No Vital Signs Apparent at Wireless Health Specialist Awarepoint

Xconomy San Diego — 

Awarepoint, the San Diego healthtech startup that specialized in real-time location systems for tracking medical equipment and people in hospitals and clinics, has gone 404.

That’s the error code message that comes up for a website that no longer exists.

Awarepoint executives and board members could not be reached to comment on a recent tip from a former Awarepoint employee, who asked to remain anonymous and who said the company had unexpectedly shut down. A separate tip, sent to me Tuesday by direct message on Twitter from a pseudonym, said the company shut down on May 24. CEO Tim Roche did not respond to a voice message left on his office phone or to an e-mail. Awarepoint’s offices on the second floor of the One America Plaza building in downtown San Diego were locked Wednesday afternoon, and a building representative said the company was gone.

James Adams, a San Diego serial entrepreneur who co-founded Awarepoint with Derek Smith in 2002, said in an e-mail, “I left Awarepoint 10 years ago, and don’t have any insights about what happened since then, unfortunately.”

Awarepoint had raised at least $98 million through 2011 in a combination of venture funding and debt financings. Investors included Silicon Valley’s Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which led a $27 million Series F round in 2011, as well as Venrock, Heritage Healthcare Innovation Fund, New Leaf Venture Partners, Top Tier Capital Partners, Avalon Ventures, and Icon Ventures.

The company had more than 100 employees in 2011, as then-CEO Jay Deady told me at the time.

Awarepoint’s technology combined a ZigBee-based wireless sensor network with radio frequency identity (RFID) tags to track mobile diagnostic equipment, healthcare supplies, and healthcare providers and employees. In addition to tracking equipment and personnel, Awarepoint said its RFID tags helped hospital officials track blood and tissue samples, increase hand hygiene compliance, and help caregivers complete their work more quickly.

Yet even in 2011, then-CEO Deady acknowledged Awarepoint’s market penetration was relatively low at 8 or 9 percent. He attributed that in part to the healthcare market’s slowness in adopting wireless monitoring technologies in general. Whether that remained a factor seven years later is unknown.