MākuSafe raises $1.25 million to make workers safer

The workplace is on its way to getting safer.

Ankeny-based MākuSafe has raised $1.25 million for continued development of wearable technology aimed at improving the safety for factory workers. The money was raised from private investors and was a convertible note round.

In total, MākuSafe has raised nearly $1.5 million, founder Gabe Glynn said.

MākuSafe is developing a wearable device for factory workers that goes on their arms to sense environmental conditions, such as noise levels and temperature. The hope is to provide up-to-date safety information and prevent fatal injuries.

Glynn said the company is going through beta testing through November and hopes to release a full product early in 2018.

Manufacturing, agriculture and logistics are the initial focus areas.

“I really feel like the technology we are exploring is something that’s never been done before,” Glynn said. “For the first time in human history we will be recording these types of environmental conditions and gathering this type of data on a human being for a length of time.”

The evolution of MakuSafe’s wearable devices on display over the last year. (Courtesy of Gabe Glynn)

2018 and beyond for MākuSafe

Glynn said MākuSafe will use the funds to hire additional software developers and continue developing relationships within the insurance industry.

“What we discovered is people in the insurance industry are really excited with what we’re doing, because they bare the burden of these accidents and claims that happen,” Glynn explained.

He said Des Moines-based insurance company EMC Insurance Co. invested in MākuSafe and is helping develop the technology. The Des Moines insurance firm has agreed to purchase about $340,000 of the wearable tech if MākuSafe has successful testing,

“We are seeing a bigger opportunity to expand our software platform to MakuSmart,” Glynn said. “We are eager to keep our company here and work with people locally. We’ve got great insurance companies here and over 6,000 manufactures in Iowa, so our goal is to stay right here.”

But raising the capital wasn’t easy

MākuSafe is the sixth startup Glynn has founded in 11 years. This was his first time raising capital and said he was thankful to have attended the “Raising Capital” seminar hosted by Square One and BrownWinick last year.

He suggests entrepreneurs avoid raising capital but for this company, he was forced to.

“For companies like ours in the hardware space and the costs of hardware engineering— which runs into the millions of dollars—it’s a requirement for somebody who doesn’t have the financial means,” Glynn said.

Glynn said the majority of the capital was raised in Iowa.

“During those months there were days where I had five or six phone pitches,” Glynn recalls. “And by the sixth one you’ve got to dunk your head in cold water and put a smile on your face and pick up the phone to call with the same enthusiasm and excitement you had in the previous five.”