A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
What: Adapx, Seattle
Who: Ken Schneider, 44, CEO
Mission: Develop a digital pen and software that allow those not comfortable with laptops or PDAs to gather and input remote data.
Prints charming: “We are focused on a target audience who have gone back to using pen and paper because they can’t use devices like laptops and PDAs,” Schneider said. “We are not trying to change their habits, only enable them to do what comes naturally.”
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To the letter: For some, “what comes naturally” includes losing several pens each day. Schneider claims none of his customers has ever lost a pen and breakdowns are infrequent. The reason, he said, is customers think of the devices more like a cellphone or PDA than a disposable pen.
The write stuff: When docked to a computer, the pen adds a form of “ink” to the digital images. At the same time, it uses a high grade of analog ink, accommodating off-the-shelf “space cartridges” that are designed to write at any angle.
Financials: The venture-funded company has $10 million in the bank and has yet to show a profit. “We have just started shipping our products and haven’t generated any profit,” Schneider said.
Pent-up demand: The pen can be used for something as prosaic as note-taking but is most valuable for mobile mapping and CAD applications. No portable digital device can accommodate large format maps, so users take printouts into the field and directly input any revisions — as if they were using a “real” pen.
When they dock the pen to the computer, all of the annotations are automatically added. Saving time in digitizing the date rather than requiring manual input is one way customers realize a return on investment, Schneider said.
In every pocket: Schneider said his company’s products can be applied almost anywhere. “This is a very efficient product,” he said. “It is usable in a variety of different industries.”
— Charles Bermant