COVID-spurred supply chain issues make accurate inventory tracking more critical than ever, according to Ellis. Through Bezlio, individual shop floor workers are able to utilize the platform when maintaining several systems simultaneously.
“We talk with companies and ask them what kind of challenges they’re facing,” Ellis said. “The level of education is something we’re always working on when putting content out there. Really, this is an opportunity for Northeast Ohio to be a manufacturing technology capital. There’s a new breed of manufacturers recognizing that technology can increase efficiency.”
The young entrepreneur needed guidance when scaling up Bezlio. JumpStart, a Cleveland organization that partners with small businesses, stepped in as Bezlio’s lead investor on a $2 million seed funding round. The startup received additional funding from ProMedica Ventures, M25, North Coast Angel Fund, Bounce and six other angel investors upon releasing its mobile app to the iOS and Google Play stores in 2018.
Bezlio molded its business plan with the nonprofit’s assistance, a partnership encompassing public relations and budgeting assistance. Nadine Nana, CMO in residence at JumpStart, said Bezlio adds value to its customers’ manufacturing processes and bottom line.
“Brian and the rest of the leadership team are well-positioned to scale their company in a way that benefits the entire region through jobs, innovative added-manufacturing solutions and revenue growth,” says Nana.
While lauding JumpStart, Ellis also credits an overarching regional support system for his company’s early accomplishments. At Bounce, Bezlio is thriving amid a startup ecosystem willing to compare notes.
“There’s something great about being in a space that’s filled with other entrepreneurs talking about the challenges they face,” Ellis said. “It’s not about competing, but cooperating for a better environment. Seeing success is motivating for us.”
Officials at Cleveland’s Manufacturing Growth Advocacy Network (MAGNET) know the difficulty of starting a business venture. Though a great idea and strong team are only the start of the entrepreneurial journey, the voyage itself doesn’t have to be one of hardship, said Alec Simon, director of startup services at MAGNET.
“There are many organizations across Northeast Ohio that can serve as guides for different types of ventures and at different moments,” said Simon. “MAGNET’s Iterator exists to help physical product and advanced manufacturing innovators understand their most critical …….