News


Canton SunDown RunDown alum Smoke Staxx in the news

July 12, 2018
by Rachel Abbey McCafferty, Crains' Cleveland Business News
What started out as a hobby for Brian Halasinski and Kirk Hyust is now a promising business, Smoke Staxx Pans LLC in Canton. They pitched their company at the July 11, 2018 SunDown RunDown pitch night in Canton. Last summer, Halasinski had trouble finding a good, round barbecue pan to go along with his round smoker. So he began brainstorming and the two of them came up with the idea for a stackable pan.

What started out as a hobby for Brian Halasinski is now a promising business, Smoke Staxx Pans LLC in Canton.Last summer, Halasinski started using a round smoker, and he had trouble finding a good, round barbecue pan to go along with it. He began brainstorming with his friend, Kirk Hyust, and in December, the two came up with the idea for a stackable pan. In early May, Smoke Staxx Pans went live on Kickstarter. It reached its goal of $15,000 within eight days, Halasinski said, ultimately raising $17,706. Halasinski said that he and Hyust have been busy in recent months, filing for a patent, forming an LLC, registering with the state and setting up an online presence for Smoke Staxx Pans. Halasinski is president of the company, and Hyust is vice president.The way the pans are designed allows smoke and air to flow throughout, even when they're stacked on top of each other. That will let customers stack the pans and cook multiple items without cross contamination, Halasinski said.Hyust said the pan needed to have structure and be able to do something typical pans can't; they couldn't just patent a regular aluminum pan. Hyust has patented a wrench, so he has experience with the process. The business partners met about two-and-a-half years ago when Halasinski hired Hyust for a renovation project. The job ended up being eight months long, and the two became friends in that time. And on this particular venture, their experiences aligned well. Both Halasinski and Hyust have entrepreneurial experience: Halasinski is a pharmaceutical sales representative who ran a head lice treatment center that he recently sold, and Hyust has his own construction company. Before getting into construction, Hyust attended culinary school and worked in the restaurant industry. "It's a perfect combination," Hyust said.The two originally planned to make a disposable aluminum pan, but they found quotes from U.S. and Canadian tool and die makers to be prohibitively expensive. They started looking to Chinese manufacturers, but really wanted to make the product in the United States, preferably in Northeast Ohio, Halasinski said. After a little more searching, the pair came across an Amish manufacturer in Millersburg who said the pans could be made in cast aluminum. That would make the pan reusable, but more expensive for consumers. The original idea of making disposable pans was to make it affordable, Halasinski said. The cast aluminum pans cost about $100 each.But the tooling for a cast aluminum pan would be less expensive for Smoke Staxx Pans, as they wouldn't need to make as much, and that would let the company go to market faster.They decided to make the change."We didn't really have much choice," Halasinski said.From there, Halasinski and Hyust put together an entire supply chain in Northeast Ohio, lining up a company in Southington to make the tooling, one in Medina to do the surface finishing on the pans and another in Macedonia for the packaging. "That's really what we wanted to do in the first place," Hyust said.The region's long been a hub for manufacturing, Hyust said, and he and Halasinski wanted to try to contribute to the local economy.The company plans to sell the pans online. It also has about five retail stores in the area already committed to carrying the product, Halasinski said.Custom Fireplace Shop in North Canton is one of those locations. Manager Jeff Dick said the store has already placed an order with Smoke Staxx Pans. The store carries a lot of barbecue grills, and the pans stand out because they'll let customers increase their cooking surface in a small amount of space, he said.Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, is another store that will carry the product. It was started as a hardware store for the Amish population in the area and has grown to become a more general, non-electric goods retailer, said sales manager Steve Henry. The store sells a lot of barbecue and cast iron products, and the locally made cast aluminum pans will be a natural fit, he said.Halasinski said he expected production to begin in mid-July and delivery to Kickstarter backers to begin in early August.

Read more: Canton SunDown RunDown alum Smoke Staxx in the news URL: http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20180624/news/166111/smoke-staxx-hopes-its-products-pan-out


Canton SunDown RunDown alum in the news: Wastebits continues growth path

June 10, 2018
by Dan Shingler, Crain's Business News
Wastebits provides an online platform that helps waste generators,
haulers and disposal sites handle many of the logistical challenges of
matching waste generators with haulers and getting waste to the most
cost effective and appropriate disposal sites. Perhaps more importantly
at the moment, it also provides users with an easy way to electronically
manage data and document how waste is handled — and new federal
regulations are creating big demand for that service. The company pitched at SunDown RunDown in Canton in February of 2015.

