TechStars Grad Lua Technologies Gets $2.5M from IA Ventures, Angels

8/2/12Follow @jpruth

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entertainment industry work more efficiently. “Hollywood studios have a $100,000 per hour burn rate at times,” he says, which includes such costs as printing and handing out script changes on paper while production is already under way.

DeFranco says his company’s software was used during production of director Terrence Malick’s romantic drama “To the Wonder,” starring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, due to be released in the fall.

Initially, Lua offered the studios more features to help crews get organized, but DeFranco says the communication platform saw the most use among production crews. That swayed Lua to make communication the software’s focus. In addition to movies and television shows, the platform has been used to help coordinate crews at concerts and sports events.

The company is also preparing its platform for use by an undisclosed hotelier. “They were looking for a way to keep in touch with all the staff, the front desk, the bellman, and restaurants,” DeFranco says. “Right now they are clipboards and walkie-talkie-based.”

Cruise ships, construction companies, and other business where workers rely on a mobile device as their primary work tool might become potential future customers for Lua, according to DeFranco. Large enterprises including Cisco, for its mobile sales force, and General Electric, for its health care division, have taken an interest in using the platform as well, he says.

DeFranco comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His father, Laurence, co-founded iMapData, a Mclean, VA-based company which built some of the first digital maps on the Internet. “At a very early age I was taught that technology should be used to solve problems in the real world,” the younger DeFranco says.

Lua got its start in 2010, when DeFranco met co-founders Eli Bronner and Jason Krigsfeld at Wesleyan University. A love of the entertainment industry, he says, led him to develop technology to address costly breakdowns in communication among production crews.

Users of the Lua platform are charged up to $20 per seat, per month and DeFranco says he is exploring introducing a freemium business model for the software. The company wants to see its platform used by more production companies handling movies, concerts, and sporting events, television shows with the hospitality and construction sectors to potentially follow.

“We’re moving away from one-off projects to more enterprise organizations” DeFranco says. “The more people involved in the [production], the more we’re able help them move faster.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Liz-Belilovskaya/100002057965288 Liz Belilovskaya

    What an awesome idea! Although I can see one big problem, we already spend so much time on our mobile devices while we are outside, this might increase traffic incidents by a lot – maybe an app that tells you when the light turned green so that you dont have to look up?