A local demand forecasting startup could prove to have a good shelf life.

A local demand forecasting startup could prove to have a good shelf life.

Launch Pad: Nexosis Forecasting

Invented by: Nexosis, nexosis.io

Cost: $20,000 for proof of concept, $60,000 for software as a service model

Investor: Rev1 Ventures

Amount funded: $720,000

Westerville-based startup Nexosis is trying to solve a trillion-dollar problem globally when it comes to waste from overstock and need from understock. The solution, founder Ryan Sevey claims, is in the company's invention, Axon, which uses machine learning to take the most detailed of factors-such as weather, social media sentiment, historical data and even a company's calendar-into account to forecast what and how much a company should supply.

So how clear is the Axon crystal ball? "Concerning the ROI benefits to our customers, we've increased their overall accuracy when it comes to forecasting by about 20 percent," says Sevey. The patronage of a Pepsi distributor is a testament to Nexosis' accuracy and cost-saving results. In the US, the problem of over- and understock is a $252 billion problem. And though Nexosis is in the midst of deals with companies in the food and beverage arena, Sevey claims that Axon can adapt to the needs of almost any business, given the mutable factors which the machine learning system can consider. Axon has undergone three iterations to date.

Next up, Nexosis plans to widen its scope with a product that will forecast staffing numbers to solve the problem of over- and understaffing.

Will Nexosis achieve startup success?

"Interesting product that has great applicability for business with many, many products. One of the most cost-beneficial uses for the product is where the value of the inventory is high and the cost of running out is high."

Potential Investor: Michael Butler, partner, NCT Ventures

"While this tool would be very valuable at large-scale food and beverage operations to reduce shrink from overstocking and lost sales from understocking, for a single store like us, the ROI wouldn't be significant."

Potential User: Jennifer Williams, owner, Weiland's Market

"As firms adopt leaner supply chains, information becomes the driver of economic power-improving accuracy in demand/supply planning through machine learning uses a firm's information resources wisely."

Industry Pro: Neal Hooker, professor of food policy, Ohio State University

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A Prescriptive Device to Lessen Poverty

An innovative idea can mean more than a cool way to pass time. It can change lives, or specifically, alleviate poverty. Twelve Ohio State University students hosted the eighth annual Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit, which showcased tech as one way to solve the worldwide problem.

Guest speaker Shivang Dave shed light on how to be a good entrepreneur by encouraging inventors to be like a good batter, hit where it isn't crowded. And that is what Dave is doing as co-founder and CEO of Massachusetts-based PlenOptika, a company that produces the QuickSee, a handheld device that determines eyeglass prescriptions with a click and has virtually zero competitors.

Dave's main market is India, but the product will soon reach Spain and the US. The QuickSee works to alleviate poverty by making eyeglass prescriptions more affordable. "If you have glasses, you'll know that going to the optometrist is a whole ordeal and you have to do all these tests and that's really expensive equipment that people in the developing world just don't have access to," says Ruidi Lu, executive director of the summit and junior undergraduate student at OSU.

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