SkyBitz

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SkyBitz, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Telecommunications, Asset Tracking
Founded Sterling, Virginia, USA (1993 (1993))
Headquarters Herndon, Virginia, USA
Key people Homaira Akbari, President
Parent Telular Inc.
Website www.skybitz.com

SkyBitz, based in Sterling, Virginia, is a United States company that offers a trailer tracking service.

Business[edit]

Based just outside of Washington, DC, SkyBitz provides products to track unpowered assets such as tractor-trailers, intermodal containers, rail cars, power generators, and heavy equipment. SkyBitz uses a Global Locating System (GLS) that differs from a traditional Global Positioning System (GPS). Positioning calculations are done centrally and automatically at an operations center instead of locally on each device. This allows the device to run for years on just a set of standard AA lithium batteries.[citation needed]

GLS technology uses two-way satellite communications. The company also sells product for one-way satellite networks, as well as terrestrial-based wireless networks such as GSM.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Pre-commercialization[edit]

In the early 1990s, Matthew Schor founded Eagle Eye Technologies, Inc. In 1994, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Eagle Eye the first of two contracts to design a satellite based tracking system. In 1997 the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology provided a research grant that allowed Eagle Eye to work with professor Warren Stutzman at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia to further develop their technology.[1]

In 1998 the United States Air Force awarded Eagle Eye the first of another two contracts to miniaturize the tracking system and reduce its power consumption. The company's chief scientist, Mark Sullivan, as well as the vice president, James Kilfeather, received patents on technologies used by SkyBitz.[2] The company's chief technical officer, Jay Brosius, led the design effort for the communications protocol (Slotted Aloha) and architecture.[3]

In October 1998 World Wireless Communications of Utah announced an agreement to produce a Global Locating System (GLS) for asset location.[4] Eagle Eye was able to demonstrate the GLS technology via the MSAT geostationary satellite built by Hughes Space and Electronics (now owned by Boeing). In July 2000, Zero Gravity Venture Partners invested in a Series A venture capital round.[5]

Commercial Launch[edit]

In early 2002, the company hired Michael Fitzgerald as CEO. Michael Fitzgerald had a stellar career in the trucking industry including one of the original management team at Federal Express. The company subsequently announced the launch of the GLS technology.[6] In late 2002, AIG Highstar Capital and Cordova Ventures led an $18 million Series B investment.[7] Helen Bentley Delich via Helen Bentley & Associates received $34,000[8] to assist and advise SkyBitz as it commercially launched into the trucking and transportation industry. Her many accomplishments include being an active businesswoman and lobbyist as the president and CEO of Helen Delich Bentley & Associates, Inc., and also as an international trade, business and government consultant. She also is a consultant for the Maryland Port Administration, Port of Baltimore, which was renamed in June 2006 by then-Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. as the "Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore." She also currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Landstar System, one of the largest transportation firms in the U.S., adopted the service in January 2003.[9]

In January 2003, SkyBitz announced a manufacturing relationship with Solectron, including new product introduction (NPI), test development, printed circuit board layout and design, card assembly and design of the external housing for SkyBitz's mobile terminal.[10] In early 2003 the company then hired Andy Wood as CEO to replace Mr. Fitzgerald.[11] In 2003, the company also received a grant from the Transportation Security Administration for implementing GLS at the Port of Long Beach by the Maritime Administration. SkyBitz joined WhereNet Corporation for this demonstration of a combined port tracking and satellite tracking system for container security.[12] To support this trial, Matthew Schor was interviewed on MSNBC in February 2003 on how U.S. ports were vulnerable to attack and how technology could help.[13]

In January 2004, Inverness Capital and Motorola made a $16 Million Series C investment in SkyBitz.[14] In April 2004, Andy Wood resigned as CEO and the company's CFO, Rick Burtner, became CEO.[15] In 2005, SkyBitz acquired customers in the transportation industry including R&R Trucking, Tri-State Motor, Quality Distribution and J Rayl. The company was also selected as a "2005 Future 50" technology company by SmartCEO Magazine for its strategic direction and customer growth. In 2006, SkyBitz announced smart sensor tracking technology to optimize trailer utilization, improve reporting and maximize security. The company was named a “Rising Star” in Deloitte & Touche USA LLP's Technology Fast 50 program for the state of Virginia. SkyBitz also became the official tracking solution for the delivery of the United States Capitol Christmas Tree.[16] Also in 2006, Bob Blair joined the company as CFO.

