Behind-the-Scenes Innovation

M Genio, which has its office located in downtown Cleveland, prides itself on acting like a startup and accepting ideas from anyone.

M Genio grows while supporting other companies

By Liz Engel

When Moen debuted its smart faucet, the U, at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas early this year, users gushed about its possibilities, like voice activation and unlimited personalized presets, including water temperature. Good Housekeeping, GeekSpin and House Beautiful all showered it with “best in show” awards, honoring it as a “cool product” that makes life more productive and efficient.

Behind the scenes, another Ohio company, located about 20 minutes from Moen’s North Olmstead headquarters, was celebrating those accolades as well. M Genio, a custom software development firm, did all the cloud and mobile work for the U. It’s one of many partnerships the downtown Cleveland company has found in its home state and across the Midwest.

M Genio, which specializes in mobile solutions, Internet of Things, or IoT, and cloud automation, is as boutique as they come. At 8 years old, it’s nearing the 10-employee mark with a culture much like that of a startup. Founder Jacob Glenn wanted his firm to be different. It’s his personal philosophy that the team leave bureaucracy and politics at the door.

“When I started the company, I was set on the idea that it was going to be a culture-focused environment. We were going to avoid the BS,” Glenn says. “We were going to find cool work, collaborate and build stuff that’s cutting edge. One of the benefits of a company like M Genio, we have an environment where anybody can throw out an idea, and we can collectively refine it and work on it together to see where it goes.”

That includes M Genio’s work on the smart faucet, one the firm’s most visible projects ever. Outside of CES, Moen advertised the U during the Super Bowl, and the product was teased on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. M Genio customers range from small startups to Fortune 100s. The company has done no outbound sales; all work has been by referral or word-of-mouth. And M Genio has seen significant growth using that model. It doubled from 2017 to 2018 and grew another 30% in 2019.

The company still has plenty of momentum. It has built out newer, novel offerings like CTO as a service, where it plays the role of interim chief technical officer to help companies bridge that gap. M Genio also rolled out a quickstart IoT option. Rather than building something completely custom, the company uses an already developed code base, which lowers cost, a win for smaller manufacturers with smaller R&D budgets looking to play in the smart product game. And M Genio has developed a white-label SaaS offering. Glenn says that lets customers leverage their own expertise to develop Software as a Service—without worrying about the technology or need to maintain it.

“I think what sets us apart, we partner with our customers, we position ourselves at the intersection of business and technology. Not just one side of it,” Glenn says. “We can play that expert role throughout. Our focus is continued growth, but conservative growth. We’re having a lot of fun and want to do more of what we’ve been doing.”