Safelite Group chose to look outside its Columbus headquarters for a location for its research and development lab.
The auto glass company, based on the Northwest Side, plans to open a lab at Rev1 Ventures, a technology business incubator near Ohio State University. Six to eight people will work there.
“By interacting daily with other technologists within the Rev1 facility, we’ll be able to catapult our business into the future by engaging with like-minded entrepreneurs,” said Tom Feeney, Safelite’s president and CEO, in a statement.
Safelite is one of the first established companies to open a lab at Rev1, a space that mainly houses start-up businesses.
“Safelite has been a Rev1 partner for many years, providing both funding and strategic support for portfolio companies, like Simple-Fill,” said Tom Walker, Rev1’s CEO, in an e-mail.
Simple-Fill makes compressors used for vehicle fleets that run on compressed natural gas. Safelite has served as an early customer. Walker said this phenomenon, of getting large companies to work with Rev1 start-ups, and vice versa, is sometimes called the “backyard effect,” in which physical proximity leads to partnerships.
With the new lab, the auto glass company is hoping that its presence among the newer businesses will contribute to new ideas.
Safelite has about 13,000 employees in the United States, of which about 2,100 are in central Ohio. The company includes Safelite Autoglass, which sells and installs replacement windshields, and Safelite Solutions, which works with insurance companies to process damage claims.