The Hitchhiker's Guide to Dayton Tech & Startups

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Dayton Tech & Startups

Equity crowdfunding is finally here – what kind of companies will use it? (Dayton Business Journal)

This article, written by Carrie Ghose, first appeared in the Dayton Business Journal on May 17, 2016. You can read the original post here.

crowdfunding.jpg

Equity crowdfunding became legal Monday, meaning the general public can invest in private businesses four years after passage of the law that allowed it.

So what kind of businesses are ready to try it?

BrewDog, for one: The Scottish craft beer maker building a brewery and brewpub in Central Ohio has announced it will seek equity crowdfunding for 20 percent of BrewDog USA Inc., as it has in its European operations.

“I think it will pick up, but I think it will be slow from the start,” said Christian Gonzalez, a partner in the Columbus office of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, commonly called the Jobs Act, was enacted in spring 2012, and the SEC has been publishing rules to implement it in stages. Monday was the effective date for rules for the law's Title III that allow companies to raise up to $1 million a year from equity investors who aren't SEC-accredited as having high income or net worth.

“The one thing that’s changed is there is in theory an opening of a door to a general investor that otherwise wasn’t there before," Gonzalez said.

I asked what the "in theory" qualification meant.

“You need to have both sides coming to the party," he said. “We’re all curious to see how this plays out. ... It will be interesting to see which companies utilize it."

ContentVia LLC, a Columbus marketing agency that specializes in helping startups launch, has designed a campaign under Title III for TurtleWise, a social network for advice on life decisions. The campaign, not yet live, will seek a maximum 300 investors.

"They came for Columbus for Startup Week and shot the video," ContentVia founder Ryan McManus said.

The law restricts such campaigns to registered online platforms. A few companies launched campaigns Monday. Delaware County-based Startups.co LLC said it is not planning immediate campaigns under its Fundable service.

Crowdfunding is best for companies that won't want to move on to a larger round with venture capitalists, both Gonzalez and McManus said. Venture investors won't want to take on the books of a company with hundreds of individual shareholders. Industries like craft brewing aren't really in the VC wheelhouse anyway.

“It may not be the sole means by which (businesses) are raising money, but they want to be part of this (movement),” Gonzalez said. “They think there’s some benefit to the general public being able to take part in this, or customers.”

Reporting requirements under which startups would have to publicly disclose at least some financial results might dissuade some, Gonzalez said, but lawmakers have started discussing raising the maximum that can be raised to $5 million, which might make it more worth the trouble.

Entrepreneurs have more control over the terms of a crowdfunding deal than under venture capital or private equity, he said.

“You’re putting the terms out there and you’re allowing the market to say whether or not they agree with you,” Gonzalez said.

Music venue, crossfit gym and tequila restaurant planned for downtown (Dayton Daily News)

It's nearly impossible to go anywhere in downtown Dayton without noticing construction and development.  With new stores, entertainment venues, and residential spaces going in all over the city blocks, it's hard not to excited about Dayton's future! This article, written by Cornelius Frolick, first appeared in The Dayton  Daily News on May 6, 2016. You can read the original post here.

Rendering of the Elks Building in the Fire Blocks District.

Rendering of the Elks Building in the Fire Blocks District.

A taco and tequila restaurant, a crossfit gym, a custom tattoo shop and live music venue are planned for an area near the heart of downtown Dayton.

The Elway Group bought a cluster of buildings along the 100 block of E. Third Street with the goal of creating a vibrant entertainment district offering housing and commercial and hospitality space.

Elway partners said a Mexican food-type establishment with high-end tequilas is moving into the long-vacant storefront at 100 E. Third St., next to the space being renovated to expand the Century Bar.

The Elway Group also purchased the building at 111 E. Fourth St. — most recently operated as Hammerjax Night Club — and plans to renovate the property into a top-end music venue, said Winfield Scott Gibson, co-owner of the Fireblocks properties.

In addition, Gibson said tenants have been lined up and secured for storefront space along the 100 block of East Third Street, but declined to identify them.

However, documents filed with the state indicate the prospective tenants are Centerville CrossFit and Wells & Co. Custom Tattoo.

“My goal right now for this year is to put as much quality, first-floor activation as possible that is congruent with what our vision is for the Fire Blocks,” Gibson said.

The Elway Group plans to spend about $23 million rehabilitating two early 20th-century commercial buildings on the 100 block of East Third Street, according to information filed with the state as part of a tax credit application.

The proposal is to create 84 apartments with indoor parking in the four-story David Building, 129 E. Third St.

The project also calls for renovating three floors of the Elks building, 100 E. Third St., into commercial space on the ground floor and 10 apartments on the upper levels.

The Fire Blocks project is seeking almost $4.5 million in state historic tax credits. The state will announce the awards by the end of June.

Gibson said the vacant storefront space at the corner of Third and Jefferson streets will become an upper-end Mexican-style restaurant with a full kitchen. The restaurant will occupy about 3,000 square feet of space.

He also said one tenant has signed a lease for storefront space in the David Building and another signed a letter of intent.

Gibson declined to identify the tenants or name of the restaurant.

But the tax credit application obtained by this newspaper says the restaurant will be called El Sueno Restaurant.

The application also says Centerville CrossFit will occupy 3,400 square feet of first-floor space at the east end of the David Building. Wells & Co. Custom Tattoo in Vandalia is expected to occupy 4,800 square feet of space.

The Elway Group consists of Gibson and his business partner, Elliot Katz.

In addition to heavily investing in East Third Street, they also bought the five-story Graphic Arts Building at 221 S. Ludlow St., which was once known as Drury Press. They plan to convert the building into housing that targets students enrolled at Sinclair Community College, which is located just blocks away.

The group also acquired the Price Stores’ parking lot on South Jefferson Street. And in February, they bought the former home of Hammerjax for about $150,000. It is the old Journal Herald building.

Hammerjax closed several years ago after the city of Dayton objected to its liquor permit.

