Dayton digital signage startup Exclaim recognized in top 20 nationwide

September 18, 2018

A Dayton digital signage solutions startup has been recognized as one of the year’s top 20 companies in the industry, nationwide.

Exclaim Digital Signage, a Meiosis product, came in at number 5 on the 2018 list of CIO Review, a national technology publication.

Tyler Back & Zach Saunders, the Dayton-area entrepreneurs behind Meiosis, are shaking up the digital signage industry with their cloud-based, resolution-agnostic approach — rather than designing art for different devices or platforms, users can design a single piece of content that will automatically scale to different display screens and can be updated in real-time using a phone or tablet.

It also shifts the industry focus from hardware — which can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200 per device — to cloud software, which means users can utilize existing hardware with Chrome Browser and Google Chromecast and have digital signage up and running quickly for as little as $30, Back said.

“It simplifies the digital ecosystem around signage,” he said.

Meiosis founders Zach Saunders & Tyler Back

The product was initially developed for a client of Back’s advertising agency, Mitosis, who needed cost-effective signage for the trade show floor. It was modified and broadened for wider commercial viability — but the drastic cut in cost has actually made it difficult to get in front of traditional marketers because it appears too cheap to be legitimate, Back said.

So Back and Saunders have focused on a different market for Exclaim — smaller entities who have traditionally used programs like PowerPoint to create and display signage, he said. Their client roster is now filled with churches, K-12 schools, small- and medium-sized businesses with sales floors and golf courses, all of whom can now display uniform signage — think announcements, lunch menus, congratulations on hitting sales goals — across multiple screens from a single device.

But Exclaim doesn’t have any users in Dayton, yet, Back said. He hopes that changes soon.

Back hails from Kettering, while his biz partner & chief technology officer Saunders grew up in Miamisburg. Back started his career 16 years ago in the entertainment market. On his first day of classes at Savannah College of Art and Design he was the oddball out — the other film students wanted to be the next great directors; Back wanted to make commercials.

“I love the immediate gratification of creating something awesome,” he said. “Commercials are the perfect way to meet the challenge of telling a story, but get the immediate gratification.”

He worked with Paramount Parks, where he particularly enjoyed creating for the Nickelodeon brand. The parks were sold to Cedar Fair and video marketing changed as YouTube hit. Through work with retail brands like Kellogg and Sephora, Back started to focus on web tech and the user experience, a path that crossed Saunders’.

“Zach has always stood out among web developers for his innovation and willingness to explore new tech,” Back said. “We’re of a like mind — let’s shake some shit up and see what we can do.”

In many cases, it is while working in an existing system for a client that the pair comes up with the ideas to improve software and fill tech gaps in marketing or business operations, Back said.

In addition to Exclaim, Meiosis also offers Fileshift, a secure file delivery system that can handle files as large as 60GB. The files are shared with an optional password, and expire after seven days, when they’re automatically deleted, meaning the user never has worry about maxing out storage space. The program also includes analytics — who downloaded the file, how many times, at what IPs.

Another product, Petri, is in the works. The product has been in development for three years — stay tuned for more, Back said.