Get to Know Startup Dayton’s Nick Ripplinger of Battle Sight Technologies
May 15, 2018
Dayton, Ohio is full of determined people.
Do you know Nick Ripplinger?
If you don’t, you should. He has not only devoted a portion of his life (and the health of his leg) to serving our country but also pushed through tough times with the drive of both creating a better life for his family and supporting the warfighter who wants to make it home to his or her family, too.
“Quitting a decent paying job with phenomenal benefits wasn’t at the top of my priority list when I was introduced to the technology that Battle Sight Technologies would eventually launch around, but being former military and having a passion for supporting the warfighter made me rethink my priorities.”
Nick grew up under the influence of a mom who radiated with the entrepreneurial spirit. He recalls having the drive to fill needs and make money from an early age.
“I started working at our community pool when I was 12. Later I started mowing neighbors’ yards.”
As Nick made his way through school and approached graduation, he realized that college wasn’t the best option for him, so he enlisted in the military at the age of 17. That journey would eventually land him in a position in Germany working with NATO.
“I actually loved it,” Nick reflected. “It gave me an opportunity to travel all over the world.”
But all that came to an end in 2009 when a “bad day” in Iraq resulted in a leg injury that ultimately would require Nick to have a rod surgically placed to repair the damage. In 2011 Nick and his wife moved back to Dayton to be near family and figure out their next steps only to find out within their first month back that they were expecting their first child.
“I took a full-time job as a defense contractor and went to school at night,” Nick said, thinking about that transitional time. “After a while, though, I felt a little lost.”
Looking for something more fulfilling, Nick wrote and published a book in 2015 that gained him a lot of press but ultimately didn’t pay the bills. It was during that time while he was promoting the book, however, that he met Bennet Tanton who ran a popular veteran-centric podcast. The two hit it off and kept in touch over the next several years, recognizing the value they contributed to one another’s life, and in 2017 the nature of that relationship blossomed into a business partnership when Nick was introduced to a technology that had been de-risked by a group of students at the Entrepreneurs Center.
“Initially I passed on forming a business around the technology, but after a second look I learned about the infrared capabilities and started thinking about all of the potential applications. I sent Bennet a text just to get his feedback.” That text would culminate in the decision to partner together to bring Battle Sight into existence.
They worked with the Air Force to license the technology from Dr. Larry Brott who originally developed it.
“We worked with the ORDA for RX. She made it super easy. She was so transparent and put timelines on everything and laid out every step of the way,” Nick noted.
Since licensing the technology, Battle Sight has made enormous strides in forward progress.
“We went from license to revenue in only 4 months,” he said, attributing the progress to taking big steps as quickly as possible with the aid of the incredible sphere of support that they’ve found in Dayton’s startup community.
“I don’t think we’d be nearly as successful if not in Dayton,” Nick stated. “So many people here are genuine and want to know how they can help. That’s what truly makes Dayton special. There was a situation where we had overcommitted to a UK demo, and we needed some marketing collateral in 48 hours. Katie Hill, the Marketing Director for the Entrepreneurs Center, dove in and sat with us for hours helping us put a brochure together. Having help like that as a startup is huge.”
Over their first year in business, Battle Sight has been accepted into the Entrepreneurs Center’s ESP program, won a TVSF grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission in the amount of $100K, and took the grand prize in a pitch competition.
So what’s next for Nick and Battle Sight Technologies?
“We want to continue to find more tech that can support warfighters and emergency responders,” Nick shared.