Klatu Networks has a very niche market: The company makes IoT technology that keeps millions of medical samples and treatments safe from freezer failures.
Klatu, which is co-headquartered in the Seattle and San Diego areas, just raised $1 million from Seattle-area angel investors to support that work. Co-founder and CEO Rick Kriss —the former president of San Diego wireless communications company Xsilogy — said a boom in the industry is driving demand and interest in the company’s technology.
“The market ten years ago was 40 percent biologics and 60 percent synthetics,” said Kriss. Synthetics are drugs that aren’t alive, like your average Asprin. Biologics are treatments or drugs that involve living pieces, like many vaccines and emerging cancer immunotherapies.
Today, those numbers are flipped: New biological treatments are flooding into the market, and biologics make up 60 percent of treatments.
Those treatments need to be kept in cold storage — not just any old refrigerator but in cryogenic storage, below -60 degrees Celcius and sometimes as low as -180 degrees Celsius.
“These freezers are about the size of your refrigerator at home, but they cost $12,000,” Kriss said. Some are fueled with ultra-cold liquid nitrogen.
Each of those freezers holds millions of dollars in vaccines, scientific samples, stem cells and biologically active treatments. If they fail, it could mean huge financial losses for a company, hospital or research institution and potentially the loss of priceless scientific material.
“We are the only company in the United States that predict the failure of these freezers, and about 15 percent of them fail every year,” Kriss said.
Klatu’s Traxx technology uses sensors in the freezers, an IoT connection and predictive analytics to detect when something is going wrong with a freezer before its materials are compromised.
Kriss said the company’s latest funding round will help Klatu continue to grow. He said the company currently serves 8 of the top 10 biotechnology companies, four of which have signed on since January.
Kriss is a longtime IoT executive, who co-founded the company in 2008 with Chief Software Architect Chris Exline, Director of Field Operations and Customer Services Pete Larsson and Dan Simpson.
The company was initially involved in software, but added its IoT offerings in 2012 and has now made that its core business. Kriss declined to name individual investors, but said the company had been working with the Keiretsu Forum and said was backed by several Seattle angel investors.