A Clinton-Massie graduate is excited to be moving back home and bringing business opportunities with him.
Jason Harbert, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of the Los Angeles-based company Flowspace — which provides on-demand services for warehousing — has seen potential in his home state. He said there’s a lot of opportunities in Ohio for businesses dealing with warehouse, freight and transportation.
“There’s talent here that’s not, I don’t want to say untapped, but not as tapped,” said Harbert. “Specifically the kind of talent that we want — software engineers that have industrial experience.”
Since moving back he’s already hired an engineer out of Cincinnati that he went to college with, Joel Turnbull, who is now a Senior Application Engineer. He’s looking to hire another person, and where the new hire is from may determine where they put Flowspace’s Ohio office.
The 2001 CM graduate officially started Flowspace in May 2017 but got the inspiration for it six or seven years ago after his friend and Flowspace’s co-founder, Ben Eachus, was having difficulty finding warehouses. At the time, Eachus worked for the Jessica Alba-founded baby products company, The Honest Company.
“He had a warehouse that was completely full and he had eight trailers of diapers arriving,” said Harbart. “He was scrambling.”
According to Harbart, even if one finds a warehouse, there’s a process, with it taking weeks to get a quota.
“To even get your foot in the door you have to have enough products to justify it, you have to integrate with their WMS (Warehouse Management System), which is a weeks-long process,” he said.
That’s when it started. They wanted to eliminate all of that, with the keyword of Flowspace being “on-demand.”
“People want things that are immediate. If you wanted to get a warehouse right now, it’s kind of hard to do. There’s no place where you can go and browse warehouses, with most of them already leased,” he said.
What Flowspace does is partner up with warehouses that already exist, most of which are already leased and/or its people who have space.
“So, if you’re a bike manufacturer and half your warehouse is empty, you can sign it up on our platform,” he said. “This will allow people to move their goods to the warehouses on our networks and move them to the facilities immediately.”
He said they provide a more modern cloud-based version of a WMS — a software application, designed to support and optimize warehouse or distribution center management. Their version will allow warehouse operators to track the goods in the facilities and allow consumers to interface with the warehouse.
If someone came to them they can look through the warehouses in their system, get a price instantaneous — which is unheard of according to him — and they can move in goods within 24 hours.
While he’s excited about bringing his business to Ohio, one of the things he’s most excited about is living closer to his family and reconnecting with his friends from college after being away for 14 years.
“Anyone who has moved away from home for an extended period of time and far away, you see your family once a year. Every year everyone is a little older and it’s like I’m missing so much. It’s nice to go have lunch at my dad’s house and see my mom and grandma more often,” he said.
He moved San Francisco for a job researching anti-virus and spam while studying computer science at the University of Cincinnati. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in performance marketing.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574