Written by Jerred Ziegler.
Picture walking into a conference room and with the push of a button, everything sets itself – blinds close, lights dim and Skype is up and running. The Internet of Things (IoT) is making this possible, connecting autonomous objects to the Internet and to each other. Losant in Cincinnati, Ohio, is at the forefront of the IoT movement, building cloud-based solutions that connect the objects and devices a company relies on to run smoothly, so that everyday tasks can be completed automatically and efficiently.
The Losant platform solves connectivity issues in diverse ways, depending on the needs of the individual company. The software can help healthcare providers use real-time data from connected medical devices to make decisions about patient care. It allows retailers to instantly track goods to ensure on-shelf availability. And it helps manufacturers automate their processes and predict maintenance and repair issues before they arise.
“Virtually anything can be connected to the Losant platform,” said Charlie Key, co-founder and CEO of Losant. “One customer uses it to track forklifts in a warehouse so they know exactly how they are moving. Other customers use the platform to set up conference rooms to their preprogrammed preferences as soon as they come through the door.”
Key and his co-founders Brandon Cannaday and Michael Kuehl have been working together for more than a decade to build software solutions for businesses. Their previous startup, Modulus, helped developers deploy and scale their apps while tracking activity and performance. After selling Modulus to Progress Software Corp., they began a new venture, shifting their focus to IoT and creating Losant to help companies integrate solutions that worked specifically for their needs.
The company received an investment from CincyTech, a southwest partner of Ohio Third Frontier, which Key says gave them the ability to quickly move the technology forward in a competitive marketplace. Losant’s co-founders were chosen to attend the Techstars IoT program in New York City, a 90-day intense accelerator that offers mentorship from executives at corporations like Verizon and Bosch. They also attended FounderCon in Cincinnati, Techstars’ annual gathering of its startups, where they spent three days meeting with potential investors and customers.
“Techstars has been vital in helping us form business relationships,” said Key. “They don’t just connect us with companies that can integrate the Losant platform, but also help us understand the needs of our customers to continue evolving the technology and make it increasingly valuable.”
Key says hosting Techstars companies in Cincinnati gave the Losant founders a chance to showcase their hometown and show other startups why Ohio is a great place to do business. He says the rest of the country recognizes that tech companies move forward quickly in Cincinnati because there are organizations like CincyTech to help them find the best path to success.
“The Internet of Things is going to be driven by the manufacturing and supply chain industries, and a lot of leaders in those industries are right in our backyard,” said Key. “Cincinnati has created an entrepreneurial environment that helps us connect with decision makers at companies who can truly benefit from what we do, and that has helped us develop a product that is leading the IoT movement.”