BRITE Energy Innovators

Opportunity Zone Funding Powers NE Ohio Innovation

BRITE portfolio companies leverage funds to deploy solutions.

WARREN, OH – May 8, 2020 BRITE Energy Innovators announced today that two of its portfolio companies are among the first startups in the nation to make use of federally-mandated Opportunity Zone Funding. Warren-based Intwine Connect – a Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and software solutions provider, and Akron’s GeneratorWorks – a developer of healthcare support applications, are using the funding to support wider deployment of their advanced technology solutions.

Created through the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), this community investment program connects private capital with distressed communities and allows the U.S. Treasury to designate certain census tracts as opportunity zones. Investments in these zones are eligible to receive a 10-year federal tax break. In the Mahoning Valley there are 15 such designated areas.

MegaJoule Ventures, a Northeast Ohio venture fund with a focus on investing in developing energy technologies led the investment of opportunity zone funds in Intwine Connect. MegaJoule’s investment portfolio currently includes innovative companies focused on developing renewable energy, energy storage and efficiency optimization technologies. Intwine’s own solutions in LTE failover and efficiency optimization with IoT sensors made it a good fit for MegaJoule’s investment.

With the funding, Intwine was able to scale their team, positioning the startup to weather the crisis brought on by COVID-19, with the added effect of motivating their team. Founder and CEO Dave Martin said it has “positioned them well to enter new markets that see a need brought on by COVID-19”. Martin added that if Intwine pull together additional funding from a planned future investment round, it could accelerate their growth and expedite the time to market for solutions they’re currently working on.

GeneratorWorks has a portfolio of healthcare solution companies it supports under its GeneratorWorks Fund. CEO and Founder Blake Squires assembled a team of investors to invest in this fund before distributing money among its portfolio companies. “Setting up the fund gave us access to more capital funding than our portfolio might have gotten access to otherwise 

while also mitigating risk for investors,” explained Squires. Squires also noted that the impact of opportunity zone investment for his company is dynamic – as companies within GeneratorWorks’ portfolio exit, proceeds go back into the fund to facilitate investment in future ventures. 

Notable amongst GeneratorWorks’ portfolio is the success of two its companies: RelyOn Health gives patients increased pricing transparency throughout the healthcare process while SecurePassDX’s capabilities in COVID-19 screening, triage and antibody testing help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Both companies were able to launch in part due to the availability of opportunity zone funding. 

About BRITE: Formerly the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, BRITE is the State of Ohio’s only energy incubator and it exists to support founders and startups in the energy sector, including advanced materials, energy storage, fuel cells and the Internet of Things. BRITE operates the BRITE Energy Lab, an event venue for the community and coworking space for freelancers and entrepreneurs. It aims to serve as a resource to the community by bringing together bright minds with innovative solutions while creating opportunities for Northeast Ohio.


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