Gibson said the live music venue will be high-end and will be vastly different than the former, problem night club.

And Gibson said Elway Group is not done. They working to acquire still more property in that section of downtown.

“We are about to report some more acquisitions. … This market is that hot, and it blows my mind that people just don’t see it,” Gibson said.

On Saturday, the future restaurant space will be open for the downtown housing tour.

Visitors will learn about the development planned for the Fire Blocks District. Artist renderings and 3-D models will be displayed showing apartment and interior designs.

“We are using that as a staging area,” said Katz, the co-owner of the Fire Blocks properties.

Local coffee roasters to gather in Dayton (Dayton Business Journal)

This article, written by Kaitlin Schroeder, first appeared in the Dayton Business Journal on May 2, 2016. You can read the original here.

It wasn't until Charles Nick moved from Houston to Dayton he says he truly discovered great coffee.

"I went from liking coffee to loving coffee," said Nick, founder of coffee startup The Wright Cup, which distributes coffee from local roasters.

With at least 10 coffee roasting businesses in the Dayton area, Nick is now planning a gathering this Saturday of local business people working in the coffee industry.

He is estimating about 80 to 100 people will come out for the coffee symposium, 2 p.m. Saturday at Nucleus CoShare in the Oregon District, which speaks to the recent rise of the roasting industry in the region.

"It's just us trying to let the Dayton area know what's going on in the area," he said.

The industry gathering is significant for indicating the industry has grown locally to the point that there's enough interest to support such a gathering.


Nick ticked off a list of local roasters that had only recently launched their businesses. Reza's Roast in Fairborn started late last year. Ambassador Coffee Roasters started this spring in Dayton. Twisted Rivers, based out of Laura, in western Miami County, has been in business for less than two years.

Leading Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Company Marxent Wins 2016 Gold Edison Award for Innovation in Virtual Reality

Prestigious Innovation Awards Program Recognizes Marxent’s VisualCommerce™ Platform for Disrupting Retail and Manufacturing Industries with 3D Virtual Product Platform.

DAYTON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marxent, the leading virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) company for enterprise retailers and manufacturers, has been awarded Gold in the “Cameras & Virtual Reality” category of The 2016 Edison Awards™. The accolade was given in recognition of VisualCommerce™, the 3D virtual products platform that allows consumers to visualize and configure complex purchases in an immersive, customizable and interactive way.

Now in its 29th year, The Edison Awards™ has become one of the highest accolades a company can receive in the name of innovation and business. The ballot of nominees for The Edison Awards was judged by a panel of more than 3,000 leading business executives including past award winners, academics and leaders in the fields of product development, design, engineering, science and medical.

“Our judges recognized Marxent as a true innovator out of the many products in its category,” said Frank Bonafilia, executive director of The Edison Awards.

Leveraging proprietary content management, file formats and geometric rendering, Marxent’s VisualCommerce™ platform allows retailers and manufacturers to store and manage 3D models of entire product catalogs that can then be used to populate dynamic AR and VR applications - or even used for dynamic web visualization tools built in WebGL and print campaigns. Users can arrange products into a scene in real time, or export high-fidelity versions of 3D products for use in print campaigns, completely replacing product photography.

Augmented reality and virtual reality applications powered by VisualCommerce™ help buyers to visualize their ideas by allowing them to dynamically configure multiple items within a 3D scene. The experiences create a smoother and more exciting path-to-purchase for consumers, particularly when it comes to high-consideration or large scale purchases. The technology is also designed to help retailers and manufacturers contain marketing, visual merchandising and sales costs.

“Virtual reality is very hot right now and our business has seen a lot of momentum in recent months. This recognition from The Edison Awards is more validation,” said Beck Besecker, CEO and co-founder of Marxent. “At heart, we are a company of inventors and dreamers. VisualCommerce™ is the outcome of years of experimentation and testing big ideas. Now that VR and AR technology has become broadly accessible, we are bringing the Star Trek fantasies of our youth into the real lives of shoppers today. To be recognized by an organization that cherishes and encourages innovation is exciting on so many levels. It is a true reflection of Marxent’s core values.”

Resources:

Discover why Marxent was named by Gartner as a “Cool Vendor” in digital commerce marketing for 2016, for its innovative approach to 3D visualization.
Learn more about other recent activity at Marxent, including how it was recognized by the Dayton Business Journal as a “Best Place to Work,” by reading our blog.
Follow and engage with Marxent on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
About Marxent

Marxent is the leader in Virtual and Augmented Reality product visualization for retailers and manufacturers. VisualCommerce™, the virtual products platform, is the only platform designed to manage and publish infinite 3D products, collections and configurations for the creation of immersive VR and AR consumer experiences. VisualCommerce™ works across AR and VR devices including iOS, Android, Oculus Rift, Gear VR and Google Cardboard. Companies tapping into the power of VisualCommerce™ include Hammacher Schlemmer, Simmons Mattress Company, Novartis and CPG Building Products (AZEK, TimberTech).

About the Edison Awards™

The Edison Awards is a program conducted by Edison Universe, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to fostering future innovators. The Awards have been recognizing and honoring the best in innovations and innovators since 1987. They honor game-changing innovations that are at the forefront of new product and service development, marketing and human-centered design, and are one of the highest accolades a company can receive in the name of successful innovation. For more information about the Edison Awards complete program and a list of past winners, visit www.edisonawards.com.

DBJ reveals winners for 2016 Best Places to Work in Dayton at awards dinner (Dayton Business Journal)

There is a change happening in the Dayton area regarding the way people do business. Part of that change centers around workplace culture. Businesses across the Miami Valley are setting new standards for the way their employees interact. This article, written by Caleb Stephens, first appeared in the Dayton Business Journal on 04-22-2016.

We are happy to see one of our favorite workplace culture creators--Marxent--take home the prize as Dayton's Best Place to Work!

marxent team pic.jpeg

The Dayton Business Journal has revealed this year’s Best Places to Work awards winners in each of the categories at the awards dinner in downtown Dayton Thursday night.

