Columnists

Launch Fishers Founder, CEO John Wechsler Announces July Departure

John Weschler

Launch Fishers announced today a leadership succession plan as founder and CEO John Wechsler will transition operational management to his longtime executive team. Wechsler will remain involved with Launch Fishers as a board member as he transitions to pursuing entrepreneurial interests. The transition will be effective July 1, 2022. As part of the succession plan, longtime executive team members have been appointed to the following leadership roles:

  • David Bolling, CFO & Executive Director of Launch Fishers
  • Jason Pennington, Vice President & Executive Director of The Indiana IoT Lab
  • Rachel Drake, Director of Marketing and Communications

“John has been a transformative figure, not just here in Fishers, but also across the state for his insight about how to contribute to building a smart, vibrant, and entrepreneurial city,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said. “I am convinced that John has helped build that strong foundation to propel our city into supporting and sustaining entrepreneurs and their ideas for the betterment of Fishers. That momentum will continue with this leadership team in place.”

Under Wechsler’s leadership, Launch Fishers, Indiana IoT Lab, and Fishers-based companies have created more than 2,000 jobs while accounting for more than $600 million in investment and M&A transactions. Launch Fishers’ activity flourished during a time when the City of Fishers was recognized as Money Magazine’s Best Place to Live in America (2017).

“The creation of Launch Fishers in partnership with Mayor Fadness and the Fishers City Council has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my career,” Wechsler said. “We have been able to create an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship flourish which has supported the creation of so many high-growth and high-potential enterprises, all while sharing our lessons learned to cities and towns statewide.”

Launch Fishers opened in 2012 in a 16,000-square-foot space in the basement of the Hamilton East Public Library. It later moved to its current location at 12175 Visionary Way with more than three times the original space. During this time, Launch Fishers and The Indiana IoT Lab membership have grown to over 600 individuals in hundreds of companies.

Launch Fishers’ impact also can be seen in several Indiana cities and towns. Mayor Fadness and Wechsler conducted a number of roadshows to share the Launch Fishers template with other communities, eventually leading to the creation of the Indiana Coworking Passport. The Indiana Coworking Passport connects 60 of Indiana’s coworking locations for member benefits as well as best-practices exchanges between the sites. Over 60 official mayoral delegations have visited Launch Fishers.

During his tenure at Launch Fishers, Wechsler led specific initiatives to impact the growth of entrepreneurship in Fishers and Central Indiana communities.

Launch Indiana was created to connect early-stage entrepreneurs with seasoned entrepreneurial mentors to provide support and insight to more than 100 startups.

The Launch Fishers High School Fellowship has connected more than 125 local high school students with a unique summer boot camp and startup internship.

Fail Fest engages attendees to hear leaders, entrepreneurs, students, and others share stories about “failing fast and failing forward” by embracing the lessons learned from failure and using them to succeed in the future.

B&G: Breakfast and Giving is a monthly gathering of Fishers-area entrepreneurs, innovators, and civic leaders designed to bring people together with a featured nonprofit to inform, educate and activate.

Wechsler supports his community outside of Launch Fishers by serving as an advisor or board member of The Indiana Technology and Innovation Association, The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, The Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites, and Youth Mentoring Initiative.

Wechsler was also named Techpoint’s 2018 Trailblazer Award winner which recognizes visionaries whose contributions have had a lasting and significant impact on our technology ecosystem and our state.