OU INC tenant client iTrack seeing increased success with technology innovation
Rochester, Mich. – An OU INCubator tenant client has sold a product of its tracking and navigation technology research to California-based Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, a major contractor with the U.S. military.
Jerry Atkinson, CEO of iTrack, LLC, said that the company has customized its millimeter-precise TNS-400 Tracking and Monitoring System to meet specialized needs of the aerospace company. Considerable information relative to the sale, the technology and its application in this project cannot be released due to its classified status.
Atkinson was able to say, however, that if Northrop Grumman finds the customized system effective in meeting its tracking needs, the potential for additional sales is tremendous.
“Without the help of the incubator, I’m convinced this project never would have happened,” he said. Atkinson explained that with resources the incubator makes available, including office space, expert business consultation and networking, the company was able to demonstrate how the technology it has been developing can be tailored for in-demand, real-world applications.
Earlier this year, ITrack sold a similar TNS-400 system to Sight and Sound Theaters of Lancaster, Penn., and Branson, Mo. That company plans to use the technology as an overall stage management system that tracks and autonomously controls any group of stage set objects in real time.
“All of those outreach efforts we’ve been making are coming to fruition now,” Atkinson said. “It’s really rewarding to see the research come full cycle and make its way into the hands of the customer.”
Amy Butler, executive director of OU INC, said that iTrack is serving as a perfect example of what can be accomplished when innovative thinking and grounded business development experience come together.
“What’s tremendous about this is that it’s a second revenue-generating sale for iTrack, but it’s also an adaptation of the technology to meet a new industry need,” she explained. “That’s what innovation is all about, and it’s exactly what we’re looking to support our clients in doing.”
Butler added that the early success iTrack is seeing helps to build confidence and experience within the company, but also serves as inspiration to other client companies developing business plans and models of their own.
“I don’t think this stops here, either,” she said. “As people see this technology at work, they’re going to say, ‘Hey, I bet this can be adapted to solve this problem I’ve been dealing with. That’s when Jerry will be getting another call.”
To learn more about iTrack and the technology it is developing, visit itrack-llc.com. To learn more about OU INC and the services and resources it can provide growing companies, visit oakland.edu/ouinc/.
ITRACK SELLS A TNS-400 TRACKING & NAVIGATION SYSTEM TO THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
August 5, 2011: Sight and Sound Theaters, with theater locations both in Lancaster, PA and Branson, MO agreed to purchase an iTrack TNS-400 Tracking & Navigation System customized for the entertainment industry. The ability to real time track and autonomously control any group of objects on a stage and while monitoring all other objects that interact with them is finally available for the entertainment industry. This exciting innovative tracking and positioning technology was originally developed for the military and is now available for a host of commercial uses.
Our system enables each object on the stage to identify its real time unique location. This information can be transmitted to an overall stage management system that monitors all stage activity. The novel and enhanced applications that this technology opens up will inspire the creative minds of our entertainment industry partners.
We are working closely with the Sight and Sound Theater technical team on this March 2012 production.
ITRACK AND THE TORO COMPANY AGREEMENT
January 7, 2010: iTrack and the Toro Company have agreed to a two year exclusive engineering / product development collaboration in which iTrack will receive an up front consulting fee. iTrack will work closely with Toro personnel to identify applications for our tracking and positioning technologies that will provide autonomous navigation capabilities to existing Toro products. Together, we will also explore the development of innovative new Toro products that can address their customers’ current and future needs.
Directly because of their interest in our company and what they believe will be the outcome of this collaboration, the Toro Company has requested and received an option to make an equity investment in iTrack.
ITRACK LLC SIGNS NEW LEASE TO INCREASE OFFICE SPACE AT THE OAKLAND UNIVERSITY BUSINESS INCUBATOR
August 24, 2009: Directly because of increased business activity and the likelihood of future projects, iTrack renegotiated its lease with the Oakland University Business INCubator to increase its office space. The INCubator provides iTrack with access to diverse array of funding/tax credit opportunities, a range of administrative support services and to an advisor board that meets with iTrack management on a regular basis. In addition to the office space that iTrack occupies, the INCubator provides iTrack engineers access to an enclosed 20,000 square foot engineering testing facility.
ITRACK LLC SIGNS SBIR PHASE III RESEARCH CONTRACT WITH THE UNITED STATES ARMY
August 20, 2009: iTrack is looking forward to working closely with the Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) engineers on its robotic navigation and personnel tracking in GPS denied environments Army SBIR Phase III project. Final demonstrations at the end of this effort to Army personnel will showcase the autonomous navigation of small robotic security vehicles and the real time tracking of dismounted warriors and in various urban GPS-denied environments.
iTrack’s project partners in this research effort are Massachusetts based Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Alabama based Time Domain Corporation.
Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) approves Investment Tax Credits for iTrack, LLC
May 19, 2009: The State of Michigan’s MEGA Board approved only the third Technology Collaboration Credit (30% investment tax credit) in its history to support the formation of iTrack LLC. The State’s encouragement of Grindstone Capital LLC and JADI Inc. efforts to join resources to create Michigan based iTrack, LLC was very important to this transaction.
Grindstone Capital LLC has investment expertise with other high tech companies that have promising, disruptive technologies and has common ownership with Michigan headquartered Royal Oak Industries (ROI). ROI has 350 employees and is a leading supplier of precision machined components and sub-assemblies to a variety of different markets, including heavy truck, high performance engine, off-road equipment and defense. Although a separate entity from ROI, Grindstone Capital LLC has access to ROI’s expertise in many areas including finance, engineering, marketing and sales. The iTrack team will move from its current Oakland University INCubator workplace to ROI offices located in Oakland County beginning in 2010. This move will provide the iTrack team with direct access to the ROI’s engineers, testing facilities and other resources. The collaboration supported by the MEGA Board will facilitate the expedited product development of iTrack’s navigation and tracking technologies. Additionally, this strategic partnership will provide access to ROI’s experienced sales, manufacturing and financial management team to enable a faster and smoother commercialization progression of iTrack’s technologies.
Grindstone believes that its investment in iTrack will prove to be mutually beneficial to both ROI and iTrack. In addition to having access to iTrack’s highly skilled technical employees with previous automotive experience, ROI will also benefit from iTrack’s established business and defense relationships that will provide growth opportunities for ROI’s existing products and services.