For i2E, helping a startup company gain traction and grow is often a matter of helping the business find the right path.
Sometimes that's as straightforward as working with a founder to fine-tune the business plan. Other times, we hit a dead end and have to backup and start off in an entirely new direction.
Such is the case with ICEdot, a Tulsa-based emergency identification and notification service that is designed to improve emergency care. (“ICE” is the acronym for “in case of emergency.”)
i2E's venture services advisory team has been working with ICEdot (originally named Docvia) for more than five years, practically since the company first started up.
“The technology was widely recognized to be innovative and early, but the markets the company was trying to pursue didn't pan out as well as everyone hoped,” said Chris Zenthoefer, who joined ICEdot as CEO about 18 months ago. “The business has taken a drastic directional change as it became clear there is lots of opportunity in the athletic space.”
Zenthoefer, an avid cyclist and founder of St. Francis Tulsa Tough Ride and Race, a nationally recognized race and three-day cycling festival, knows the market.
“We shifted the company focus, rebranded to ICEdot, and developed solutions for the sports consumer marketplace,” he said. “i2E has been working intensely with us to take the lessons learned and fine tune our operations, seek out capital, and refine what we are doing to make us attractive to future investors.”
The ICEdot service, which costs just $10 per year, allows first responders (or anyone) to instantly access emergency information through any mobile device by sending a text message with the ICEdot subscriber's PIN (found on a wristband, snap tag, or ICEdot ID card).
ICEdot is taking the technology even further by developing a crash sensor that detects helmet impacts and uses GPS to notify emergency contacts. Think of it as “OnStar” for bikers and skiers.
“I've literally been traveling the world meeting with helmet makers,” Zenthoefer said. “There is worldwide interest in this product.”
Tenacious Oklahoma companies like ICEdot of Oklahoma are i2E's reason for being. Our venture services team helps entrepreneurs first match their technology to viable markets and then helps position companies for risk capital.
Oklahoma benefits from the wealth and jobs created.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.