In 2008, I helped start Intwine Connect. We were pioneers, connecting devices to the internet before the “Internet of Things” was a well-known buzzword. We launched one of the first residential Wi-Fi thermostats. We did it all in Ohio.

Our journey was far from easy. While our vision was clear, local engineers and software developers were hard to come by. Our reliance on rigid contractors was a significant drain, both on finances and morale. The process was frustrating, costly, slow, and, at times, overwhelming. Our path to market wasn’t as straight as our vision. We zigged and zagged trying to manage our technical partners and raise capital. Early advisors nudged us with phrases like “You’d thrive on the West Coast” or “NY and Boston are where you should be.” Simultaneously, I observed numerous talented colleagues and start-ups migrating to these tech hubs.

It got me thinking: Why not Ohio? We accomplished so many of the hard things start-ups need to do. We had industry ties, a first mover’s advantage, a strategic position in the market, and most importantly… sales! Still, software execution was our Achilles’ heel. To many, the answer was simple: move.

We didn’t. Our Midwestern grit drove us. Through trial and error, we built an in-house engineering team, innovated on our terms, and went on to achieve great things. But the’ what ifs’ lingered—what if we were faster? Could we have been the next big name in Silicon Valley? ‘Nest’? Why should ‘Rust Belt’ innovators choose between home and ambition?

Around then, MorelandConnect emerged, echoing Ohio’s untapped potential. It was founded by two former Accenture consultants. Their goal? Bring big tech prowess, often reserved for giants, to the mid-market. Their mission resonated with me, aligning with my emerging realization that Ohio’s tech start-up scene was ripe for enhanced support and guidance.

Parting from Intwine to join Moreland was a tough decision. But I was drawn to a mission: building a technology services company to strengthen the tech ecosystem for future innovators in Ohio. I wanted to tackle the problem I had faced firsthand.

To achieve our mission, we formed a lean, agile technology firm tailored for mid-market and start-ups—making tech simple, approachable, and even fun. Innovation, whether in a well-established company or as a start-up, is challenging enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about technical execution. You shouldn’t have to worry about finding a partner who “gets it”. And through the challenging ups and downs of innovation, you better like the people you work with.

Over the past 6 years, I’m proud of our achievements and the businesses we’ve helped transform. From a mobile field service application that rivals any in the insurance industry, to a custom ERP system paving the way for a company’s ascent to the billion-dollar mark. We’ve propelled a UH Ventures start-up with groundbreaking software that improves perinatal care and crafted a solution to optimize the Department of Transportation’s snow vehicle fleet management.

More so than those achievements, I value the relationships we’ve established. During that same period, it’s been inspiring to witness the technical evolution across Ohio and the Midwest. The momentum and culture have shifted. As a services company, we’ve had the privilege to meet countless innovators and entrepreneurs driving this change.

The truth is that innovation isn’t tied to a zip code. It’s a blend of passion, vision, and resilience in the face of obstacles—qualities that the Midwest exudes. The ecosystem is in the process of catching up. With that, the Ohio technology story is still unfolding. And we’re damn proud to be part of it.

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