There are 32 total companies that have been named as Best Places to Work in Dayton. Those companies are finalists and each of them were given an award at the 2016 Best Places to Work awards dinner at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.

The DBJ has four categories for the awards, with companies chosen in either Micro (10 to 24 employees), Small (25 to 49 employees), Medium (50 to 99 employees) or Large (100 or more employees). At the event, the category winners were named.

The category winners are: Micro Category Winner is American Way Van & Storage; Small Category Winner is Marxent; Medium Category Winner is Waibel Energy Systems; Large Category Winner is WilmerHale.

Related: DBJ's Best Places to Work (Photos)

Quantum Research surveys employees of nominated companies on staff engagement, team effectiveness, manager effectiveness and other workplace best-practices. The results of the employee surveys are then tallied and the companies are ranked from highest score to lowest within each size category.

This year’s full list of honorees (listed alphabetically):

Micro:

  • Alto Health Care Staffing
  • American Way Van & Storage, Inc.
  • Defense Engineering Corporation
  • Ellipse Solutions
  • Energy Optimizers USA
  • Home Products Healthcare
  • LMG
  • Optimus Prosthetics
  • Quanexus
  • SpringCreek Fertility

Small:

  • Afidence Inc.
  • Choice One Engineering
  • Lighthouse Technologies Inc.
  • Marxent
  • MB Senior Solutions
  • Sebaly Shillito Dyer
  • Smart Data Systems
  • The Dayton Foundation
  • The Design Knowledge Company
  • The Ohlmann Group

Medium:

  • Altamira Technologies Corporation
  • CESO
  • Homefull
  • Incarnation School
  • Integrity Applications Incorporated
  • Modern Technology Solutions, Inc
  • South Dayton Acute Care Consultants, Inc
  • Total Quality Logistics
  • Waibel Energy Systems

Large:

  • Fidelity Health Care
  • VRI
  • WilmerHale
E-mail cstephens@bizjournals.com. Call (937) 528-4421. Twitter.com/DBJStephens

Watch: The Bug, one of the world's first drones, built in Dayton (Dayton Daily News)

This video and article, written by Ty Greenless, first appeared in the Dayton Daily News on April 14, 2016. You can read the original post here.

Most know Dayton’s Wright brothers were the first to fly a powered airplane.

Another aviation innovation happened in Dayton, lovingly called the “bug.”

In the late 1910s, inventor Charles F. Kettering, launched one of the world’s first drones as a test project for the U.S. Army in the final year of World War I. (The Hewitt-Sperry Flying Bomb was also under development by Elmer Sperry and Peter Hewitt at the same time and the two drones shared some technology.)

The drone was officially named the “Kettering Aerial Torpedo,” but was later called simply the Kettering Bug. Construction of the Bug was completed by the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, where Orville Wright was consulted.

The Bug was built as a flying bomb. When the target was reached, the wings would drop off and the rest of the craft, laden with 180 pounds of explosives, would fall and explode on impact.

Its look resembles its official “aerial torpedo” name, with a long, torpedo-like body that was constructed of wood laminates and paste-board. The bi-plane-like wings were made of wood frame and doped paper or muslin covering had had a slight V shape for stability, at Orville Wright’s suggestion.

The Bug had a 40-horsepower V-4 engine built by the Ford Motor Company that turned a wooden propeller. A gyroscope from Elmer Sperry and his Hewitt-Sperry Flying Bomb was used in concert with an aneroid barometer, gears, pneumatic/vacuum system and electricity to navigate and maintain altitude. A mechanical counter would track the distance traveled.

The first flight of the Bug, on Oct. 2, 1918, was a failure, but subsequent flights were successful. The Bug was demonstrated for the Army, and 45 of them were built before the WWI ended. The U.S. Army Air Services continued to experiment with the Bugs until funding ran out in March 1920.

The Bug is considered part of the cruise missile evolution and cost the U.S. Government about $275,000 over three years of development and testing. A reproduction is on display in the Early Years Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Yellow Springs biotech startup celebrated (Dayton Business Journal)

This article, written Kaitlin Schroeder, first appeared in the Dayton Business Journal on April 8, 2016. You can read the original post here.

A pioneering Yellow Springs startup that intends to make food production more sustainable was celebrated by investors and Dayton officials.

The company EnviroFlight was recently acquired by West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Intrexon Corp., yielding a return for the investors that believed early on in the company. The company uses bugs digesting by-products like food waste in order to make animal feed and other nutrient products.

EnviroFlight makes animal feed, fertilizer and other products by feeding black soldier flies by-products left over from brewing, ethanol production and food manufacturing.

"We solve two problems with a very tiny organism: We solve the feed problem and we solve the waste problem. So we truly believe that bugs do save the world," said EnviroFlight's president Glen Courtright, at a press conference Thursday at the Engineers Club in downtown Dayton.

The 17-person company out of Yellow Springs will remain where it's at after the acquisition.
Courtright told the story of the young company's labored initial efforts that started ten years ago with a work trip to Alaska and seeing the crippling effects climate change was having, warming up areas in the remote state.

That experience launched a series of trial and error trying to find a sustainable fuel business. Courtright said he eventually was given the idea from a friend to research using bugs, which are full of protein and fat to break up waste products and have the nutrients to feed animals.
Creating the business was a long process of inventing how to breed the flies on a large scale.
The company is currently seeking regulatory approval to use the by-product from the flies to feed farmed fish in a sustainable way.

"We're raising the bug to feed the fish to feed the people," he said.

Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON) works in synthetic biology. The company will form a joint venture with Darling Ingredients (NYSE: DAR), a publicly-traded developer and producer of sustainable national ingredients from bio-nutrients. Terms of the deal were not released.

In 2012, EnviroFlight was invested in by the Dayton Development Coalition's Dayton Region Signature Fund, a venture capital fund targeting launching high-tech startups in the region.

By being acquired by Intrexon, EnviroFlight exited the investment fund and earned its investors a return.

"This is not just a positive exit for our investors but this also illustrates entrepreneurs in the Dayton area," said Roger Edwards, vice president of the Accelerant Venture Capital Fund, of the Dayton Development Coalition, which co-invested in the company.

The speakers who addressed the gathering said smaller companies don't always get as much attention as some of the larger, accomplished companies in the area, but the startups are also important to note.

"Fuyao, CareSource, those are big companies that get all the publicity, but they were startups here too but in a different way," said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. "Companies like EnviroFlight, they don't get that publicity like some of those companies do, because there's so much that people don't know about the entrepreneurial work that's going on the Dayton area."

Defense contractor aims to get more products into market

This article, written by Barry Barber, first appeared in the Dayton Daily News on April 4, 2016. You can read the original post here.

DAYTON — Defense contractor Universal Technology Corp. has hired a top University of Dayton Research Institute sensors expert to expand UTC into the commercial market.
Footprint, a digital map crime database that tracks where crime has happened and ties in with surveillance cameras and other sensors, is the part of the commercialization drive, officials said.

Larrell Walters, former UDRI leader of the sensors division, was named UTC’s senior director of commercial products.

“We’re looking at a whole host of things outside the normal box of commercialization that we could leverage,” he said.

UTC President Joe Sciabica, former executive director of the Air Force Research Laboratory, said the company wants to help entrepreneurs bring services and products to market.

“We’re looking to come alongside those folks and team up through partnerships and help get them over the hump,” he said.

The company’s commercialization push is meant to bolster the local industrial base working with companies, research institutes and entrepreneurs, officials said.

“It’s important to me personally and from a UTC perspective … for us to continue to grow things from the Miami Valley,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential in the relationships here with the university research institutes to market,” Sciabica said.

While at UDRI, Walters started the Institute for Development and Commercialization of Advanced Sensor Technology (IDCAST) a decade ago in Dayton with a $28 million state grant.

“UDRI is a hidden gem,” he said. “They work on lots of different things that create significant value.”

The consortium partnered with eight Ohio universities and 30 companies to commercialize sensor technology. IDCAST created nearly 350 new jobs and has had a $400 million impact in Ohio, according to UTC.

Footprint uses video forensics, real-time mapping and analytics. Smartphones, computer tablets, laptops and other devices can tap into the tracking data.

A user, for instance, can touch the screen to call up color-coded crime statistics that track everything from drug offenses to burglaries by geographic area. The system converges Google Earth maps with the data to show the location where a crime happened and the frequency of incidents in that spot.

The system also can tap into surveillance cameras and show what’s happening on the street at that moment.

Footprint analyzes an hour of surveillance video in one minute, and quickly can sort out what an investigator wants to find, Walters said. For example, a police agency trying to spot a vehicle with a certain color, such as red, could filter out all other vehicles and show only ones that are red.

The system has gained acclaim in some circles. Buzzfeed listed Footprint on its website as “12 Things You Can Thank Ohio For Later.”

Footprint was developed with Copp Integrated Systems and Oci, according to a website.

The Dayton Police Department has used the crime-tracking database for about a year, Walters said. UTC has touted the system to law enforcement, but the company says more industries could adapt the technology.

 

Redwall Technologies Awarded Security Patent for Internet of Things (IoT) Embedded Processors

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The patent covers a component of the Redwall Mobile® secure operating system that can be embedded into IoT devices.

BEAVERCREEK, Ohio, March 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Redwall Technologies (Redwall) announced today the award of United States patent 9,298,917. The newly awarded patent is for a security monitor that is embedded into IoT devices including industrial controllers. The patented technology monitors a device in a novel way to stop any attempts to attack or alter the device, and can take a variety of different actions in response ranging from changing the device's settings to alerting other infrastructure elements. The security monitor is one component of the Redwall Mobile secure operating system. Redwall Mobile was envisioned as a new security paradigm developed from the perspective of a professional hacker.

"We patented a way to keep IoT and SCADA devices safe from attackers, and unlike other products that just try and encrypt network traffic or files, our security gets baked into the device's core and protects every single aspect of the device holistically. And it's good for everything from nuclear reactors to coffee makers. This is the first of several key patents Redwall Technologies expects to be awarded to protect our novel approach to securing mobile devices and embedded processors," said John Rosenstengel, President and CEO of Redwall.

With recent incidents such as the arrest of seven Iranian hackers who accessed a dam near New York City, the public is growing increasingly aware of threats to our critical national infrastructure (CNI). With their newly patented technology, Redwall is poised to offer a new level of protection to CNI systems, wearables, automotive, and other IoT systems. Redwall's expertise in providing secure mobility solutions to customers that have mission-critical applications that run on smartphones and tablets, combined with their expertise in embedded systems ranging from medical devices to counter-terrorism systems, makes the addition of IoT security products very natural.

About Redwall Technologies LLC
Redwall Technologies was founded by experienced technology entrepreneurs who are subject matter experts in the areas of information security, mobile devices, and the development of critical software. Serving on a variety of government programs, the Redwall team has come together specifically to solve the growing information assurance needs of both the public and private sectors for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices such as those in SCADA, CANBus, and similar networks. Redwall's products allow these devices to operate with increased robustness and assurance, all controlled by mission, theater, and enterprise specific policies that can easily adapt in the field to answer changing environments and threat landscapes. For more information visit www.redwall.us.

Region proves ready for tech startups (Dayton Daily News)

This article, written by Barry Barber, first appeared in the Dayton Daily News on March 25, 2016. You can read the original here.
Joshua Hagen shows the bandage-sized sensor that he and other scientists at the 711th Human Performance Wing developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to monitor the perspiration of soldiers and athletes. TY GREENLEES / Dayton Daily News STAFF

Joshua Hagen shows the bandage-sized sensor that he and other scientists at the 711th Human Performance Wing developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to monitor the perspiration of soldiers and athletes. TY GREENLEES / Dayton Daily News STAFF

Gatorade plans to market biosensor developed at Wright-Patterson lab

Gatorade expects to market an Air Force Research Laboratory-developed biosensor that checks hydration levels of elite athletes, the company has announced.

The commercialization of the AFRL-derived technology, developed with the University of Cincinnati and a Virginia-based startup called Core-Syte, marks the first of what Wright Brothers Institute officials hope will lead to startups in the Dayton region in four technical areas.

WBI has called on technologists and investors for ideas over the next 16 months to tackle issues in precision agriculture, energy, human performance enhancement and environmental monitoring. 

“We essentially looked at sort of big market areas that affect the state,” said Craig A. Steffen, a WBI technology transfer manager.

The best ideas will be vetted for market demand with the hope of creating startups in the Dayton region, officials said. Ideas can be submitted through a “blue paper” to the WBI website at wbi icc.com/commercializa tion/techdevcom .

“We’re not just looking to involve people we are already aware of,” Steffen said. “We’re looking for fresh innovation coming from sources that we don’t yet know about.”

Wright Brothers Institute would explore market research to determine the economic viability of an idea.

“It’s the market that decides,” Steffen said. “The market is going to tell us what they want and how much they’ll pay for it and when they want it.” 

A Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment grant meant to diversify Dayton’s economy beyond the influence of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the defense industry covers research costs, but technologists and entrepreneurs will have to produce or find seed money, officials said.

Tec^Edge Ventures, a WBI and SP Global-launched non-profit entity, would “mentor” the projects selected as the best and help find funding, said Kim Frazier, a WBI senior collaboration strategist.

WBI officials will focus on precision agriculture the first few months, but ideas in any of the four areas will be accepted and evaluated, officials said.

But there’s no guarantee a company would bring jobs at a new startup tech firm to the Dayton region, a point Dale Kirby, a past president of the Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association, broached with WBI leaders Thursday with an audience of dozens of technologists and potential investors.

“We need to create incentives for the investors to keep the investment here in Ohio,” he said in an interview, adding outside investors could dictate a startup locate outside of the region. “We have to show them that we support those companies from inception to full success.”

A digital sweat patch

WBI leaders, who traditionally have acted as a non-profit intermediary to bring AFRL technology to market, say their role to help create the Core-Syte startup is an example of the potential to launch tech startups that reach deals with companies like Gatorade.

Gatorade has tested the digital sweat patch as part of a “hydration customization platform” that offers recommendations to athletes on when to refuel, according to Xavi Cortadellas, global innovation and design senior director at Gatorade.

The patch will show on an app in real time an athlete’s hydration level. The biosensor monitors an athlete’s “sweat profile” by tracking sodium and potassium loss and chloride levels, he said.

A microchip-embedded “smart cap” on top of a bottle tracks how much he is drinking and “telling him if he is ahead or behind their target,” Cortadellas said. A light on top of the bottle tells the athlete when to drink.

Combined, the two sets of data — from the sensor and the smart cap — tells an athlete how he or she needs to refuel to reach a greater performance level.

The beverage maker hopes to offer the product to college and professional sports teams and “everyday athletes who are really committed to their performance,” Cortadellas said.

“The system is still a work in progress and we do not know exact launch timing of smart cap bottle or digital sweat patch,” Gatorade spokesman Noah Gold said in an email Friday.

“Obviously the hope would be to go to market sooner rather than later but it’s dependent on a number of factors.”

The company has featured the technology in a recent television commercial.
 

 Troop performance
   

AFRL researchers teamed with the University of Cincinnati to create the sweat sensors to track the performance of special forces troops. Dayton-headquartered Emit-ti, a software and mobile app company, also developed software to collect and analyze biomaker data from the sensor, officials said.

CoreSyte and Cincinnati-based Eccrine Systems, Inc., a sweat sensor technology firm, have a licensing agreement on the Band-Aid sized sweat patch, according to WBI. Eccrine would collect royalties and share the money with AFRL and the University of Cincinnati, WBI said.

'Shark Tank'-like program set for tech-curious interns (Dayton Daily News)

This article, written by Ty Greenlees, first appeared in the Dayton Daily News on March 21, 2016. You can read the original post here.

Personal avatars, 3D-printed drones and sensors linked to smart phones are some of the projects that will be part of the new Discovery Lab Global, a summer program in Dayton meant to help students experience high-tech projects and a "Shark Tank"-competition.

Last year more than 100 high school and college undergraduate students worked on technical and scientific projects in the same type of setting for the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). That program, called Discovery Lab, was sponsored by AFRL and partner Wright Brothers Institute and run by AFRL employee Rob Williams. 

That 10-year-old program ended with Williams’ retirement last year, but Williams recently founded a new non-profit, Discovery Lab Global, an extension of his former program. He'll continue his passion for connecting students with STEM learning opportunities and local researchers in a new environment.

“I really want this first year to focus on companies and communities,” Williams says. “I thought that this concept would benefit from not being constrained just to a DoD (Department of Defense) model. ‘Global’ was added because we want to open this up to students everywhere.”

Chosen students who are graduating high school seniors or first-year undergraduates will spend 10 weeks experimenting with tech-based projects. Then they'll create prototypes and compete for funding in a "Shark Tank"-like competition.

“You now are talking about giving students a chance to not only think about creating cool stuff but maybe even starting a company, accelerating entrepreneurial innovations while growing entrepreneurial innovators,” Williams said.

Because the new lab is outside AFRL, Williams and his team are working to secure partners and collaborators. Williams said the new lab space will be located in Dayton so students can work with local businesses.

“The partnership with communities and companies gives us pathfinding and prototyping opportunities,” Williams said.

 

Yellow Springs startup acquired (Dayton Business Journal)

This story, written by Tristan Navera, first appeared in the Dayton Business Journal on February 26, 2016. You can read the original here.


Enviroflight Founder Glen Courtright displaying one of his minions

Enviroflight Founder Glen Courtright displaying one of his minions

A startup in Yellow Spring focusing on sustainable food production has been acquired.

Enviroflight LLC will be acquired by West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON), a company that works in synthetic biology. The company will form a joint venture with Darling Ingredients (NYSE: DAR), a publicly-traded developer and producer of sustainable national ingredients from bio-nutrients.

The joint venture will begin construction of a commercial plant this year to prepare for future expansion, it said in a release. Terms of the deal were not released.

"EnviroFlight has focused on driving necessary change in the global food supply chain, and we look forward to working with Intrexon and Darling Ingredients to realize the considerable promise of insect bioconversion to offer solutions that meet this goal," said Glen Courtright, president of Enviroflight.


Enviroflight makes animal feed, fertilizer and other products by using "low-use material," by-products left over in brewing, ethanol production and the food manufacturing process to raise black soldier fly larvae.


"Through our partnership with Darling, the world's largest producer of sustainable natural ingredients, we look forward to employing EnviroFlight's platform to create high-nutrition, low environmental impact animal and fish feed as well as fertilizer products," said Corey Huck, senior vice president and head of Intrexon's Food Sector.


The company was a benefactor of the Dayton Development Coalition's Entrepreneurial Signature Program, a venture capital fund targeting launching high-tech startups in the region.
While working with regulatory agencies to gain approvals for the use of its technique, Enviroflight will continue to supply animal feed and fertilizers for select markets.


Dayton's Fronana expands to Columbus grocery stores (Dayton Business Journal)

Here's some exciting news for Dayton's original frozen banana cream maker Bobby Walker! This article, written by Kaitlin Schroeder, was first published in the Dayton Business Journal on February 12, 2016. You can read the original here


Dayton-based Fronana is now on grocery shelves in Columbus.

Since moving into the 27 W. 1st St. storefront through the Pop Up Project, the business has taken off. Two months ago, Fronana started selling at Dorothy Lane Market, and the owner said he has plans to rapidly spread to other markets.

Owner Bobby Walker, or "chief banana peeler" as he dubbed himself, said he delivered Fronana for the first time last week to six Columbus grocery stores: Lucky's Market, Weiland's Market, Huffman's Market, The Hills Market, The Hills Market Downtown and Bexley Natural Market.

In the Dayton area, Fronana is also now at Dot's Market in Kettering and Bellbrook and Whole Health For The Whole Family in Troy.

"My plan is to grow as fast as possible," he said.

So far, he said his expansion into grocery stores has been met with success. At Dorothy Lane Market, he said in 30 days he sold 100 cases, with six pints in each case.

"We're pumping out 50 cases a week. We're selling it as fast as we make it," he said.

His goal is to sell at least 10 cases a month at each store.

Scaling has its challenges, said Walker. Calls will need to be made on what upgrades and investments are worth it to match higher levels of production.

They've switched from hand labeling each pint to pre-printed containers. He's looking at getting a freezer truck and a bigger ice cream maker for the First Street store, where the product is made.

"We have about three or four people now, and as we grow we'll be bringing more people on," he said.

To help build his brand in other markets, Walker also plans to launch an online store in about a month.

"As we break into new markets, the challenge is educating people about who we are. The best way to get our foot in the door is to make it available so people can buy it online and then I can take that information to the groceries in those markets."

The expensive cost of shipping a frozen dessert is what held Walker back from online sales in the past. With dry ice and the box, even before shipping, the cost is maybe $20 an order.

But now, Walker said he is going to just take the risk.

"It's been the bane of my existence for this past year," he said. "I'm tired of waiting an missing out on opportunities, even if we have to eat a lot of the costs while we grow through it."

To build hype for the online store, Walker said he is holding a drawing from people who sign up on the company's website, with a winner each month this year getting shipped a free case. He expects the new site to be online by the end of the month.


Accelerant invests in startup targeting millennials (Dayton Business Journal)

A new startup has recently made its way to Dayton, and we're happy to have them! The article below, written by Tristan Navara, first appeared in the Dayton Business Journal on February 16, 2016. You can read the original here


Accelerant has made a new investment in a growing tech company.

Casamatic, a tech startup founded in Cincinnati with the goal of changing the way young people invest in real estate, has landed funds from Accelerant as part of $1.1 million in venture capital to help the company expand its range, Alex Bowman, co-founder and CEO of the company, told me.

The company pulls information from census data, crime stats, school ratings and even media such as Yelp and Foursquare to help prospective home-buyers find available homes that might fit what they are looking for. The tool has the goal of making home-buying easier. The company was started in December 2014 supported by Ocean accelerator, with Bowman and Chris Ridenour — Cincinnati entrepreneurs who had experience with Procter & Gamble, Amazon and local startups. It launched a private beta in Cincinnati last year, and has since launched in both Chicago and Dayton.

Bowman said the company is targeting millennials and ramping up in time for the busy homebuying season which begins in April. It could expand to as many as 20 markets in the mid-term and could go further.

"We bought houses in Cincinnati a few years ago, and we found the process to be frustrating," Bowman said. "There are 10 things that matter most to millennials when buying a house, and we want to help show you the home listings that speak to your interests."

Other funding has come via angel investors, The Brandery in Cincinnati and elsewhere. The company is still learning about the Dayton market, Bowman said, but it has been working out of the Nucleus Co-Share and local coffee shops, something that could change in the longer term, Bowman said.

"We want to be in a lot more cities in short order," Bowman said, adding the company has eyes on hiring more engineers to help it design and launch a mobile app for Casamatic.

Accelerant is a key part of the company's capital, and has invested $400,000 in three tranches for the company, a Dayton Development Coalition spokesperson said. Accelerant has made five previous investments,  was $500,000 Blue Ash startup Standard Bariatrics, which looks to make weight loss surgery less invasive.

Scientists prove feasibility of 'printing' replacement tissue

Some exciting news has hit the media regarding the possibility of 3D printing organs for people in need of a transplant. Check out the story below to find out what the future might hold for patients currently waiting on replacement tissue. You can read the original article here.  


A human ear structure sits in a dish after it was printed with a device called the Integrated Tissue-Organ Printing System. (Credit: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine)

A human ear structure sits in a dish after it was printed with a device called the Integrated Tissue-Organ Printing System. (Credit: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Feb. 15, 2016 - Using a sophisticated, custom-designed 3D printer, regenerative medicine scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have proved that it is feasible to print living tissue structures to replace injured or diseased tissue in patients.

Reporting in Nature Biotechnology, the scientists said they printed ear, bone and muscle structures. When implanted in animals, the structures matured into functional tissue and developed a system of blood vessels. Most importantly, these early results indicate that the structures have the right size, strength and function for use in humans.

"This novel tissue and organ printer is an important advance in our quest to make replacement tissue for patients," said Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and senior author on the study. "It can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue of any shape. With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation."

With funding from the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a federally funded effort to apply regenerative medicine to battlefield injuries, Atala's team aims to implant bioprinted muscle, cartilage and bone in patients in the future.

Tissue engineering is a science that aims to grow replacement tissues and organs in the laboratory to help solve the shortage of donated tissue available for transplants. The precision of 3D printing makes it a promising method for replicating the body's complex tissues and organs. However, current printers based on jetting, extrusion and laser-induced forward transfer cannot produce structures with sufficient size or strength to implant in the body.

The Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP), developed over a 10-year period by scientists at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, overcomes these challenges. The system deposits both bio-degradable, plastic-like materials to form the tissue "shape" and water-based gels that contain the cells. In addition, a strong, temporary outer structure is formed. The printing process does not harm the cells.

A major challenge of tissue engineering is ensuring that implanted structures live long enough to integrate with the body. The Wake Forest Baptist scientists addressed this in two ways. They optimized the water-based "ink" that holds the cells so that it promotes cell health and growth and they printed a lattice of micro-channels throughout the structures. These channels allow nutrients and oxygen from the body to diffuse into the structures and keep them live while they develop a system of blood vessels.

It has been previously shown that tissue structures without ready-made blood vessels must be smaller than 200 microns (0.007 inches) for cells to survive. In these studies, a baby-sized ear structure (1.5 inches) survived and showed signs of vascularization at one and two months after implantation.

"Our results indicate that the bio-ink combination we used, combined with the micro-channels, provides the right environment to keep the cells alive and to support cell and tissue growth," said Atala.

Another advantage of the ITOP system is its ability to use data from CT and MRI scans to "tailor-make" tissue for patients. For a patient missing an ear, for example, the system could print a matching structure.

Several proof-of-concept experiments demonstrated the capabilities of ITOP. To show that ITOP can generate complex 3D structures, printed, human-sized external ears were implanted under the skin of mice. Two months later, the shape of the implanted ear was well-maintained and cartilage tissue and blood vessels had formed.

To demonstrate the ITOP can generate organized soft tissue structures, printed muscle tissue was implanted in rats. After two weeks, tests confirmed that the muscle was robust enough to maintain its structural characteristics, become vascularized and induce nerve formation.

And, to show that construction of a human-sized bone structure, jaw bone fragments were printed using human stem cells. The fragments were the size and shape needed for facial reconstruction in humans. To study the maturation of bioprinted bone in the body, printed segments of skull bone were implanted in rats. After five months, the bioprinted structures had formed vascularized bone tissue.

Ongoing studies will measure longer-term outcomes.

###

The research was supported, in part, by grants from the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (W81XWH-08-2-0032), the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (W81XWH-07-1-0718) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (N66001-13-C-2027).

Co-authors are: Hyun-Wook Kang, Ph.D., Sang Jin Lee, Ph.D., Carlos Kengla, B.S., and James Yoo, M.D., Ph.D., Wake Forest Baptist.

Editors' Note: Photos and video are available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/znichphkx5o6hhs/AAD-EXRF42luwIPPPpuyJDzNa?dl=0

Media contacts: Kathryn Drinkuth, kdrinkut@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-1597, Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-4453; Media Relations Office, 336-716-4587.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a fully integrated academic medical center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The institution comprises the medical education and research components of Wake Forest School of Medicine, the integrated clinical structure and consumer brand Wake Forest Baptist Health, which includes North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Brenner Children's Hospital, the creation and commercialization of research discoveries into products that benefit patients and improve health and wellness, through Wake Forest Innovations, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a leading center of technological discovery, development and commercialization, as well as a network of affiliated community-based hospitals, physician practices, outpatient services and other medical facilities. Wake Forest School of Medicine is ranked among the nation's best medical schools and is a leading national research center in fields such as regenerative medicine, cancer, neuroscience, aging, addiction and public health sciences. Wake Forest Baptist's clinical programs have consistently ranked as among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report for the past 20 years.

Federal Research Network awards $7.1 million to four Ohio universities

From the Wright Sate Newsroom. Published Friday, February 5, 2016. Read the original article here.

FRN Centers of Excellence to launch at CWRU, UD, OSU, WSU as a result of Round 1 grants

The Federal Research Network (FRN) of the Ohio Federal and Military Jobs Commission (OFMJC) on Feb. 5 announced $7.1 million in funding awards to four Ohio universities.

The FRN was established with a goal of expanding and strengthening the state’s research opportunities and the commercialization of developing technologies as well as helping position Ohio for future Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA initiatives.

These awards were made possible by funds provided by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. ODHE Chancellor John Carey and his team played a key role in framing this research initiative as a requirements-based project aligned with real-world requirements.

Gary O’Connell, chair of OFMJC, whose members were appointed by Ohio’s House, Senate and governor’s office, said, “The commission is excited to see the collaboration among Ohio’s universities and their focus on the needs of Ohio’s two major federal research hubs, AFRL and NASA Glenn. The funding the State of Ohio is providing to the Federal Research Network shows the commitment to grow Ohio as a top location for discovery and innovation.”