In January 2007, Abdul Hamid Rana became CTO. In February 2007, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (via CIBC Capital Partners) led the fourth round of funding totaling $10 million. In October 2007, Homaira Akbari replaced Burtner as CEO.[17] By the end of 2007 SkyBitz had acquired more than 400 customers in North America and added two new products: a cargo sensor and tractor/trailer ID. The company was also ranked in Inc. 500, the Deloitte Wireless Fast 50, Deloitte Technology Fast 500, The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 for the states of Virginia and Maryland, and the Heavy Duty Trucking Nifty Fifty Award.[citation needed]

In 2008, Craig Malone was then appointed as the Senior Vice President of Product Development to replace Rhana,[citation needed] and Bernard Borghei was hired as Executive Vice President of Sales and Operations.

Expansion[edit]

In January 2009, SkyBitz and research firm CSMG, the strategy division of TMNG Global, announced new research quantifying the benefits or remote asset management.[18] Then in April 2009, SkyBitz expanded its sales coverage into Canada with a partnership with ELM Technologies.[19] Also in April, a case study was released by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)highlighting SkyBitz technology.[20] Then in July 2009, Craig Montgomery was brought on as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development.[21] In the Fall of 2009, the company also added Henry Popplewell as Senior Vice President of Sales.[22]

By August 2009, SkyBitz earned a spot on the Inc. 5000 list for the third straight year.[23] Later in 2009 the company launched a new terrestrial based tracking solution on Kore Networks,[24] announced it received Defense Transportation Tracking System II (DTTS) certification by The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Commands (SDDC),[25] and launched a new asset tracking software for trailer leasing companies.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Su Clauson-Wicker (Summer 1997). "From Growing Food to Growing Industry: Virginia Tech opens its doors to business collaborations as it expands the land-grant mission". Virginia Tech magazine. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ Mark C. Sullivan; James B. Kilfeather (April 20, 2004). "System and method for fast acquisition reporting using communication satellite range measurement". US Patent 6,725,158. 
  3. ^ Jim Mele (March 1, 2005). "Assets in Action". Fleet Owner. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Wireless: World Wireless Communications and Eagle Eye Technologies to Produce a Wireless Asset Location Device - Company Business and Marketing". EDGE, On & About AT&T. October 5, 1998. 
  5. ^ Fellers, Charles. "SkyBitz Tracks an $18M Financing Round". Private Equity Week. Venture Capital Journal. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Time Parry (October 28, 2002). "SkyBitz launches GLS". Drivers. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ "SkyBitz Raises $18 Million For Global Tracking Service". news release (Space Daily). November 15, 2002. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Influence Explorer". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  9. ^ John Bendel (January 2004). "Trailer Tracking:The View From The Fleets". Heavy Duty Trucking 83 (1). Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ "SkyBitz Announces Manufacturing Partnership With Solectron". KM Communications. January 20, 2003. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ "New SkyBitz CEO Brings Track Record in Logistics, Technology Enabled Services". news release (SkyBitz). March 4, 2003. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Results of the Container Tracking Demonstration for the Maritime Administration". June 17, 2004. Archived from the original on September 28, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  13. ^ Jerry Cobb (February 25, 2003). "U.S. ports seen vulnerable to attack :Officials seek to tighten security with technology, new rules". MSNBC. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ "SkyBitz Secures $16 Million in Series C Round and Announces Strategic Agreement with Motorola". News release. January 6, 2004. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Andy Woods Departs SkyBitz". Trucking info. April 22, 2004. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  16. ^ [1], SkyBitz tracks Capitol Christmas Tree .
  17. ^ "Homaira Akbari Joins SkyBitz as CEO and Director of the Board". News release (SkyBitz). October 17, 2007. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  18. ^ [2], CSMG AND SKYBITZ ANNOUNCE NEW RESEARCH QUANTIFYING BENEFITS OF REMOTE ASSET MANAGEMENT.
  19. ^ [3], ELM Technologies Ltd. partners with SkyBitz Inc.
  20. ^ [4], DARPA Highlights SkyBitz As a Technology and Business Success Story.
  21. ^ [5], Craig Montgomery Joins SkyBitz(R) as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.
  22. ^ [6], SkyBitz Appoints Two Key Industry Executives.
  23. ^ [7], SkyBitz(R) Earns Spot on Inc. 5000 for Third Straight Year.
  24. ^ [8], SkyBitz Takes Innovation to Next Level .
  25. ^ [9], SkyBitz Receives New DTTS II Certification for Arms Ammunition and Explosives Safety Tracking.
  26. ^ [10], SkyBitz Launches Asset Tracking Software for Trailer Leasing Companies.

External links[edit]