Herndon, VA, March 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today that the Virginia Founders Fund has invested in Norfolk, Va.-based Ario Technologies Inc., a developer of augmented reality application solutions for the web and mobile that allow companies to save money, increase revenue, improve worker skills, and measure performance by allowing employees to both train and perform workplace duties illustrated on a mobile device. Ario plans to use this investment from CIT to support their current sales, expand their team with staff needed to accelerate product development, accommodate growth, and take advantage of market opportunities.

Over the next decade, it is estimated that the skills gap that exists in the manufacturing industry will leave 2.4 million jobs unfilled. This is due to a number of factors, including companies that lack the time or means to provide education or training, ultimately putting pressure on manufacturing and industrial firms to move their operations overseas. Ario is working to solve the skills gap in American industrial and manufacturing jobs by providing the industry with a cutting edge, easy to use means to train, educate and improve the existing workforce while maintaining continuous operations.

“The information that drives the operations of industrial environments is constantly changing. Ario is helping organizations take their flat, 2D, paper-based procedures and turn them into incredibly useful spatial documentations,” said Ario CEO, Joe Weaver. “Our platform utilizes augmented reality to empower workers to make fewer errors and boost productivity by providing greater spatial context to complicated environments. We are grateful for the support of CIT and the Virginia Founders Fund, who’s investment commitment very early on in this seed round proved catalytic and is playing a major role in shrinking the skills gap of this critical industry.”

The Ario augmented reality system enables teams to create, share and view real-time spatial information, ultimately allowing users to go out into the real world and associate real-world data in its physical location. It is a two-way process, where a worker can add virtual notes for future reference for a different worker. Additionally, it allows for different roles in which, for example, an electrician would only see information about an electrical system whereas a plumber would have a completely different view in the same environment. Companies using Ario will save money by reducing turnover, increase revenue by boosting existing worker performance and safety, improve skills by delivering expert knowledge to more workers in more places, and measure performance by easily capturing worker data and refining processes.

“CIT believes that any way to minimize the skill gap is crucial to keeping our technology-focused society moving forward. We see the potential for Ario to have a huge impact on furthering the education and confidence of present and future workers in industrial America,” said Thomas Weithman, Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds and Chief Investment Officer at MACH37. “It is very encouraging that Ario has already engaged with high profile projects, including their relationship with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific’s (SSC Pacific) Battle Space Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR Lab) to form a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to conduct research on leveraging augmented reality for training and maintenance.”

The Virginia Founders Fund, which launched in 2018, focuses on companies with a female, minority or veteran founder, or other entrepreneurs located in regions outside of Northern Virginia to complement investment resources and entrepreneurial support programs emerging in the regional innovation communities around the Commonwealth. CIT believes that these often-overlooked communities will play an increasingly critical role in Virginia’s technology future, and that the fund will enhance accessibility to the company growth resources available through CIT’s large and growing investor network.

For more information, please visit https://www.cit.org/.

About Ario

We believe that knowledge-sharing is a key component to closing the technical skills gap that exists in the workforce; and in 2016 we set out to redefine what it means to capture and share skills. We started this journey by building the Ario platform that enables knowledge-sharing by using augmented reality and we are excited to enable more people to do more things. Our team of infinitely curious, creative-technologists are working hard to provide industrial, manufacturing and energy companies with cutting-edge, easy-to-use, and efficient means to train, educate, and improve their workforce while maintaining continuous operations. For more information, please visit: https://ario.com/.

About CIT GAP Funds
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.citgapfunds.org.

Attachments

Taylor Hadley
LaunchTech Communications
978-877-2113
Taylor@goLaunchTech.com

Sara Poole
Center for Innovative Technologies
sara.poole@cit.org