Akron software developer Bezlio closes $4.5 million seed fundraise

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Bezlio, an Akron-based software developer, said it has closed on a $4.5 million seed funding round featuring investments by JumpStart Ventures and Louisiana venture investor Advantage Capital.

Advantage said it invested $2.5 million in the round, which was led by JumpStart in partnership with JobsOhio.

Bezlio provides “enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrations to enhance manufacturing operations,” according to the company. It further describes itself as a “low/no-code software development platform that provides shop floor personnel, field workers, installers, engineers, salespeople and other mobile workers access to their (ERP) interface in real-time, on any device.”

Bezlio was founded in 2018 out of SaberLogic by brothers Brian and Adam Ellis. SaberLogic was a consulting outfit established in 2002 whose work culminated in the launch of Bezlio — the name comes from a ring-like bezel that encircles the crystal glass on a watch.

The company is based out of Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub.

“After rapid expansion in 2020, Bezlio switched from legacy consulting to developing their custom ERP solutions and added 50 new customers, setting the stage for strong growth,” according to a company announcement. “Today, Bezlio’s solutions address a gap in the market for small and medium-sized businesses by delivering a niche product specifically for production floor data entry.”

Bezlio has five full-time employees, four of whom work in Ohio.

The company previously raised $1.9 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase, which brings total capital raised by Bezlio to $6.4 million.

Bezlio said the new money will support company growth primarily through the hiring of additional people. The company said it is planning to hire 20 employees in areas such as customer support, sales and marketing.

Bezlio CEO Gerald Hetrick said the company will “hopefully hire most of these in the Akron/Cleveland area but will likely have out-of-state remote workers as well.”

Bezlio has been a JumpStart portfolio company since 2018.

Last year, JumpStart recruited Hetrick — former Able (previously EmployStream) CEO and a board member at outfits including Vox Mobile, OnStation and Impact Architects, according to LinkedIn — as an adviser for the company.

Hetrick was named CEO of the business in February ahead of this next growth phase.

“I am excited about this period of growth at Bezlio, and this funding will help fuel our upward momentum,” Hetrick said. “With this capital, we will be able to successfully enter into our next chapter and ensure we are providing our customers with the best product and technology solutions to help their businesses run with greater agility and efficiency.”

“Bezlio’s deep understanding of the manufacturing industry makes them an ideal company to help manufacturers leverage the power of their ERP systems to improve operational efficiencies,” added Hardik Desai, managing partner at JumpStart Ventures. “JumpStart Ventures is excited to partner with Gerald and the team at Bezlio as they enter this exciting growth phase.”

The company notes its financing was made in connection with the federal and Ohio New Market Tax Credit programs, which are designed to attract and encourage investment in the state’s low-income communities.

“When we support small business we support economic growth in communities across our state,” said state Rep. Tavia Galonski, a Democrate from Akron, in a statement. “Programs like these fuel the kind of economic support and community development we need in Ohio. I am pleased to see a growing and innovative company such as Bezlio receive financing to support expansion here in Akron.”

Advantage Capital vice president Joe Henderson highlights Bezlio as representing the kinds of companies in which it prefers to invest: “those with strong prospects for growth that are poised to generate high-quality jobs, help drive local economic growth, and make lasting positive impact in their communities.”

This article originally appeared on crainscleveland.com on April 25, 2023.