Regulations aren't always bad for everyone's business — just ask Akron-based Wastebits.The
company provides an online platform that helps waste generators,
haulers and disposal sites handle many of the logistical challenges of
matching waste generators with haulers and getting waste to the most
cost effective and appropriate disposal sites. Perhaps more importantly
at the moment, it also provides users with an easy way to electronically
manage data and document how waste is handled — and new federal
regulations are creating big demand for that service. "We're experiencing like 600% growth this year — it's amazing," said Wastebits founder and CEO Dan Collins.He
attributes much of the surge in business to a new federal requirement
known in the industry as "e-Manifest." It's a bit like the electronic
medical records requirement that not long ago sent hospitals and other
health care providers scrambling to make sure their systems can be
compliant with new demands that records be digital and easily
transferred from one computer or system to another — except, in this
case, it's the handling of hazardous waste that the government wants to
better monitor. "E-Manifest is taking over the entire industry,
and all the waste companies across the country are scrambling and trying
to figure out what to do," Collins said.If you're not in the
hazardous waste business, you've probably never heard of e-Manifest. If
you are, it's been a hot topic of conversation as of late."This
pertains to all hazardous waste that is regulated . ... It impacts
everybody in a big way from coast to coast," said Mike Guenther, head of
business development for Avon-based Chemtron, an environmental services
company that takes in and disposes of hazardous waste. Guenther
said facilities like his will be affected because they are the entities
required to record the handling of hazardous waste in the new system.Of
course, in any industry, some or all of the costs added to a product or
service generally make their way to the end user, and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency will charge fees that are higher for
paper filings than for electronic ones. It has not unveiled what those
final fees will be, but the EPA on its website estimates it will charge
$4 for electronic manifests to be filed, $13 for paper manifests to be
scanned and uploaded, and $20 for paper manifests submitted by mail. Ultimately,
the EPA predicts the new system not only will enable state and federal
officials to better monitor hazardous waste, but also will save waste
generators and handlers money.On top of providing better and more
accessible data on how hazardous waste is handled, the EPA predicts
e-Manifest will ultimately "reduce the burden associated with preparing
shipping manifests by between 300,000 and 700,000 hours, saving state
and industry users $75 million to $90 million per year."So, a lot
of companies dealing with hazardous waste are scrambling to be able to
use the system, avoid higher fees and reduce their own costs — and
that's driving Wastebits' growth, Collins said. Wastebits had
plenty of time to prepare, and used it, he said. The actual law
requiring e-Manifest was passed in 2012, and it has taken this long for
the EPA to implement it, giving Wastebits ample time to prepare. It has
been designing its system so it would work with the new system all
along, Collins said, and now it's reaping the rewards as e-Manifest is
set to take effect June 30."We have the product in a position
where the market fit and product offerings align," Collins said. "We
have been working on the e-Manifest solution for some time, with the
recent mandate of an implementation date of June 30 for e-Manifest, we
knew there would be a need for our offering."Privately held
Wastebits does not disclose its revenues or financials, but Collins said
his business has been steadily growing and just turned the corner to
become profitable.It already employs 31 people in downtown Akron,
and Collins said he'll need to hire at least three more full-time
employees and probably more part-time help this year to keep up with his
increased business."We're currently servicing over 60,000
manufacturers across the U.S. and hundreds of waste companies, including
two of the top three," said Collins, who said one of the nation's
largest trash haulers recently began subscribing to his service. Civic
leaders and economic developers have praised Wastebits because it's
creating the kind of modern, high-tech jobs that the city wants — and
the type that helps attract young professionals to live downtown or
elsewhere in the city.Collins said he'll be able to continue to
find the personnel and other resources he needs to continue growing
locally. So, at least for now, he plans to keep the business entirely in
the Rubber City."We certainly hope so," he said. "Akron has the
talent and infrastructure to support our growth for the time being. The
city has been working hard to attract new businesses and entrepreneurial
talent to the area. Our ability to be 100% located in Akron will depend
on our ability to attract and retain talent, as well as access to the
right kind of capital."

Read more: Canton SunDown RunDown alum in the news: Wastebits continues growth path URL: http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20180610/news/164571/epa-requirement-drives-wastebits-rapid-growth


Rotunda Scientific Technologies has added two new research-grade benchtop spectrometers to its product line. RST is a Braintree tenant company as well as an alum of SunDown RunDown in Mansfield and Canton.

