments)

May 27th, 2021

46:15

Our conversation this week is with Laura Steinbrink!


Laura is the CEO and founder of Brilliency and managing partner at Emerald Built Environments where she's spent the last decade driving environmental change and …

#24: Ryan Cleary (FloatMe)

May 20th, 2021

51:12

Our conversation this week is with Ryan Cleary — co-founder & COO of FloatMe — on how they’ve helped save their users over $30mm in fees and boost savings via alternatives to the $46 billion overdraft and payday …

#23: Justin McLoughlin (airCFO)

May 13th, 2021

46:16

Our conversation this week is with Justin McLoughlin — founder & CEO of airCFO — on building a bootstrapped company, scaling a professional services organization, the future of work, the importance of taking care of …

#22: Marisa Sergi (Red Brands & L'uva Bella Winery)

May 6th, 2021

46:18

Our conversation this week is with Marisa Sergi — founder & CEO of Red Brands & chief growth officer of L’uva Bella Winery — who is a …

#21: Tom Lix (Cleveland Whiskey)

April 29th, 2021

48:48

Our conversation this week is with Tom Lix — founder & CEO of Cleveland Whiskey — on pushing the boundaries of convention while building on …

#20: Mac Anderson (Cleveland Kitchen)

April 22nd, 2021

39:44

Our conversation this week is with Mac Anderson — co-founder & CMO of Cleveland Kitchen (formerly Cleveland Kraut) — on creating world-class …

#19: Manoj Jhaveri (Hyr Medical)

April 15th, 2021

46:43

Lay of the Land’s nineteenth conversation is with Manoj Jhaveri — co-founder & CEO of Hyr Medical — on transforming the healthcare staffing industry by empowering clinicians to find the best freelance opportunities …

#18: Cullen Naumoff (Farm Fare)

April 8th, 2021

48:24

Lay of the Land’s eighteenth conversation is with Cullen Naumoff — co-founder of Farm Fare, based in Cleveland, Ohio — on why local food is better …

#17: Anthony Hughes (Tech Elevator)

April 1st, 2021

50:30

Lay of the Land’s seventeenth conversation is with Anthony Hughes — co-founder and CEO at Tech Elevator — on their recent acquisition to Stride, the future of education, unlocking people’s potential, and software …

#16: Brandon Bryant (Harlem Capital)

March 25th, 2021

44:18

Lay of the Land’s sixteenth conversation is with Brandon Bryant — co-founder and venture partner at Harlem Capital — on investing in companies …

#15: Justin Bibb (Mayor of Cleveland)

March 18th, 2021

50:33

Lay of the Land’s fifteenth conversation is with Justin Bibb, Mayor of Cleveland.


We cover a lot in this conversation — through a lens of technology, …

#14: Matt Buder Shapiro (MedPilot)

March 11th, 2021

39:59

Our fourteenth conversation is with Matt Buder Shapiro — co-founder and chief marketing officer of MedPilot which was recently acquired by Vytalize Health in a big win for Cleveland startups!


Matt is a Cleveland native …

#13: Dan Whalen (INTRO Cleveland | HarborBay)

March 4th, 2021

53:24

Lay of the Land is about telling the stories of what people are building in Cleveland, and today we’re taking that literally! We’re talking about building buildings.



Our (lucky) thirteenth conversation is with Dan Whalen …

#12: Bob Sopko (LaunchNet - Case Western Reserve University)

February 25th, 2021

57:13

Our twelfth conversation is with Bob Sopko. 


Bob is the director of Case Western’s LaunchNet focused on helping students and alumni build startups and supporting their entrepreneurial efforts. Bob is also an …

#11: Nicole Paolozzi (OndeCare)

February 18th, 2021

37:39

Our eleventh conversation is with Nicole Paolozzi  — founder & CEO of OndeCare based here in Cleveland!


We cover the challenges of in-home …

#10: Taher Hassonjee (RVshare)

February 11th, 2021

36:55

Our tenth episode is a conversation with  Taher Hassonjee — director of business development at RVshare (based on Akron, Ohio)  — exploring the world of recreational vehicles and why RVshare has been able to capitalize …

#9: Steve Muszynski (Splash Financial)

February 4th, 2021

35:22

Our ninth episode is a conversation with  Steve Muszynski — founder & CEO of Splash Financial — exploring the student loan crisis and how Splash is helping people save on their student loan debt


I met Steve back when …

#8: Joe DeLoss (Hot Chicken Takeover)

January 28th, 2021

38:43

Our eighth episode is a conversation with Joe DeLoss — founder of Hot Chicken Takeover — about service, entrepreneurship, chicken, and change for good.


He’s spent the last decade building business creating employment …

#7: Lee Zapis (Zapis Capital)

January 21st, 2021

37:27

On our seventh episode, we’re speaking with Lee Zapis


Lee Zapis is the former president of Zapis Communications which owned and operated WZAK along with other radio stations in Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown. Zapis …

#6: Gerald Hetrick (Able)

January 14th, 2021

38:16

On our sixth episode, we’re speaking with Gerald Hetrick, CEO of Able. 


Gerald has a decorated past here in the Cleveland entrepreneurial space as a …

#5: Mansfield Frazier (Chateau Hough & Neighborhood Solutions)

January 7th, 2021

46:00

On our fifth episode, we’re speaking with Mansfield Frazier, founder of Château Hough - the country’s first inner-city vineyard located in the historic district of Hough, where he resides. 


Our conversation spans growing …

#4: Tagan Horton

December 31st, 2020

30:49

Today's episode is a special one as our guest is our very own co-host, Tagan.

Over the next few episodes, Tagan will be waning off of Lay of The Land as a co-host and so we wanted to share her own Cleveland …

#3: Ron Stubblefield (Jumpstart)

December 17th, 2020

49:32

Ron Stubblefield is a nationally recognized lawyer, scholar, economic development professional and entrepreneurial advisor. As a shared …

#2: Carrie Murphy (Venture for America)

December 10th, 2020

41:25

Carrie Murphy was born and raised in Cleveland. After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in Public Policy and Strategic Management she …

#1: Ed Buchholz (Start in CLE)

December 3rd, 2020

53:33

This week, we're talking with Ed Buchholz, the founder of Start in CLE.

Ed is founder of three venture-backed software companies and has more than …

Introducing Lay of The Land

November 19th, 2020

2:40

Jeffrey Stern is a New York City transplant building companies in Cleveland. And TheTagan is an Atlanta-born strategist with a passion for creating content to amplify voices.

We love learning about the Cleveland …

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