Braintree grad Hess Industries creates hands-free door handle attachment

April 16, 2020
by Noah Jones, Richland Source
Mark Hess of Hess Industries, a Braintree graduate, has led his team in creating a new way for doors to open without passing the germs form hand-to-hand on the handle's surface.

COVID-19 has not stopped the entrepreneurial spirit, despite many Richland County businesses being ordered to close their doors.Mark Hess, of Hess Industries at 108 Sawyer Parkway, and his team have created a new way for doors to open without passing the germs from one's hands on to the door handle's surface."It's a hands-free door handle attachment," Hess said. "We just wanted to come up with something different that could help people.Hess said his team has industrial-grade 3D printers printing out the door handle attachments, which can be attached to any door handle. So far the product has been tested mainly in hospitals."When you grab a door handle, especially in a hosptial, there are germs and viruses on that handle that can be spread," Hess said. "We wanted to create something so you could open the door without using your hands."Hess, who has filed for a patent, is donating the product to Avita Health Systems while working with OhioHealth Mansfield as well as other hospitals in Ohio."We are looking to make a plastic mold so we can bring our costs down and send these all across the world," Hess said.Joel Delavern, plan operations manager for Galion Community Hospital, has received eight door-handle attachments. He thinks the product is exactly what is needed during this time."I told him, 'I think you're on to something,' " Delavern said. "I think one thing people may take away from this is how germs can be spread."This is a quality product. It's exactly what we need at this moment."Hess said he would love to work with other local manufacturers to have the product made entirely in Richland County.Hess is working with Nanogate Jay Systems in Mansfield to come up with a mold. It takes about 14 hours to print one handle attachment. Using a plastic mold could cut costs and increase production time."With Personal Protection Equipment being so important right now, we wanted to come up with a way that could salvage some of that," Hess said. "The idea was put together because there was a need to open doors without (hands) touching them."Hess added the attachment comes off easily to be disinfected in a dishwasher or with any disinfectant."This will stop the spread of viruses throughout your whole organization," he said.

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Startups being pummeled

April 1, 2020
by Erin Griffith, NY Times

Mansfield SunDown alum Mbrio Technologies in the news

March 8, 2020
by Julie Washington, The Plain Dealer
Mbrio Technologies is the company behind Mbrio, a device that makes it easy for expectant moms to play music to babies in the womb. Cofounder Jonathan Klinger pitched the idea at the November 2019 SunDown RunDown event in Mansfield.

n 2006, Julianne Klinger was pregnant with her first child with husband Jonathan. They were living in Jonathan’s native England, where midwives urge pregnant women to play music for their unborn babies to promote bonding.Julianne looked for a device that would make it easy to play music to her baby in the womb. There were headphones that stretched over her belly, harnesses with speakers and tiny speakers that attached with sticky pads. All were too complicated or too messy.What if, the Klingers asked themselves, playing music for an unborn baby was as easy as popping in earbuds? The question led them to invent Mbrio, a pregnancy earbud adapter. Standard earbuds fit into Mbrio’s two silicon adapters; the adapters clip onto the waistband of the wearer’s pants.“That’s it — it takes three seconds,” Jonathan said. He and Julianne, who live in Pepper Pike, are co-founders and co-presidents of Mbrio Technologies, the company behind Mbrio. Jonathan and Julianne are the only full-time employees.When model Ashley Graham shared a photo of herself using Mbrio with her millions of Instagram followers, more than 1,700 people left comments, Jonathan said. Taylor Brooke Boyd, wife of country music star Craig Wayne Boyd, also has used it.Mbrio made entertainment and fitness website PopSugar’s list of “Must Have” products last fall, Jonathan said.Since Mbrio’s launch six months ago, even more women have used it to bond with their babies. The device, which costs $29.95, can be used with wireless or wired earbuds. It’s available on the Mbrio website. The Klingers declined to give sales figures.Some expectant mothers say they feel their babies kicking while the tunes play, but their babies quiet down during the pauses between tracks. That makes sense, because unborn babies begin to hear at 18 weeks’ gestation, and respond to sounds at 25 weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic.Kristi Szabo, 39, of Painesville, created a playlist for her son Dawson, who was born in January.“Music is very important to me and holds so much meaning to me in many milestones in my life,” Szabo wrote in an email. “I wanted to share that love and commemorate the pregnancy of Dawson with music.”Mbrio user Heidi Malleske of Fairview Park is wearing the adapters while taking walks and doing low-impact exercises during her pregnancy.“I have read the research on how amazing music can be for a baby's development in the womb,” Malleske wrote in an email. “So I figured, why not do anything I could to help improve that?”That research suggests that music helps stimulate certain areas of an unborn baby’s brain.A study published in the medical journal Neural Plasticity in 2019 examined the research on fetal and neonatal processing of music. It found evidence that the ability of newborns to respond to music is influenced by sounds they were exposed to during the last trimester.A 2017 controlled trial published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice suggested music improves the vital signs of pregnant women during the third trimester, and increases fetal heart rates.Julianne Klinger wasn’t able to use Mbrio with either of her two pregnancies, because the development process took years. Initially, the Klingers used money from family and friends to fund Mbrio Technologies, and kept their jobs.Now, a thriving Mbrio Technologies is their full-time gig.The couple met while Julianne was in business school in Chicago; Jonathan was working for a startup and traveling between Britain and the United States. They married in Julianne’s hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, in 2004.The Klingers lived in Paris and Britain, then moved back to the United States in 2007 to take jobs in marketing and engineering in Silicon Valley and New York.The couple moved to Cleveland in 2015 for Jonathan’s former position running marketing, research and development for a Cleveland-based business.They found a welcoming startup environment in Ohio. Last year, Mbrio Technologies won $100,000 in a pitch competition run by Glide, which offers assistance to entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio.Mbrio components are made overseas and assembled at Christie Lane Industries, a nonprofit organization in Norwalk, Ohio, that provides employment for adults with developmental disabilities.Having access to a 3-D printer at Sears think[box], a maker space at Case Western Reserve University for students, entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations, allowed the company to make prototype earbud adapters at low cost.

