AkitaBox Raises $1.1M to Develop Software for Storing Building Data

In today’s society, 8.5 by 11—the dimensions, in inches, of a typical sheet of paper— is giving way to 1’s and 0’s.

Book pages have become pixels on the screens of e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle. Medical charts detailing patients’ health histories have migrated from file cabinets to racks of computer servers.

Building management and maintenance is another industry that’s now relying less on paper. One startup that’s helping organizations digitize documents containing data on buildings and machinery is Madison, WI-based AkitaBox, which on Thursday said it had raised $1.1 million in seed round financing.

“The next generation of facility management wants information at the ready,” says Todd Hoffmaster, co-founder and CEO of AkitaBox. “It’s a giant shift to be able to collect and use information going forward, and not just shovel a piece of paper somewhere.”

Illinois-based Rock Oak Capital Partners led the round, Hoffmaster says, and three additional groups participated: Stateline Angels, which mostly invests in companies based in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin; Gener8tor, a Wisconsin startup accelerator; and the Milwaukee-based BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation.

According to a press release, Rock Oak is an “investment vehicle” of Practice Velocity, a Machesney Park, IL-based healthtech company. Its record-keeping software is used by urgent care clinics and other care providers. Hoffmaster says he and the startup’s two other co-founders first met with leaders from Rock Oak in November at Premiere Night, a pitch event held at the end of each Gener8tor program.

“They saw us as being disruptive, similar to how the healthcare industry is being disrupted by record-keeping [changes],” he says. “They see our software as a vehicle to disrupt the building management industry.”

Hoffmaster says that AkitaBox is concentrating on adding customers in three main industries: healthcare, education, and property management.

The possibility of leveraging the network and user base of a larger, health IT-focused group like Practice Velocity represents “a great opportunity to get in front of a lot more healthcare people nationwide,” Hoffmaster says. However, he says, there are no plans to integrate the company’s software with that of AkitaBox.

Building managers can use AkitaBox’s digital tools to indicate whether exhaust fans, boilers, pumps, and other pieces of equipment are in good, bad, or fair condition. Users can schedule recurring tasks to ensure these machines receive the needed maintenance, according to a video explaining how the software works.

Rather than digging through physical or virtual file folders, managers can drill down from a geographic map to a floor plan using the location-based visual interface AkitaBox has developed, Hoffmaster says. Users can also scan a QR code on a piece of equipment to access and input data.

Ultimately, says Hoffmaster, the startup’s software reduces risk and cuts costs because potential problems are identified and addressed sooner than with other documentation systems.

Under AkitaBox’s SaaS business model, clients pay the company monthly or yearly licensing fees. There’s also a charge for implementation, but Hoffmaster says that tends to be a fairly short process. “We can onboard 1 million square feet in a little over a week,” he says.

Two organizations that have licensed and begun to use AkitaBox’s software are the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and Edgewood College, a four-year college in Madison, Hoffmaster says. It also has several pilot customers, including Baylor University, Jewelers Mutual Insurance, and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Hoffmaster says that his company’s software is currently used to store about 35,000 documents with information … Next Page »

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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