Erie, PA—May 13, 2021— Data Inventionsan industrial data connectivity platform that turns discrete manufacturers’ disparate production data into manufacturing intelligence to increase utilization and productivity, has secured a $1 million Opportunity Zone investment from Erie Insurance.

Erie Insurance’s Opportunity Zone Fund was established in 2019 to invest new capital primarily in Erie, Pennsylvania’s eight designated Opportunity Zones.

Founded in 2014 by CEO Duane Clement, the Data Inventions' Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) data analytics platform is revolutionizing how discrete manufacturers use data by analyzing and visualizing real-time information from ERP systems, shop floor machines and operators to inform decisions and drive operational improvements to better compete in the global economy.

“Manufacturers have a lot of information sitting in siloed systems and applications, but no way to see that data in an easy-to-digest format that enables effective, timely decision making. Our mission is to unlock that intelligence and enable the growth of those companies with actionable, real-time insights available throughout the enterprise—enabling them to compete globally,” said Duane Clement, CEO and founder of Data Inventions. “With the generous support of Opportunity Zone investments such as the one from Erie Insurance, as well as the ongoing support of other local investors, partners and organizations such as the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, we can accelerate our execution of that goal.”

Erie Insurance was introduced to Data Inventions through the Homecoming 2019 event hosted by the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP).

“Our investment committee was impressed by Data Inventions’ innovative approach to leveraging data that drives real-time operational improvements and efficiencies in manufacturing,” said Christina Marsh, chief community and economic development officer for Erie Insurance. “ERIE is proud to invest not only in the growth of this local company but also in Duane’s vision to build upon our region’s rich manufacturing history to position Erie as a global leader in manufacturing technology.”

ERCGP President and CEO James Grunke also sees the potential for the region’s manufacturing sector.

“Data Inventions will help our existing base of manufacturers retain and grow jobs by improving both machine and human utilization, while concurrently growing a manufacturing technology company—a sector that must be cultivated in Erie—that can truly reach a global customer base,” said Grunke. “We see a total win-win scenario for Erie through the growth of Data Inventions.”

To date, Data Inventions has secured funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Ohio-based institutional investors NCT Ventures and CincyTech and several individual investors. The company launched out of Gannon University’s Erie Technology Incubator in 2015, released Alora, its first solution, in September 2016, and remains headquartered in Erie.

To date, Data Inventions has secured funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Ohio-based institutional investors NCT Ventures and CincyTech and several individual investors. The company launched out of Gannon University’s Erie Technology Incubator in 2015, released Alora, its first solution, in September 2016, and remains headquartered in Erie.

Bringing People, Systems and Machines Together for a Competitive Advantage

For many of today’s U.S.-based discrete manufacturers, “visibility” is a time-consuming process of sifting through piles of reports, correcting bad data from multiple, siloed systems and even guessing—all to uncover and fix whatever is holding back utilization and production on the shop floor. Data Inventions’ Alora solution changes all that.

Data Inventions worked with local discrete manufacturers to design and purpose-build Alora, an economical business intelligence option for mid-market manufacturers typically unable to find affordable business intelligence solutions tailored for their complex, multi-SKU work environments. By working seamlessly with the many systems within a manufacturing business to aggregate and then visualize real-time data, Alora allows synchronization of data across the shop floor, enabling managers and supervisors to turn their attention to jobs off track, issues slowing production, machines offline for no good reason and more—working smarter, not harder. Additionally, Alora is designed to scale quickly and cost-effectively across a variety of discrete manufacturing settings (e.g., machining, fabrication, assembly), systems and machine types—achieving ROI in as few as 90 days by revealing production problems, preventing errors and phasing out defects to improve productivity, uptime and utilization across the job shop.

“It was important to us that the Alora platform be affordable and easy to use. It starts by allowing manufacturers to connect any system, application, data, or device—whether in the cloud or on-premise—into a unified platform using an open API approach. Then we pair that with simple, intuitive interfaces and dashboards that eliminate the roadblocks that have limited the growth of these companies in the past,” explained Clement. 

“We developed Alora from the ground-up with local manufacturers and operators on the shop floor to ensure we’re addressing real problems and adding immediate value—unlocking next-level productivity and utilization to fuel their growth. Building around the world-class manufacturing expertise in Erie has been elemental to our success so far, and we look forward to being a flagship manufacturing technology business located in this region, which is poised to change how manufacturers operate around the world.” 

Leaders from two Erie manufacturers who worked closely with Data Inventions on development of Alora celebrated the ongoing success.

“It was refreshing to have the opportunity to help build, from the ground up, a solution that is tailored specifically for our needs as discrete manufacturers,” said Drew Hoffman, senior vice president, American Turned Products. “With competition only growing more and more fierce, we need a solution that delivers the information we need, enables us to make real-time adjustments and decisions based on accurate information. Alora creates an environment where we have the intelligence we need to be proactive, hold our team accountable and empower our operators to be part of our drive toward continuous improvement.”

“For us, Alora is a game-changer that gives our management team real-time insights to make better decisions that have the potential of saving us nearly a million dollars annually,” said Jim Rutkowski Jr., general manager, Industrial Sales and Manufacturing. “We knew, as we worked with Duane and his team, that with this solution we could empower our operators with everything they needed right at the machine, while also arming our supervisors with the information they needed to focus on the jobs and projects that needed attention. I couldn’t be prouder about our role in helping build this solution.”

About Data Inventions

Founded in 2014 by CEO Duane Clement, Data Inventions and its inaugural product, Alora, revolutionize how discrete manufacturers use information by aggregating data from ERPs, all ages and types of machines, and shop floor operators to drive real-time operational improvements that enable mid-market manufacturers to compete internationally. By aligning people, systems and machines, Data Inventions takes manufacturing data collection to the next level, enable true manufacturing intelligence that focuses attention where it is impactful and profitable, allowing companies to work smarter, not harder.

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 About ECi Software

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 12th largest homeowners insurer, 13th largest automobile insurer and 13th largest commercial lines insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written. Founded in 1925, Erie Insurance is a Fortune 500 company and the 15th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, ERIE has more than 6 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. 

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