Tulsa-based firm has gained acclaim from ESPN, “Today,” and magazines for its product.
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2015, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Recently we and a number of other investors, including members of SeedStep Angels, made a significant follow-on investment in ICEdot, a Tulsa-based start-up.
ICEdot (ICE is the acronym for “in case of emergency”) provides a platform-based emergency identification and notification system that is delivered via stickers on helmets. The subscription service is supplemented by a crash sensor that mounts to a helmet and detects impact.
We’ve been engaged with ICEdot as advisers and investors for several years; I was thinking about that journey as we closed this latest investment round.
Start-ups tend to hit the public radar when there’s a product launch, they receive investment capital or when their product earns national recognition in the marketplace.
There’s been plenty of good news to report on those fronts from ICEdot over the last few quarters.
ICEdot continues its long-standing relationship with EMSA, Oklahoma’s largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care and is a strategic partner of the National Association of EMTs.
The company has received international acclaim for its work with the Crash Sensor from the likes of ESPN, the “Today” show, the Smithsonian, and Wired and Outside magazines. ICEdot was featured in Wired’s New York pop-up store and was published as a “genius” gadget by eBay just last week.
ICEdot used the credibility from the sensor to elevate the brand and get emergency ID stickers built into helmets. About 350,000 helmets from three of the biggest names in the biking and snow-sports helmet industry — Bell, Poc and Shred — have shipped with ICEdot emergency ID.
The plan is to have ICEdot sensors on more than a million helmets a year from now.
“The crash sensor is the only product of its type in action sports,” said Chris Zenthoefer, CEO of ICEdot. “We are a company that the big helmet brands have read about.
“They’ve seen us at trade shows and networking events. When we ask for an audience, they respond. We’re working to make ICEdot the industry standard.”
ICEdot is at an inflection point — it has a solid business plan and a dual growth path through sale of the sensor and subscription services.
Which brings me back around to the role and mindset of early stage investors like i2E and SeedStep Angels and our multi-year engagement with ICEdot.
Investing in promising start-ups like ICEdot is a journey. Sometimes it feels like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill. The i2E business model takes that into account.
We stay engaged with advisory services and follow-on rounds of capital. Even though it might feel like Sisyphus, it isn’t. We have dozens of young Oklahoma companies that have pushed that rock over the top of the hill.
We and SeedStep Angels are investing to help ICEdot become one of them.
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.
Did You Know? In angel deals in 2014, valuations increased, deal sizes increased, and activity increased. SOURCE: 2014 Annual ARI Halo Report