Rotunda Scientific Technologies introduced two new advanced research spectrometers today at the Penn State Summer Symposium on Molecular Biology. The new “MiniScope” spectrometers are affordable and provide laboratories with enhanced performance at a fraction of the size and weight of anything commercially available – until now.This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180607006139/en/The MS-5000X from Rotunda Scientific Technologies. (Photo: Business Wire)The new MS-5000 and MS-5000X spectrometers are small, lightweight and portable. Weighing less than 100 lbs. and about the size of an average briefcase, the new EPR/ESR spectrometers can be used everywhere.“This product is a first for the Unites States,” said Joe Rotunda, a partner and founder of Rotunda Scientific Technologies. “Products like this have been available in the U.S., but they were roughly the size of a refrigerator or washing machine and cost more than $1 million.“Previously, smaller spectrometers either didn’t have the performance to replace the larger units or were awkward to operate and several times the size of the MiniScope. These spectrometers are affordable and completely portable – it opens the door to advanced research for many small- and mid-sized labs for the first time ever.”The MS-5000 and MS-5000X from Rotunda Scientific Technologies are manufactured by Magnettech, a worldwide leader and pioneer in electron spin resonance (ESR). While EPR/ESR spectrometers have a variety of research applications, the company says they are ideal for life sciences, environmental toxicology, biophysical features, food chemistry and pharmacy, bioinorganic chemistry, petrochemistry, separation of radicals and alanine dosimetry.“These next-generation spectrometers deliver outstanding sensitivity and magnetic field stability,” Rotunda said. “They allow laboratory personnel to focus on research, not the operation of lab equipment. There is a very low learning curve with these new spectrometers, and our software – ESRStudio™ – is simple, powerful and intuitive.”The MS-5000 and MS-5000X also connect to a wide range of accessories enabling a myriad of experiment designs and testing applications for different materials and temperatures. The accessories make it possible for MiniScope spectrometers to do testing that would have required significantly more equipment in the past.Rotunda Scientific Technologies, LLC is based in Ohio and is a woman-owned small business. The company has over 25 years of experience with instrumentation for the laboratory and field.For more information about the MS-5000 or the MS-5000X, visit Rotunda Scientific Technologies at www.rotundascitech.com or call (330) 906-3403.

Read more: Braintree's Rotunda Scientific Technologies introduces two new benchtop spectrometers URL: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3451673


The 3-year-old Root Insurance company,with a mission to sell insurance exclusively to good drivers,received approval on Monday for state tax incentives for a project that is projected add 463 jobs in Columbus over the three years with an annual payroll of $38.9 million. The company currently has about 100 workers now. Early on in its growth Root CTO Dan Manges pitched at SunDown RunDown Mansfield.

Young insurer Root Insurance is taking a big growth step.The 3-year-old company with a mission to sell insurance exclusively to good drivers received approval on Monday for state tax incentives for a project that is projected add 463 jobs in Columbus over the three years with an annual payroll of $38.9 million. The company currently has about 100 workers now.Also, the company said it will take 65,000 square feet of space Downtown at the new 80 on the Commons building being developed at 80 E. Rich St. It will begin moving in this fall, taking up two stories of the building and investing $2 million in the site.The tax credits have an estimated value of $8.7 million.“We have this core idea of this is how consumers want to purchase insurance. It’s an idea that resonating faster than we thought,” said Alex Timm, Root’s CEO and co-founder.The project was one of 10 to be approved Monday by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. The projects will create 2,279 jobs and retain 924 jobs and lead to investment of $313 million across the state. The incentives for all projects have an estimated value of $15.6 million.Of the 10 projects, seven are in central Ohio, including plans by Dollar Tree to build distribution operations in Morrow County for Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores. That project alone is expected to create 400 jobs.In all the seven projects in central Ohio are expected to create 1,163 jobs. And that isn’t counting Amazon’s announcement last week that it will build another distribution center in central Ohio. This one, in West Jefferson, will create another 1,500 jobs in the region.“It’s a lot of capital investment. It’s a lot of jobs over the next 18 to 24 months,” said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer for Columbus 2020, the region’s economic-development arm. “It reinforces that this place continues to grow, not just in the core, but in the entire region, and in lots of sectors.”Root, the largest of the central Ohio project, has already been expanding at a fast pacey. A year ago, it employed about 15. Today, that number has risen to nearly 100. The company continues to hire engineers, data scientists and customer-service staff.“Business has really been growing rapidly. We’re hiring at a rapid clip,” Timm said.Timm said keeping the company’s headquarters Downtown was vital.“We think there’s just a lot going on Downtown, and it’s important to be right in the middle of it,” Timm said.Root’s premise is simple: Use smartphone technology to price auto insurance.Drivers interested in Root coverage download the insurer’s app and drive as they normally would for two or three weeks, typically. The app tracks how fast a driver goes, whether they brake hard or drive distracted.Then Root determined whether a driver is eligible for coverage, often at rates that run 30 percent or more below what a traditional insurer charges.The company offers coverage in 16 states and plans to be nationwide by the end of 2019. It recently received a $51 million round of funding from venture-capital funds, one of the largest funding announcement by an Ohio tech startup.

