The Hitchhiker's Guide to Dayton Tech & Startups

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Dayton Tech & Startups


Before Silicon Valley there was Dayton. In fact, a recent BBC article referred to our home as "America's forgotten forerunner to Silicon Valley". Maybe you've never considered Dayton as a hub for technology innovation, but maybe it's time you give us a second look.

Take, for example, this cross-section of some of the inventions that we're responsible for:

"There's the aeroplane. The cash register. The ring pull mechanism on a can of soda. Refrigerants and air conditioning. The electric wheel chair. The modern parachute. Magnetic strip technology for credit cards. Stealth technology for aircraft. Barcode scanners. Batteries used on satellites. Scratch and sniff stickers." 

We're willing to go out on a limb and guess that you probably use about half of these items on a regular basis--you're welcome.

Though the inventions list from our history reads a bit like a game of i spy, its contents center around one thing: enhancing the lives of the people in our community. And, of course, let's not forget that the list above is far too short, and though the City of Dayton maintains a longer list of our region's contributions (should you be on the lookout for extra reading material), it's still only a small sampling of our rich, innovative history. 

In Dayton, we love our past. It's hard to go down a street without seeing a reference to one of the legends from our days gone by--Wilbur & Orville Wright, John Patterson, Charles Kettering, and Edward Deeds to name a few. These legends were among a wealth of great minds that led Dayton, known as "the city of 1,000 factories," to become the nation's greatest producer of new technologies at the dawn of the 20th century.

Yes, with a history as accomplished and colorful as ours, we Daytonians love our past, but make no mistake--we're not stuck in it. Why would we be when our future looks so exciting? Thanks to our rapidly expanding tech & startup ecosystem, companies like the ones listed as Our Startups are bringing new technology and ideas to market that are changing the world as we know it, and we are once again positioning ourselves to be a region full of great minds and life-enhancing products.

One look at our Ecosystem Map, and you'll see a strong concentration of activity in Downtown Dayton. One drive through that area, and you'll see a changing landscape. Valuable square footage for living, working, and playing is being added through new construction, and old factories undergoing transformative renovations are finding new life as offices and apartments.

Other concentrations can be found bordering Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (home to the Air Force Research Lab--the scientific and technical innovation center of the United States Air Force) and the south side of town in an area that's quickly being developed into a business and residential hotspot for those desiring access to both Dayton and Cincinnati. 

We'd love to see half a dozen more areas growing in concentration over the next 5-10 years. But how do we do that? We roll up our sleeves the way the Wrights did in 1903 and, in the spirit of research, start trying things. We come together as a community the way we did in 1913 after the Great Flood to rebuild a better Dayton, creating a culture that, in spite of set-backs and obstacles, "foster(s) the advancement of business, education, engineering and science..."

Think Dayton might just be the perfect home for your new technology? We invite you to use this "Hitchhiker's Guide" as a tool and a resource to help you explore our tech and startup opportunities and get connected.

This "Hitchhiker's Guide" is an early step in building a stronger tech & startup ecosystem and fostering that culture here in Dayton, O. This guide will never be complete because as our community continues to grow and get stronger, this guide will grow with it. If you know of any new or missing opportunities to expand our community, please let us know!

Knowledge is Power!


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In September of 2015, the Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment approved a (approximately) $7M grant to Wright State University to conduct a holistic assessment of the region's research and development ecosystem and develop pilot programs to assist companies and workers in adopting and producing market-ready technologies.

This website was prepared under contract with Wright State University with financial support from the Office of Economic Adjustment, and the Department of Defense. The content reflects the views of Wright State University and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense.