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HESS Industries Ltd. at the Braintree Business Development Center in Mansfield - Photo Bob Perkoski
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Cleveland/Northeast Ohio : Innovation + Job News

184 Cleveland/Northeast Ohio Articles | Page: | Show All

onshift closes $3 million in financing, following 400 percent jump in annual revenue

OnShift Software, a leader in web-based staff scheduling and shift management software for the healthcare industry, closed $3 million in series B financing. The funding will help OnShift meet the rising demand to manage healthcare costs.

OnShift is experiencing fast, significant growth, having achieved a 400 percent increase in annual revenue in 2011. The company’s customer base has surged to more than 600 in the past year. The funding will be used to accelerate OnShift’s sales and marketing strategies and expand its presence in the healthcare industry.

“The healthcare market is under a lot of pressure to get costs under control,” says OnShift CEO Mark Woodka. “Our customers need to manage their labor costs in long-term care and senior living. That collection of customers is primarily doing it manually. This funding will allow us to meet the demand, accelerate our growth and continue to deliver world class, innovative solutions to our healthcare clients.”

With OnShift, providers control labor costs by preventing overtime, managing open shifts, and operating with appropriate staffing levels

OnShift has 36 employees and plans to grow to 55 or 60 this year.

 
Source: Mark Woodka
Writer: Karin Connelly
 
 
 
 

madwerkz studio creates visual effects that are 'better than real'

Robots battling natural disasters. Historic downtown Burton and its collection of 19th century buildings transformed into a turn-of-the-century Alaskan mining town. A virtual tradeshow display in 3D.

Creating these and other eye-popping visuals is all in a day’s work for Cleveland-based MadWerkz

Joddy Matthews, Founder and Director of Madwerkz, spent nearly eight years working for Sony, Pixar and Dreamworks in Los Angeles. In 2000, the native Clevelander returned to his roots and started MadWerkz.

The result is a team of award-winning artists and animators creating content, animation, design motion and visual effects for the advertising, film, TV, gaming and music industries. The growing company's stable of clients includes General Motors, Audi, Sherwin Williams and U.S. Vision, among others.

“We’re currently working on two new feature films,” says Matthews, who adds that he is not at liberty to name the titles. “They’re shooting the film in 2D, and we’re converting it to 3D.” MadWerkz is emerging as one of just a handful of companies specializing in 'Stereoscope,' another name for 3D.

“We’re getting opportunities to produce groundbreaking work in a broad range of applications,” he adds. “As a small creative shop with less bureaucracy than larger ones and in-house talent that includes producers, animators, videographers and designers, we have lower overhead, which translates into more project flexibility and lower rates.”

The company recently moved into spacious new quarters in the city’s Slavic Village neighborhood, giving MadWerkz room to grow. MadWerkz also has a presence in Chicago.

“For what we do, we love Cleveland because of the resources here,” Matthews states. “The location is accessible, and there are excellent schools, like the Cleveland Institute of Art, turning out very capable students in the visual arts. In addition, Cleveland State and the University of Akron have world-class professors teaching film and animation.”

Source:  Joddy Matthews
Writer:  Lynne Meyer

52 apps in 52 weeks

When it comes to making challenging New Year’s resolutions, Josh Schwarz knows how to set the bar high and deliver results.

The Case Western Reserve University sophomore is a computer science major, and his  resolution for 2011 was to create one Facebook application a week – 52 in all. To his  credit, Schwarz met the goal – on time and on target.
“I’ve always been into computers,” Schwarz explains. “I’m constantly wanting to innovate, and I realized that the Facebook platform has plenty of space for lots of new ideas.”
Schwarz categorizes his 52 apps into two segments – sharing data in a new way and viewing data in a new way.
His first app – Relationship Mania – enables users to organize their friends based on their relationships -- married, single or engaged, for example. With Email Grab, you can set up a simple way to collect email addresses from visitors to your website. Using the City Friends app, you can group your friends by their current locations and plan social events accordingly.

According to Schwarz, Cartoonize Me is the most popular app. “It transforms your photos into colorful cartoons,” he says. Next up in popularity is the Mutual Friends Matrix, designed to tell users which of their friends is most popular.

Schwarz’s apps can be accessed through his website at www.amagit.com.

His project has enabled him to meet many entrepreneurs and people in the technology business in Northeast Ohio and beyond. “This has been a great learning experience,” Schwarz says. “I’m determined to start my own company before graduating, so I’m aggressively pursuing technology, business and entrepreneurship experiences.” To that end, in addition to his classes, he’s an intern at JumpStart, Inc.
Next up for Schwarz is working on a service exclusively for Case students. “I want to build something that provides them recommendations for books, events, and jobs they might want to apply for,” he explains.

Source: Josh Schwarz, www.Amagit.com
Writer:  Lynne Meyer

 

Hyperlocal funds help boost Ohio entrepreneurship

To spur economic development and create jobs in their communities, several Ohio cities have created new, hyperlocal funds that offer attractive financing to entrepreneurs that may have the next great business idea, yet lack the actual cash to implement it. The catch? They must be willing to put down roots and grow their businesses locally.

One example of a growing Ohio business that recently took advantage of such hometown love is ManuscriptTracker, a Wooster-based firm that sells web-based software that automates the peer review process for academic journals. Co-founder Brian Boyer says a $35,000 deferred-payment loan from the Wooster Opportunities Loan Fund made it possible for him to bring his product to market last year.

“We saw lots of potential to grow our business, but funding is very hard to come by for start-up software companies,” says Boyer, a Wooster native. “Thanks to receiving funding last year, we were able to develop a market version of our software, as well as sales resources such as a database, marketing collateral and potential client list.”

ManuscriptTracker’s software organizes and automates peer review tracking for busy academics that don’t have the time or resources to manage the process themselves. The stringent nature of the peer review process, particularly with scientific journals, often necessitates involving as many as 20 individuals in a single review.

“To be published in an academic journal, your work must be vetted by the research of your peers, but that means asking top researchers to set aside their time,” explains Boyer. “We simplify and organize the process and provide helpful reporting forms. We also help academics to track who in their network is quick and knowledgeable.”

With the assistance of the economic development nonprofit Jumpstart, similar hyperlocal funds have also been created in Barberton, Canton and Mansfield.

As the New Year kicked off, ManuscriptTracker had already secured one new client, and Boyer says he’s hopeful that the new software will attract additional clients soon.


By Lee Chilcote

Sleep apnea test can be done at home now thanks to new equipment

A partnership between two Ohio medical device companies could make getting a good night's sleep easier for people who suffer from sleep apnea.
 
The new SleepView portable sleep monitor and web portal lets doctors monitor patients’ breathing and other sleep patterns at home. The device meets American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s diagnostic standards, and offers quicker, more efficient and cost-effective diagnosis and treatment.
 
Midmark, a Versailles-based giant in medical equipment manufacturing and distribution, licensed the device technology from Cleveland Medical Devices, a leader in sleep diagnostics technology.
 
"SleepView enables patients to be tested in the comfort of their own bed and convenience of their own home for a more natural night of sleep, instead of going to a sleep lab," says Midmark PR Manager Susan Kaiser.
 
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is marked by sudden and frequent interruption of normal breathing during sleep. It's caused by a collapse of the upper airway and is estimated to affect as many people as diabetes. Still, most who suffer from it go undiagnosed and untreated.

Numerous studies link OSA to major chronic diseases such as stroke, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and increased odds of serious car crash injuries, according to Midmark.
 
“We want to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care for patients with OSA by providing another diagnostic option, which enables patients to be tested in the comfort of their own bed and convenience of their own home for a more natural night of sleep,” explains said Tom Treon, senior product manager for Midmark.
 
The system is available through prescription only. Patients use the SleepView self-test kit at home during their normal sleep time. In addition, the prescribing doctor has online access to registered technologists and sleep physicians who can interpret the monitor results and offer treatment recommendations, while protecting patient privacy as required by federal law.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson

Small biz employment grows during holidays, perhaps a sign of good things to come

The November CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends among companies with 300 or fewer employees, increased by .35 percent in November. While the trend reflects companies surveyed across the country, “a good number of the survey respondents are from the Cleveland area,” says Phillip Noftsinger, business unit president of CBIZ Payroll Services.

While the trend is typical for the holiday season, Noftsinger is optimistic that the increase may lead to future job growth. “I think this time of year we would expect to see growth during the holiday season,” he says. “But we’re hoping a strong holiday season will support a longer term trend in these numbers. It’s a little early to tell though.”

A good holiday shopping season has the potential to continue into the new year. “Strong consumer spending sustains growth,” says Noftsinger. “We hope to see a continued strong holiday season, which leads to income growth and labor growth and an upward spiral in employment.”

Source: Phillip Noftsinger
Writer: Karin Connelly


(Courtesy sister publication FreshWater Cleveland)

Third Frontier grant will help save lives and money--and create business opportunities in Ohio

Three northeast Ohio businesses, with the aid of a $2.5 million grant from Ohio's Third Frontier, are researching first-of-their-kind imaging technology that will help detect medical conditions, such as cancer, sooner and save hospitals money by reducing the number of biopsies taken.
 
Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals and Philips Healthcare, partnered in the summer of 2010 to form the Philips Healthcare Global Advanced Imaging Innovation Center, where they have multiple projects aimed at combining the best attributes of CT, PET and MRI imaging systems to give doctors better tools in identifying breast cancer and take earlier action in heart attack patients.
 
The projects, which combine medical imaging technologies already in use, could eventually save hospitals millions in costs, give Ohio a leg-up on their commercialization and--most importantly--save lives.
 
In one project, the partners hope to combine PET (Positron Emission Tomography) with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, both of which are currently used to detect early signs of breast cancer, to provide doctors with higher resolution imaging that will ultimately give doctors a clearer picture of what’s happening inside the body.
 
"The focus is on improving the spatial resolution, allowing us to find tumors much smaller than we can find now," says Dr. Raymond Muzic, the project's leader and an associate professor at Case Western. "MRI's, when used clinically, often show spots that look suspicious but turn out to not be a problem. Getting images with higher resolution will help us determine which spots are a problem and which are not."
 
The better imaging would reduce the number of biopsies doctors order to determine malignancy, saving hospitals thousands of dollars. It would also help doctors catch tumors much earlier, which could mean the difference between life and death.
 
According to the American Cancer Society, patients who are diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer, with tumors two centimeters or smaller, have up to a 20 percent greater chance of surviving cancer than patients who advance to Stage II, in which tumors are larger and start spreading to the lymph nodes.
 
The second project looks to do something similar--only with heart patients. Researchers are pairing cardiac perfusion technology with CT scanners, creating a novel imaging system that would allow emergency room doctors to assess the extent and location of damaged heart muscle when time is of the essence.
 
The partners are each contributing $1 million toward the projects, along with equipment and the time of researchers and engineers. Once the engineering is completed, University Hospitals and Case Western will oversee the clinical trials. Results are expected "within a few years," according to Muzic.
 
"The projects are a win-win for everybody involved," he said. "The goal is to develop a product here in Ohio that can be manufactured in Ohio by an Ohio company and marketed throughout the world. It's a win for each of the partners and it's a win for the state."

NorTech sets the bar for economic development with its 'cluster' approach, wins national award

NorTech clearly has a “Go big or go home” attitude. Its cluster approach to economic development in advanced energy and flexible electronics has supported companies that have attracted $20.5 million in capital, created 171 jobs and generated $10.8 million in payroll in Ohio over a one year period starting in July of 2010.
 
A “cluster” is a geographic concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers, and associated institutions in a particular technology sector.
 
NorTech, a regional nonprofit technology-based economic development organization serving 21 counties in Northeast Ohio, has tested its cluster model on two industry clusters – advanced energy and flexible electronics. “We provide and connect cluster members to a variety of resources to help them commercialize new products, locate investors, access government funding, form strategic partnerships and funding collaborations,” said Kelly South, NorTech’s senior director of communications.
 
And now, NorTech has won big for its development innovation. The organization is in the national spotlight for recently receiving a prestigious national award from the State Science Technology Institute (SSTI).
 
SSTI is a national nonprofit organization that leads, supports and strengthens efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology and innovation.
 
According to a news release, SSTI’s awards program identifies "national models developed by states and regions to accelerate science, technology and innovation to grow their economies and create high-paying jobs."
 
NorTech received SSTI’s Most Promising TBED Initiative Award, a new category for creative initiatives that address a specific need in a region to achieve economic growth.
 
The recognition is a very big deal. "The SSTI award brings external validation from national technology based economic development (TBED) practitioners to our work,” said South. “It recognizes our cluster development model as a ‘best practice’ approach to growing regional industry clusters that can be applied to other industries and areas of the country. It’s a great honor to be recognized by our peers."
 
According to Rebecca O. Bagley, president and CEO of NorTech, "At the federal level, there is a growing recognition of the value of regional innovation clusters as a ‘bottoms up’ approach to creating jobs and making the U.S. more globally competitive."


 

Ohio zoos get serious about green energy, boast country's largest solar canopy

Conservation has always been a major concern for zoos, from habitat conservation to protecting animal populations with dwindling numbers. Two Ohio zoos, though, are leading the way into another branch of conservation--energy conservation.
 
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens and the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium have both made headlines in the last two years for their green technology efforts, investing millions while enlisting help from the state's green industry to become leaders in the field.
 
Over the past five years, the Cincinnati Zoo has invested $1 million in energy improvements, upgrading 73 buildings--including elevating five to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and other initiatives like switching to energy-saving LED lights for its annual holiday display.
 
The biggest splash in the Ohio zoo green movement is just starting to pay off, though. Earlier this year, the zoo completed construction on an $11 million, four-acre, 15-foot high "solar canopy" that covers 800 spaces in its parking lot. The system, billed as the largest, publicly accessible urban solar array in the country, consists of 6,400 panels that generate 1.56 megawatts--providing nearly 20 percent of the zoo's energy requirements.
 
Along with saving the zoo millions in energy costs, the project also includes education benefits. It funds 10 scholarships at Cincinnati State's Green Workforce Development Program and includes an onsite kiosk that shows the array's performance and extolls the virtue of solar energy. The zoo began using the array in April, soon after completion.
 
Melink Corp., owned by green technology activist Steve Melink, designed the structure and served as developer. It also secured the financing for the array, and will operate the array for the zoo. The Milford-based company jumped onto the "green bandwagon" early, specializing in high-efficiency restaurant exhaust systems since 1987 before moving into solar projects over the past decade.
 
Thane Maynard, executive director of the zoo, said there was no better place to showcase solar technology.
 
"As the greenest zoo in America, there is no better place to showcase this technology and to help the public understand that not only is this technology the right thing to do for our energy future," he said, "but it makes absolute financial sense as well."
 
The Cincy Zoo might have a battle on its hands for the "greenest" title, though.
 
Just up I-71, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium announced in October plans for a solar array to surpass its Cincinnati counterpart. Construction starts next year. 
 
"We're excited about the solar array," says zoo director of planning Barbara Revard. "Everything's still in the planning stages, but I think we're comfortable in saying that we think it will be somewhere between a 2.5-to-3 megawatt system."
 
Taking the lead in the project is Athens-based Third Sun Solar, one of the state's fastest-growing solar firms. Founded in 2000 by the aptly named Geoff and Michelle Greenfield and operating out of the Innovation Center at Ohio University, the company has become a regional leader in implementing solar technology. It's been named to Inc. magazine's “Inc. 5,000" for three years in a row.
 
The planned solar array isn’t the only trick in Columbus zoo's green hat, however. Three years ago, it opted to utilize geothermal technology in another of its projects, the Polar Frontier exhibit. Opening this past May, the $20 million exhibit circulates 300,000 gallons of water to a tank that serves as home to polar bears. The mostly underground system keeps the water at a constant chilled temperature, using a fraction of the energy of other options.

The zoo has also "gone green" in other areas, from pioneering use of new Flux Drive pump products that have led to a 40 percent reduction in energy costs, to recently installing "smart skylights" in one of its buildings.
 
The skylights, produced by Ciralight Global out of Corona, Calif., consist of motorized mirrors and sensors that rotate the mirrors to catch sunlight and reflect it inside, where its needed. The result is an electricity-independent, natural light source that provides better light at less cost.

"We joke that we're finding things in the warehouse that we didn't even realize were there," says Revard.
 
Columbus-based Energy Solutions Group worked with the zoo on bringing the "flux drive" and skylights into the fold.
 
Both the Cincinnati and Columbus zoos are leaders in implementing green technology, but they're far from alone. Every few months, representatives from all Ohio's zoos get together to talk about moving toward more environmentally friendly initiatives. The group, called the Ohio Zoo Green Consortium, consists of about 30 representatives from around the state, said Revard.
 
"The fun thing for us all is working together and talking about what we're doing, what's working well and what's next," said Revard. "It's our hope that we can not only share that information with other zoos in Ohio, but also serve as a model to zoos outside the state."

Cleveland's Edison Ventures drops $6.5 million in Columbus-based software company

Edison Ventures, a New Jersey-based venture capital firm that specializes in helping innovative, established companies grow, has a new Ohio office up north that has made a mark in the Buckeye state by dropping its first $6.5 million Ohio investment into the Columbus-based software company Call Copy.

“We'd been tracking Call Copy since 2007 and were impressed by its growth and leadership,” says Michael Kopelman, partner at Edison Ventures, of the company’s growth from a simple software development company for call centers to a multi-purpose company that also provides in-house support for that software as well as the job process involved in using it. “There is a trend of many companies moving to Voice Over IP technologies, and they are more open to looking at other call center solutions.”

Call Copy develops innovative contact center software for dozens of industries from banking and healthcare to energy and insurance. This summer it was named to Inc. 500's list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., with three-year sales growth of 831 percent.

“They make products that are very intuitive in an industry where there is a lot of turnover,” says Kopelman, and “quick training is absolutely critical.”

Edison Ventures, founded in 1986, is firmly committed to making continued Midwest investments following its expansion in to D.C., New England and New York. It opened its newest office in Cleveland in February. Chris Sklarin, who helped found JumpStart in Cleveland, heads the Edison Midwest office.

“We think this is an undeserved market,” says Michael Kopelman, partner at Edison Ventures. “We've done 44 deals in Pennsylvania, and in its close neighbor Ohio we see a great opportunity.”

Edison invests in established companies that have proved successful, but are looking to scale their products or services across the United States or internationally. Since its founding, Edison has made 180 investments, that have resulted in 110 exits and is in its seventh fund, Kopelman says. Edison's generally invests in fast-growing companies doing $5 million to $20 million in revenue and will invest from $5 million to $10 million.

New deal with Texas Instruments leads Linestream to 'double in size by next year'

LineStream Technologies is growing by leaps and bounds in the automated software control market. The company was created in 2008 as a spinoff out of research done by Cleveland State University's Zhiqiang Gao, director of the Center for Advanced Control Technologies and focuses on commercializing and simplifying control software.
 
Basically, LineStream products increase efficiency, are easy to implement, and therefore improve the performance of automated systems.
 
"Any product using a motor, we look to improve energy efficiency and life of that motor," explains David Neundorfer, LineStream president. "We simplify the design process and lop off weeks of [development]."
 
The company is getting attention from some of the major players in the automation industry. They just licensed their software to Texas Instruments. "We're going to be putting software in a chip platform in motor and motion controls," explains Neundorfer.
 
The deal adds to the company's rapid growth. "It's very exciting and a large deal for us," says Neundorfer. "Some of the larger companies in the industrial space are interested in our technology."
 
LineStream has grown to five employees this year, expects to be at eight to 10 by the end of the year, and double in size again next year. "We're hiring and ramping up to establish a relationship with Texas Instruments."

Source: David Neundorfer
Writer: Karin Connelly

This story originally appeared in sister publication Fresh Water Cleveland.

Quasimoto no hunchback when it comes to game systems acumen

The seeds for Quasimoto Interactive were planted when Christopher Gerding was a student at Wake Forest University. His fraternity's PlayStation 1 system had been stolen, and Gerding set out to find a replacement.

Instead, he went one better -- he built a cabinet and integrated the parts needed to construct the first-ever console-based arcade kiosk.

That insight -- that home console games could be transformed into arcade gaming systems -- launched Quasimoto in 1998 as a consumer-based company and led to an enterprise that, between 2008 and 2010 grew sales by 240 percent, says Jessica Fuller, Quasimoto's CEO and Gerding's wife.

Today the Sharon Center-based specialty designer and manufacturer of high-end game cabinets and electronics no longer sells to the consumer market, but to commercial enterprises. It has even branched out to manufacture systems for other customers, including candy-dispensing systems for Sweet Amanda's, a candy kiosk company based in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., Fuller says.

Ironically, the real growth didn't occur until after a 2001 accident claimed Gerding's right leg. Much of the $65,000 accidental death and dismemberment payment was put into the company to begin marketing the company's products. At the time, Gerding was running Quasimoto by day and selling aluminum siding by telephone at night, Fuller says.

The company's first branded product was Quasicade with three products: Quasicade Jr., Quasicade 2 and Quasicade Pro.

"The product line opened doors to Sam's Club, Costco, Best Buy and earned OEM business from Disney and others," Fuller says.

Last year, the company introduced Game Gate VU -- a universal console arcade machine licensed for the public --  leading to a second business: product design and development. The new subsidiary, called Advantage Design and Manufacturing Group, now provides product development, concept development, industrial design, 3-D solid modeling, rapid prototyping and a variety of other services for customers.

Quasimoto, which Fuller says received invaluable assistance from SCORE, has grown from four employees in 2008 to 20 today, and Fuller says the company is hiring. It recently moved from an 8,000 square foot warehouse to a 93,000-foot facility.

Source: Jessica Fuller, Quasimoto
Writer: Gene Monteith

Summit Data Communications builds international presence with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth products

Summit Data Communications marks its inception from March of 2006 when “the last of the founders quit their ‘day job’ at Cisco Systems and went all-in at Summit,” says CEO Ron Seide.

Since then, the Akron-based company has shipped more than 1.4 million units of its product and is poised for further growth.

The company produces industrial and medical grade Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules for embedding into mobile devices that operate in challenging environments like factories, warehouses and hospitals. Unlike the “consumer-grade” wireless modules of its competitors, Summit’s modules are hardware and software optimized for optimal connectivity under the most difficult conditions.

More than 70 customers, half of which are in Asia, choose from among seventeen products. Revenues swelled from $7 million in ’07 to $15.2 million last year, a three-year increase of 115 percent. The company’s 2010 percentage growth rankings looked better because they were working off a smaller base, Seide explains.

Summit’s employees have grown from the original five founders to more than 20 full-time equivalents.

“We focus mostly on software developers and technical support people. I estimate we’ll add 6 to 9 people next year. We also employ an extensive number of remote software developers who work out of their homes. We use this flexibility to attract and retain talent that would often be beyond the reach of a small enterprise like ours,” says Seide. 

“We’re 100 percent bootstrapped, which is to say we’re self-funded.”

Source: Ron Seide, Summit Data Communications
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney

Timken, Stark State, Port Authority team up on nation's first R&D center for large wind-turbine gear

Technical students at Stark State College could be blown away by America’s first R&D center for large wind-turbine gearbox systems.

The Timken Company, Stark State and the Stark County Port Authority are building a Wind Energy Research and Development Center, the first of its kind in the U.S. Timken will use the facility to develop ultra-large bearings and seals on sophisticated equipment that replicates the operating environment of large multi-megawatt wind turbines. 

The $11.8 million research and development center will anchor Stark State’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport.

“We are very pleased to launch such an important project for the wind energy industry,” said Douglas Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology and quality at the center's groundbreakign in August. “Being able to simulate real-world conditions at full-scale puts us in a unique position to rapidly assess and qualify new solutions for the industry.”

According to Timken, the 18,000-square-foot center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State students, offering them critical experience conducting research, developing new designs and testing large wind-turbine bearing systems.  It will also provide critical training for current and future technicians required by today’s wind turbine manufacturers and operators.

Joint funding for the project combines more than $6 million invested by Timken, $2.1 million from the Ohio Third Frontier, and $1.5 million in loans from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority's Advanced Energy Jobs
Stimulus Program.

Source: The Timken Company

Knotice getting knoticed

Knotice is the poster child for early stage funding, taking an initial half-million dollar investment and using it to fuel an innovative product that's getting -- well, knoticed. 

Founded in 2003, the Akron-based company helps marketers maximize their direct digital marketing through process automation. CEO Brian Deagan says the product has been so well received in the marketplace that sales have grown at least 50 percent since 2003.

"Knotice started this year with 55 employees, and today employs nearly 90, with several positions still available," says CEO Brian Deagan. "Current openings include account executives with mobile experience, software engineers, sales professionals, creative talent, finance and administrative staff . . . We're opening a Seattle office in November, so we're excited to see what the future holds."

The company's technology lets marketers access customer data across all channels. Concentri, its on-demand direct software platform, unites mobile marketing; email marketing, the Web and direct display within a Universal Profile environment, letting marketers manage all their digital touchpoints from a single log-in.

"Other less advanced solutions require the user to move data back and forth between disparate systems which can be a real pain," Deagan says.

"The company has fully re-paid an investment of $500,000 from JumpStart: "The investment helped us to launch our product and hire a variety of very talented people most of them are still with us. In an industry that normally relies on outside funding for success, Knotice has been able to mostly self-fund its growth," explains Deagan.

Deagan says Knotice also tries to make the company a good place to work.

"We celebrate people's interests in sports, music and the arts. Employees are reimbursed for yoga classes which they can take at any time [flex time] . . . that, and we have one of the best marketing platforms out there," Deagan boasts.
 
Source: Brian Deagan; CEO and co-founder
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney
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