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Root Insurance had the 9th largest startup funding round in the U.S. last year! The company was founded in 2015 by Alex Timm & Dan Manges.(Dan is a Lexington native, former Braintree tenant, and two-time SunDown RunDown alum).

9. Root Insurance $350.0M
Round: Series E
Month of Funding: August
Description: Root, the largest property-casualty InsurTech in the country, offers personalized, affordable coverage in an app. Founded by Alex Timm and Dan Manges in 2015, Root Insurance has now raised a total of $527.5MCoatue Management, DST Global, Ribbit Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, and Tiger Global Management.
Investors in the round: Coatue Management, Drive Capital, DST Global, Redpoint, Ribbit Capital, Scale Venture Partners, Tiger Global Management
Industry: Auto Insurance, Automotive, Insurance, InsurTech, Mobile Apps, Property Insurance
Founders: Alex Timm, Dan Manges
Founding year: 2015
Location: Columbus
Total equity funding raised: $527.5MThe TechWatch Media Group audience is driving progress and innovation on a global scale. With its regional media properties, TechWatch Media Group is the highway for technology and entrepreneurship. There are a number of options to reach this audience of the world’s most innovative organizations and startups at scale including having prominent brand placement in a high-visibility piece like this, which will be read by the vast majority of key influencers in the business community and beyond.

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Braintree grad Hess Industries serves tool and die clients worldwide

January 13, 2020
by Katie Ellington, Richland Source
Hess Industries, a graduate of the Braintree incubator, is a tool and die shop where workers program machines to mill and heat treat metal, grind it down and meticulously slice it with electrically charged wires.

It’s easy to take for granted the numerous metal products around us. Phone chargers, pots and pans, door hinges are all so ubiquitous, it would be easy to assume they are near-effortless to make.
Yet all of these products owe their existence to the tool and die makers. They manufacture the equipment that is foundational to mass production -- the tools, molds and stamp dies used by other manufacturers to make goods. Any object that’s been cut, formed, shaped or molded out of sheet metal was made with tools and dies. Inside Hess Industries Ltd., a tool and die shop in Mansfield, workers program machines to mill and heat treat metal, grind it down and meticulously slice it with electrically charged wires. Sometimes the products are large, other times they’re no bigger than a pinkie finger. In tool and die, precision is the name of the game -- employees are working with measurements as fine as 1/30th of a human hair.Modern tool and die workers are skilled technicians, who are constantly learning and adapting to the industry’s latest technology. Coding, programming and virtual design have become essential skill sets.“Today's tool and die shops are not your grandfather’s machine shop,” said Mark Hess, who founded Hess Industries in 2000. “They are technical centers that use state-of-the-art machinery throughout the entire facility.”At the turn of the century, experts warned that the tool and die sector was dying. Hess Industries is a prime example that the opposite is true. Tool and die is not dying. It’s evolving.
Hess defied industry trends when he opened his own tool and die business 20 years ago. Looking back, he describes it as a call from God.“I had to really lean into my faith,” Hess said. “There was a huge risk that we could lose it all, but I really felt led by God and knew that he would take care of us through the thick and thin.”Hess and his wife Pam sold their home and put all their personal equity into the business. Hess Industries opened in June 1999 in a rented workspace inside Braintree. The company remained steady as the recession took its toll on the manufacturing industry. Hess believes staying ahead of the technological curve was a key factor in his business' survival. “A lot of tool and die shops went out of business in 2008 because they didn’t grasp the modern tech,” Hess said. “We were able to thrive through all that. It wasn’t easy.”While some tool and die shops were resistant to changes within the industry, Hess Industries was an early adopter of computer-aided drafting (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies. “What Mark does is he embraces new technology to try to always stay ahead of the curve. He was always up to speed on what the newest technology was,” said Tom Hutchison, Hess' business partner and president of Hutchison Tool Sales.“When I look at the future of tool and die, I see more technology used to build the tooling,” Hess said. “In a way, it’s kind of less craftsmanship, but in another way it’s a different way of being a craftsmen and doing it in a 3D virtual world.” Hess Industries integrated 3D solid modeling into its operations in 2002.“We were one of the first to really get into the 3D world,” he added. “Most tool shops that are in business right now have either made the plunge into the 3D world or are making it now.”

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