WICHITA — weavix is transforming the way frontline workers drive efficiency, communication and safety through their state-of-the-art technology, said Kevin Turpin. A $10 million corporate investment is boosting the Kansas startup’s signal even further as it hires in Kansas City.
“This is the new smart radio. … Just as BlackBerry went to the iPhone; that’s what we are doing into the radio communication world — taking it to the next level,” said Turpin, the founder and CEO of weavix, as he described its flagship product, the walt smart radio.
Founded in 2019, the Wichita-based software startup has created seamless communication ecosystems across enterprises by connecting their technology with thousands of frontline workers, Turpin said, noting plans to reach 30,000 to 40,000 workers by the end of 2023.
Click here to check out weavix.
Scaling to this target is aided through a $10 million Series A funding round from Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the growth and venture capital arm of Koch Industries — a multinational conglomerate corporation also headquartered in Wichita.
With Koch Industries owning more than 500 manufacturing facilities worldwide that employ about 68,000 frontline workers, investing in weavix was an opportunity to drive operational efficiency and great safety for their frontline workers, said Adam DeWolf, who serves as the managing director of KDT.
“It was a no-brainer fit for us,” DeWolf said. “Not just because of the growth [weavix is] experiencing and the happy customers they already have, but because we believe we can bring the best of Koch to help them continue to refine that process; and in turn, help Koch improve our own operations.”
Frontline workers have been historically overlooked by modern innovations, DeWolf continued, and weavix’s wearable technology appears to be the missing piece of the puzzle.
“A lot of digital transformation in industry has been driven by censoring and actuated machines,” DeWolf noted. “… We’ve expressed for us to feel like the industry of worker platforms where we can move away from just thinking about operations as machines and sensors but think about providing [the] best information to the people who are working on those machines and sensors.”
The $10 million investment will initially go toward hiring more talent to scale weavix’s technology, as well as scale its inventory, Turpin said — noting the company currently has 40 to 50 employees in Wichita and Kansas City, with current job openings in both cities.
“We’ve moved people in from all over the West Coast, the East Coast — so it’s bringing people into the Wichita area as well [as] growing in the Kansas City area,” Turpin said. “We started up a building in Kansas City to help [diversify] our engineering portfolio aspect of building our software. … We see extreme growth from the scale of what’s happening. The demand for our product right now is just unreal.”
Along with the financial component of the investment, KDT provides access to Koch Labs, which connects portfolio startups to their diverse ecosystem of subject matter experts, businesses and capabilities across Koch Industries, DeWolf explained.
“We can help companies scale from HR to legal to procurement to international growth to contracting — just [by tapping] into the knowledge of the broader Koch enterprise that has made it so successful over time and bring that to these companies,” DeWolf said.
Click here to learn more about Koch Disruptive Technologies.
The partnership with KDT will also provide access to KDT’s connections with Microsoft and other critical ecosystem partners, creating additional opportunities to develop innovative solutions for industrial customers.
Through utilizing weavix’s technology, Koch frontline workers are given the opportunity to speak to management the moment they notice an issue or how something can be improved — empowering further innovation, DeWolf shared.
“It also provides that management team the capability to put data to those problems to identify the best places to invest against those issues,” DeWolf said. “So you get this cycle of communications, visibility and decision making that hasn’t been able to come to the fore historically.”
With about 2.7 billion frontline workers across the globe, the potential for weavix’s technology solutions is exponential, Turpin said.
“We see ourselves double, if not tripling, year over year,” Turpin said. “It’s exciting to see that we’re bringing the frontline — [who] we call the hands-on worker — into the mix of helping give feedback and keeping them safe.”