“The FRN will link private industry investment to the research assets of Ohio’s research universities and community colleges and Ohio’s federal research centers. This effort builds on successful collaboration models that have worked with AFRL, NASA Glenn and other installations in the past,” O’Connell added.

The investments are intended to grow federal research spending and create jobs in Ohio for government and industry-related activities, advance research initiatives aimed at emerging DOD and NASA requirements, enhance university collaborations with Ohio-based companies and have a broad economic impact on the state.

Today’s announcement is Round 1 in the FRN funding process. The awards will facilitate establishment of the first group of FRN Centers of Excellence (COE) on Ohio campuses.

The Center of Excellence teams awarded are Case Western Reserve University, the University of Dayton, The Ohio State University and Wright State University.

Each project funded calls for university and industry cost-sharing and is based on a DOD or NASA requirement.

Each FRN Center of Excellence is committed to converting its investment into additional funding and business development activities and to foster greater collaboration among Ohio’s research universities.

The support and active participation of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), Naval Aerospace and Medical Unit in Dayton (NAMRU-D) and NASA Glenn Research Center are key to the FRN model and the success of the Round 1 process.

The grant recipients, their Centers of Excellence titles and funding awards are:

Case Western Reserve University

  • The Partnership for Research in Energy Storage (PRESIDES) Center of Excellence
  • $1.6 million ($800K in year one; $800K in year two)
  • University Partners: The Ohio State University, University of Akron, University of Toledo, University of Dayton
  • Industry Partners: Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc., pHMatter LLC, GrafTech International Holdings Inc., CRG Inc., UES Inc., CAR Technologies LL, Akron Polymer Systems Inc.

University of Dayton

  • The Materials and Manufacturing (M&M) Center of Excellence
  • $2 million ($1M in year one; $1M in year two)
  • University Partners: University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Toledo, Ohio University, Youngstown State University
  • Industry Partners: Lucintech Inc., Orbital Research Inc., Engineered Material Systems Inc., Hana Microdisplay Technologies Inc., Universal Technology Corporation, GE Aviation, Lincoln Electric, Norman Noble Inc., Lakeshore Cryotronics Inc., Eaton, ABB Inc., Electrodyne

The Ohio State University

  • The Ohio Center for Power and Propulsion (OCPP) Center of Excellence
  • $2 million ($750K in year one; $750K in year two; and $500 in year three)
  • University Partners: University of Akron, University of Dayton
  • Industry Partners: Orbital Research, Inc., Emerson Network Power, Lakeshore Cryotronics, IAP Research Inc., Vanner Group, Meggitt-USA Inc., Parker Hannifin Corporation, Aerospace Group, GE Aviation, GE EPISCENTER

Wright State University

  • The Human Performance and Health Science (HPHS) Center of Excellence
  • $1.5 million ($745K in year one; $755K in year two)
  • University Partners: University of Cincinnati, University of Toledo, AFIT, Case Western Reserve University
  • Industry Partners: University of Toledo Medical Center, Dayton Children’s Hospital, The Perduco Group, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Premier Health, Advanced TeleSensors, Red Bull

Funding awards were approved by a statewide FRN Executive Review Board (ERB), which reviewed the recommendations of a statewide Technical Review Council (TRC). Both the board and council include participants from industry, DOD, NASA, state offices and officials and Ohio universities. All funding decisions approved by the ERB were reviewed with the OFMJC and the Ohio Department of Higher Education before final awards were made.

According to Dennis Andersh, Wright State Applied Research Corporation’s chief executive officer, the total state FRN funding is $20 million over two years. He noted that two additional Centers of Excellence — the Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), a Wright State-Ohio State shared center; and the Communications and Precision Navigation and Targeting at Ohio University — were not funded at this time. However, teams from both COEs are collaborating with their government counterparts to develop solid proposals during the Round 2 funding competition that was announced Jan. 29.

Andersh said the FRN is in negotiations with Cleveland State University and Lorain County Community College to develop a statewide commercialization and workforce development center in support of the FRN that will reinforce the Centers of Excellence with technology commercialization, business development and workforce development support. This award is expected in the near future.

He added, “The FRN leadership team is working actively to make each Center of Excellence successful. Validation of the model will enhance the competitive posture of Ohio research universities and firms for future funding and will enable the FRN to seek state funding beyond 2017. It’s the intent of the FRN to fund the best proposals at the level required to successfully execute their approved statements of work.”

One such center, Wright State’s AHEAD Center of Excellence, is a model for the new COEs. AHEAD is credited with having created 575 jobs for Ohio, while winning $167 million in contracts and attracting $150 million in private sector advancement in its first three years of existence.

FRN Round 2 funding will be $8 million, according to Andersh, who thanked DOD and NASA leaders for their support throughout the process of developing the FRN. “A lot of people played a role in getting the network set up, and the continued backing of leadership at these agencies was vital,” Andersh said.

Robert E.W. Fyffe, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at Wright State, said, “The Federal Research Network is the result of what many consider an unprecedented collaboration among various leaders in government and higher education from throughout Ohio. Their efforts were esprit de corps from the beginning, and through many months of meetings and planning, partnership was the byword that made today’s awards possible.”

Added Wright State University President David R. Hopkins, “It makes me so proud to see that what started as a simple conversation between Wright State and Ohio State has evolved into so many Ohio research institutions working together to grow research and workforce development for the greater good of Ohio.”

The Federal Research Network was part of the state’s new Federal Military Jobs Commission proposal approved by Ohio’s legislature in summer 2015. In addition to aligning Ohio research universities with key government research requirements, the initiative also is intended to help differentiate Ohio from other states in case of any future activity.

For more information about the Ohio Federal and Military Jobs Commission and the Federal Research Network, go to ofmjc.atichcd.org.