We’ve already established that the Midwest is home to some of the most creative, forward-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs in the nation. Game-changing companies like BevaVR, SentryHealth, Switcher Studio, Truman’s, Schedule It, and WeatherCheck call the state of Kentucky home, while rising stars like Emplify, PERQ Marketing, PactSafe, Canvas, and Anvl, have all found success in the state of Indiana. Now, we’re turning our attention to Ohio—home to legacy companies like Proctor & Gamble, Kroger, Macy’s, Sherwin-Williams, and more, in addition to promising newcomers like indoor farming company 80 Acres Farms, supplier relationship management software company ConnXus, IoT platform Losant, algorithmic hiring company tilr, and takeoff and estimating construction company STACK. Below, read up on how each of these five companies has made a name for themselves in the state of Ohio and beyond. 

Mike Zelkind and Tisha Livingston of 80 Acres Farms 

This Cincinnati-headquartered company has created a model for safe and sustainable indoor farming across the U.S. After traveling across America’s heartland to hear farmers’ concerns, issues, and struggles, Zelkind and Livingston created 80 Acres Farms—an indoor farming model that eliminates food waste, cuts down on pesticide use, limits the amount of farm water used, and produces better tasting, healthier crops. “In the hearts of neighborhoods across America, we grow shockingly flavorful produce by using 100% renewable energy with 97% less water and zero pesticides,” reads their website. Their crops are safe, sustainably grown, highly nutritious, shockingly flavorful, and grown on a farm near you. Since the company’s 2015 launch, it has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, and more. 

Rod Robinson of ConnXus

In a nutshell, Mason-headquartered ConnXus makes it simple and easy for corporate buyers and suppliers to do business together. Their supplier management software solutions “simplify the complexities of global supply chains and allow buyers to achieve their goals of responsible and sustainable sourcing,” reads their website. Founder Rod Robinson was Chief Procurement Officer and Managing Partner at Accel Advisors when the idea for ConnXus came about. After working with countless Fortune 1000 companies to improve or create supplier diversity programs, Robinson found himself frustrated with incomplete databases, fragmented resources, and expensive software time and time again. With that, he founded ConnXus in 2010—a complete, convenient, and cost-effective solution that meets the needs of both buyers and suppliers. Connxus now employs over 50 people in the Mason area and was recently named to Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies list. 

Michael Kuehl, Brandon Cannaday, and Charlie Key of Losant

Losant is an enterprise IoT platform that makes it easy to build connected solutions that produce real-time results. Unlike other IoT solutions, founders and former classmates Michael Kuehl, Brandon Cannaday, and Charlie Key designed their platform with usability, flexibility, reliability, and security in mind. “We created Losant as an easy-to-use application enablement platform to balance the developer’s need for experimentation with the enterprise’s need for scalability,” reads their website. Though the team calls Cincinnati home, their client list spans the entire country—well-known brands like Verizon, Hewlett Packard, Bosch, Fifth Third Bank, and more all use Losant’s platform. “Cincinnati is a growing Midwestern city and the place that we’re proud to call home,” says the team of their Ohio roots. “Cincinnati was recently ranked #5 for tech startups. That entrepreneurial, innovative spirit is encoded into our DNA.” 

Carisa Miklusak, Summer Crenshaw, and Luke Vigeant of tilr

It’s difficult to apply data and analytics to something as variable as recruiting. But Carisa Miklusak, Summer Crenshaw, and Luke Vigeant of tilr have done just that. Tilr’s algorithm “intelligently matches skills to job requirements, rather than titles or keywords,” explains their website. “This allows tilr to automate the recruitment process and provide a better fit for both clients and community members.” In other words, tilr is actively disrupting the recruiting industry by saving companies time and money while removing bias from the recruiting process—an industry challenge that was previously unsurmountable. “Our mission is to automate the recruitment process,” explains the team. “Our vision is to close the global skill gap.” 

Phil Ogilby of STACK Construction 

Cloud-based takeoff and estimating software STACK is taking the hassle out of pre-construction work for general and subcontractors alike. “If you want to add hours back to your day, eliminate costly estimating mistakes and say goodbye to paper plans, you’ve come to the right place,” reads their website. “STACK powers a more collaborative, efficient takeoff and estimating process so you can focus on what’s most important—your bottom line.” Simply put, STACK allows users to find and organize drawings, mark up and measure plan pages, and collaborate and share project details from a single platform, ultimately saving construction professionals time and money. Since their 2008 launch, STACK has amassed over 5,000 premium subscribers, 31 million plan page uploads, 400,000+ takeoffs performed, and thousands of customers worldwide. The platform consistently earns 5-star customer reviews and boasts a 95 percent renewal rate. 

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