FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Access to capital and entrepreneurial culture leads to national market share and successful sale for SMART Temps.
MISHAWAKA, INDIANA (March 9, 2017) – Long before wifi and email alerts were common, John Miller and Mike McKay had an idea to harness their power and start an early “internet of things” business. The duo came up with a concept in 2004 of creating a system that used wireless technology to monitor refrigerators and freezers. They founded SMART Temps in 2009 with four employees and a few local outside investors to launch the product and sell it nationally. The company grew to 40 employees and was acquired by Digi International in January 2017. The terms of the sale have not been disclosed.
The sale poises Digi International, a publicly traded company, to advance the unique combination of hardware and software thousands of customers have come to rely on.
How SMART Temps Protects Customers
The SMART Temps system uses a wireless temperature monitor to record temperatures 96 times per day and transmit that information via wifi, ethernet or cellular paths to the cloud. Automating processes saves companies labor costs.
The company’s software creates a command center that controls alerts, helps evaluate data, and can be online.”That’s really the secret sauce of our business – that you could access the web-based command center from anywhere,” said Miller, president and partner.
Just a few years ago the vast majority of SMART Temp’s business was within schools. Company founders recognized the monitors had applications for advancing industries like pharmaceuticals and food safety and raised additional funds to focus on the research and development needed to customize new applications. Hospitals, drugstores and restaurants nationwide have adopted the technology that protects pharmaceuticals and food and helps users determine whether someone left a refrigerator door open or there is a major system issue.
The expansion into new markets fueled the growth, with SMART Temps now doing business at more than 10,000 locations in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and Puerto Rico.
A Win for the Tech Sector
The sale is a win for the small but growing tech sector in the South Bend-Elkhart Region. “We have been able to hire quality employees to keep up with the growing workload, by offering reasonable wages on talent that runs the gamut from research and development to sales, administrative work, and customer service,” said John Miller, CEO and partner.
Digi’s purchase of the company will mean profits for the venture capitalists invested in this company located essentially in their backyard. “SMART Temps has been fortunate to have ‘smart’ money backing us since our inception,” Miller said. “We chose the right investors, and the right board members who had a passion for what we were doing.”
The passion is paying off larger returns. “We’re thrilled for their success and how both investors and the region, will see a return,” said Larry Garatoni, an investor who has been convening a group of community leaders to aggressively promote and foster the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South Bend-Elkhart Region. Garatoni and others are working to stimulate the startup spirit and culture, identify and nurture new ventures, and support the growth of existing high-potential businesses.
A Win for the South Bend – Elkhart Region
South Bend-Elkhart is being touted as a region of smart, connected communities. “Certainly the SMART Temps sale validates the momentum that has been built around smart technology, connection to capital and a vibrant startup community,” said Regina Emberton, president and CEO of Michiana Partnership Inc., which is promoting economic development in the the region.
Miller and McKay are just one example of a growing number of people working in the tech sector in the region, according to Emberton. “Changing technology is creating tremendous opportunities for all types of business owners and entrepreneurs,” she said. “People are actually saying we don’t want to become a Silicon Valley, but want to become the best unique Midwestern region we can possibly become.”
“The combination of capital, talent and education in this ecosystem provided an opportunity to invest into a company of the future that started and grew here in the South Bend-Elkhart Region. We know that entrepreneurship is a catalyst for the long-term success of the region and look forward to investing in more burgeoning companies going forward,” said Garatoni, founder of HQ Investments, based in Mishawaka, and chair of the Regional Development Authority’s entrepreneurship committee.
About SMART Temps
The SMART Temps® Temperature Management System was designed, developed, and patented by the SMART Temps management team who, combined, have more than 50 years of food safety experience. In its beginning the system’s sole function was to aid in the management and safekeeping of food, equipment and other temperature-dependent products for the school nutrition industry. However, the SMART Temps system, with more than 10,000 locations monitored, protects inventory such as vaccines, medications, blood, labs, research, and other critical inventory related to the healthcare industry.
About Digi International
Digi International (NASDAQ: DGII) is a leading global provider of business and mission-critical machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity products and services. We help our customers create next-generation connected products and deploy and manage critical communications infrastructures in demanding environments with high levels of security, relentless reliability and bulletproof performance. Founded in 1985, we’ve helped our customers connect over 100 million things, and growing. For more information, visit Digi’s website at www.digi.com, or call 877-912-3444 (U.S.) or 952-912-3444 (International).
About the RDA Entrepreneurship Committee
In 2016, the Regional Development Authority appointed a 19-member Entrepreneurship Committee, whose mission is to promote and foster the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South Bend-Elkhart Region by stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture in our citizens, identifying and nurturing new business startups and supporting the growth of existing high potential businesses.
Michiana Partnership, the Regional Economic Development Organization covering the South Bend-Elkhart region, provides staffing support for the RDA and the Entrepreneurship Committee.