Read more: Central Ohio due for nearly 1,200 new jobs including Mansfield SunDown RunDown alum Root Insurance URL: http://www.dispatch.com/business/20180521/central-ohio-due-for-nearly-1200-jobs-in-7-projects-including-insurer-roots-plan-to-add-463


SunDown RunDown Mansfield alum Root Insurance keeps growing and adding more jobs

May 18, 2018
by Carrie Ghose, Columbus Business First
Root Insurance Co., an alum of Mansfield SunDown RunDown, plans to grow to nearly 550 employees and is moving its headquarters to the 80 on the Commons mixed-use building under construction alongside downtown's Columbus Commons Park, according to City Council documents

Root Insurance Co. plans to grow to nearly 550 employees and is moving its headquarters to the 80 on the Commons mixed-use building under construction alongside downtown's Columbus Commons Park, according to City Council documents.Just over two years old, the Columbus auto insurer offers paperless signup and management of a policy through a mobile app, which also measures driving habits so only safe drivers can enroll. The company sells online, eschewing agents, and its data-driven model results in big discounts on premiums.Root in March closed a $51 million venture capital round led by Redpoint Ventures, along with Scale Venture Partners and returning investors Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners, all in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley region. The company has "unicorn potential" – tech slang for greater than $1 billion in value – to grab a sizable portion of the $220 billion auto insurance market, Elliot Geidt, a Redpoint partner, said at the time.The company plans to lease 65,000 square feet in the 12-story office, retail and apartment building under construction at 80 E. Rich St., with a goal to move in October, according to a downtown office incentive before council. Daimler Group and Kaufman Development are partners in the $60 million, 350,000-square-foot project that completes the bookend of towers that border the park. The city's downtown office incentive would pay the company as much as $2.4 million over five years – half of income tax withholding on new jobs – while generating the same amount of new taxes for the city in that span. The agreement calls for retaining 79 jobs and adding 463 new positions, with salaries ranging from $35,000 in customer support (about 122 jobs) to $120,000 for less than a dozen data scientists. The largest single category is 189 software engineers, averaging $108,000 yearly. Payroll would total $47 million.The company also appears on Monday's agenda for the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, which does not release details until after its meetings. Both agreements are with Ibod Company Inc., a holding company for Root named by co-founder Ilya Bodner, who runs a different insurance-tech startup and no longer is involved with Root.

<!----> <!----><!----> Root plans to spend $1 million equipping and furnishing the headquarters, according to the city proposal. As of March, Root had 85 employees at 34 W. Gay St., so it's already created some of the new jobs.In its first nine states, Root had gross direct underwritten premiums of $4 million in 2017, according to filings with the Ohio Department of Insurance. It's now operating in 16 states, and is in the licensing process in more.Root's data-driven model and “superior product experience for consumers" set it apart, Redpoint's Geidt said in March.Co-founder and CEO Alex Timm started working as a teenager in his family's insurance business; his motivation was to create "honest" rates that use data to better project risk and don't spread the cost of bad drivers on safe ones. The app and analytics side is led by Chief Technology Officer Dan Manges, who also was founding chief technology officer of Braintree, an online payments company that PayPal acquired five years ago for $800 million. <!----> <!----> <!----> <!---->
<!----> Root's first investor was Columbus-based Drive Capital LLC; the company has raised a cumulative $78 million in less than two years. Beam Dental, a fellow insurer in the Drive portfolio, this week closed a $22.5 million investment round from Silicon Valley VC giant Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Read more: SunDown RunDown Mansfield alum Root Insurance keeps growing and adding more jobs URL: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2018/05/18/digital-auto-insurer-root-to-move-to-columbus.html?ana=TRUEANTHEMTWT_CO&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5b009e6504d30173425f909b&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter