Dayton startup receives $500K in funding

Trend shows improved market for Ohio startups.

The Dayton Development Coalition’s Accelerant program has invested $500,000 in another startup, and they expect to fund two more companies by the end of the year.

Accelerant, an initiative of the coalition that funds seed-stage companies, announced it is investing in Dayton-based startup GreenSpace Enterprise Technologies. The coalition has granted funding to seven companies since 2007.

GreenSpace, founded by Springboro resident Jason Terry, is developing occupancy management technology for large corporations. The technology addresses a growing issue for companies — it helps businesses with large buildings or multiple sites determine what space is actually being used throughout the work day.

“It can drive behavior change for how companies use space,” Terry said.

GreenSpace uses occupancy sensors to gauge what rooms are being used, and connects to a mobile app, a display tablet outside of rooms and a scheduling calendar. It cost about $125 to make one sensor, which will be manufactured locally.

“These large companies will go out and pay consultant groups, and often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do these occupancy management assessments,” said Roger Edwards, Accelerant’s entrepreneur-in-resident. “A lot of them use it to make decisions on the real estate they need or don’t need.”

Terry said the company can be expanded globally, and he is actively looking at markets in Asia and Europe. Currently, the startup has five employees and is looking for office space in Springboro or Franklin.

“We’re trying to keep everything as local as possible,” he said.

Edwards told the Dayton Daily News that GreenSpace is different than other companies they’ve invested in before. While other startups have had the need for other types of funding or grants, Accelerant doesn’t believe GreenSpace will require additional funding.

The company expects to bring in more than $500,000 by the end of the first quarter of 2017, and more than $2 million in sales by the end of 2017.

In the past year, Accelerant has also made other investments. It funded $200,000 for Cincinnati startup Casamatic in February, with an additional $200,000 available if specific milestones are achieved by the company. Casamatic, which now works out of Nucleus CoShare in the Oregon District, has developed home-matching technology for realtors looking to provide personalized guidance for their clients.

Terry, who has lived in the Miami Valley for 16 years, said he has witnessed a strengthening of the startup community in Dayton. Entrepreneurs are connecting and helping each other avoid mistakes as they launch their businesses, he said.

Ohio saw an uptick in entrepreneurial growth for 2016. According to the annual Kauffman Index, entrepreneurial growth is still on a long-term decline but edged slightly upward in most states in the past year.

Among the largest 25 states, five — including Ohio — experienced the largest increase in rank on the index. Ohio jumped from No. 16 last year to No. 12 in 2016. Midwestern states have not been lauded as prosperous areas for startup growth in the past, but some entrepreneurs see a unique opportunity grounded in Ohio.

“There’s a lot of momentum in the Dayton startup community right now,” Terry said. “It’s a really broad spectrum of startups popping up.”

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