Scanalytics Receives Loan From WEDC, Eyes Series A Later This Year

Scanalytics, a Milwaukee-based startup that creates hardware and software to help customers track the movement of people through physical spaces, says it has received a $200,000 loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The loan, which WEDC provided under its Technology Development Loan Program, is part of a $1 million-plus funding round that Scanalytics recently raised, says Joe Scanlin, the startup’s co-founder and CEO. According to Scanlin, the round was led by CSA Partners, a VC group based in Milwaukee that had invested in Scanalytics previously. Outside of the money contributed by WEDC, the round consisted entirely of equity financing, he says.

Scanlin says his company plans to use some of the proceeds from the funding round to recruit clients, which could come from industries such as retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and healthcare. The startup, which launched in 2013 and currently has 15 employees, also plans to hire more data scientists and engineers in the coming months.

Scanalytics will likely try to raise another round of funding later this year, Scanlin says. The most recent round, which he called “pre-Series A,” will help finance operations in the meantime.

The company’s products include square-shaped “SoleSensor” mats measuring two feet per side that are able to measure foot traffic and transmit that data to other Internet-connected devices. Scanlin originally built a prototype for the SoleSensor by tearing apart and repurposing a mat used to play the video game DanceDanceRevolution.

Currently the mats, which can be linked together like floor tiles to cover a store entrance or an entire room, need to be plugged into a power source, Scanlin says. Scanalytics is in the process of engineering a wireless, self-powered version of SoleSensor, he says.

A number of the startup’s customers, such as Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, use software developed by Scanalytics, but not its hardware. Scanlin says that some organizations approach the company with the goal of linking together Web-enabled devices, part of the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT) trend.

“A lot of companies, both small and even Fortune 50 companies, come to us to help create smart environments,” he says. “[That] could mean they already have sensors, or they’re already using IoT devices in their space, but they’re disparate and they want them to connect with either each other, or to a common data source.”

One Scanalytics customer, which Scanlin did not name, combines information collected by the sensors with point-of-sale transaction data and data on employees working the sales floor.

“And then we have customers … that are looking at embedding entire buildings with [sensors], so they can use [the system] as a more permanent fixture,” he says.

Scanalytics has customers in Canada, Europe, and southeast Asia, in addition to ones in the U.S., Scanlin says.

The company has participated in at least three accelerator programs: Gener8tor, in 2013; Microsoft’s home automation accelerator, in 2014; and Seamless, a Grand Rapids, MI-based program for IoT-focused startups, in 2015.

Asked whether Scanalytics is working toward an “exit,” either in the form of an acquisition or initial public offering, Scanlin demurred.

“Right now, we’re really focused on building a strong, independent, profitable, company,” he says.

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