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Dayton Inno

May 01, 2023

Two Daytonians looking to be the region's next set of world-changing innovative brothers are creating second skin technology aimed at transforming various industry sectors – namely in food, medical, sports and space. Commercialization expectations for the next few years could result in a new manufacturing facility in the region by 2025.

Founders of startup ARMA, Xavior and Ilyaas Motley, grew up down the street from where the Wright Brothers grew up and the two hope to continue their legacy, taking Dayton's aviation history further by providing one of the necessary tools in advancing space exploration efforts: space suits.

"We want to make a name for ourselves in the Dayton area, like the Wright Brothers," said Xavior Motley. "The Motley Brothers has a nice ring to it."

But their multi-decade dream is starting on Earth with sprayable second skin technology to protect skin, fabric and other objects from external environments. Their first set of products will focus on hand protection, breaking into the $50 billion disposable glove market and reducing waste of the more than 700 billion gloves used annually.

"Covid exposed many flaws of disposable gloves," Ilyaas said. "We saw that opportunity in supply and demand – not being able to have access to gloves since we are completely reliant on overseas manufacturing. We saw the pain points of the users – the sweat, the tearing and just how wasteful they were to their environment. So we saw that opportunity and we thought that would be a great place to start."

ARMA's sprayable second skin is applied directly and cured to the hand with UV light in under 20 seconds via an application device. An LED screen on top of the machine allows the user to see their hand inside during the process. Once hands are removed, they have a thin, transparent second layer skin that can be worn up to eight hours.

An ARMA glove has three main features:

One $360 cartridge can product the equivalent of 500 ARMA gloves, compared to 2,500 nitrile gloves priced at $350. One ARMA glove is anticipated to have the usage equivalent of five nitrile gloves, making the cost difference between the two $10 while lessening disposable glove waste.

The Motley Brothers are first tackling commercialization in the sports and food markets with their silicon formula. The formula includes graphene which increases the strength of any material by 50%. Xavior Motley said they are utilizing the material to prevent tearing of the thin product.

"We will propel our brand to turn personal protective equipment (PPE) into personal protective technology (PPT)," Xavior Motley. "PPE will be our foundation to create new markets and emerge into others."

ARMA's first commercialized product will be pre-made athlete's gloves. The product will begin marketing in June or July and anticipated to hit market in time for 2023's football season.

For its spray on gloves, ARMA will start in the food industry, which Ilyaas Motley said has less FDA regulations and certifications. Once it has an established presence, the startup will progress the product into more highly regulated industries like medical over time.

Spray on gloves for the food industry will launch in October 2024, followed by the medical product launch in 2025.

Manufacturing for the launch of both products will be done in-house at Columbus acceleration program Rev1 Ventures – who allows the Motley Brothers to utilize their lab and manufacturing spaces for testing and development.

While ARMA has temporarily moved to Columbus to pursue growth opportunities, Ilyaas Motley said they will return to Dayton by 2025 to open their manufacturing operations.

"Dayton is our home," Ilyaas Motley said. "We actually have plans to bring our manufacturer to Dayton, just because that's where we're from, we have a lot of family there. We want to be able to build up Dayton in some aspect and be able to give back. Columbus is just kind of like our hub for networking and doing business, but Dayton is where we're going to eventually travel back to."

ARMA has raised about $20,000 in capital so far and seeking to raise an additional $3 million over the next two years. Stage one requires $500,000 for initial R&D for the pre-made sports gloves. Stage two is the acquisition of the remaining $2.5 million to complete R&D of the spray on disposable glove, reaching toward the food and medical industries.

While targeting its upcoming launches, the Motley brothers have their eyes forward on their 20-year goal to get to space and manufacturing space suits for exploration.

"Our journey to space will emerge into multiple markets from food, medical, military, fashion, sports, and for everyday consumer…," Xavior Motley. "Our vision is endless, our product uses are endless, and we are excited to scale our business and unlock the wonders and capabilities of our formulation."

Including the Motley Brothers, ARMA has seven founding team members and seven advisors, including one who helped build the first rover that went to Mars.