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XOEye Technologies wearables gameplan could include Series B in 2015
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Aaron Salow

Updates: Dec. 11, 2017 - XOi Technologies announced it's raised $4.5MM from Vocap Investment Partners and Nashville Capital Network. Reported by Finmes here. April 29, 2015: XOEye announced closing its previous Series A at $1.9MM, with lead investor Michigan-based IncWell LP. XOEYE announced Jan. 4, 2015, it had partnered with Vuzix (see original story below) to bundle that partner's M100 smart glasses with XO's platform, which supports business-enterprise processes.-Ed.

XOEYE Technologies, the Nashville industrial wearable-technology entrant with growth in its crosshairs, is likely in 2015 to announce at least one new strategic partnership, as well as a Series B capital raise.

Co-founder and CEO Aaron Salow confirmed that XOEye Technologies' total capital-in now stands at $5.2MM, and could soon reach a cumulative $5.7MM, with the ultimate close of its Series A, which has thus far brought in $1.5MM toward its $2MM target.

Current XOEye modeling includes a potential growth-oriented $7MM-$8MM Series B raise in 2H-2015, said Salow.

The company is also likely to disclose another strategic partnership during the massive January 2015 CES event in Las Vegas, complementing its previously announced strategic hardware partnership with New York City-based Pivothead (video-recording eyeware), said Salow. A prospective third, as-yet undisclosed partnership is also in advanced discussions.

XOEye provides software and firmware for a range of devices, including those with wearable head-mounted displays, akin to Google Glass, for use by field-service and other workforces that need real-time connection to other sites.

Its XOEye Vision platform supports mobile device management (MDM) for wearable devices, wearable apps, sensor data and telepresence. XOEye Vision Runtime Environment (XVRE) allows users to interact with a still-widening array of apps via "intuitive controls and feedback, including touch, voice and gesture," the company says.

The company, which has eight employees now and is looking to hire two or three engineers, has been piloting its offerings within 42 companies, 35 of which paid a small amount to participate, said Salow. Its product rollout is set for January, after which it projects hitting breakeven-or-better with 12 months, he noted.

Earlier this year, following a strategic shift in 2013 toward emphasis on proprietary software over hardware, Salow officially relocated XOEye headquarters to Nashville from south-central Michigan, where he and his father, Chris Salow, co-founded the startup.

Chris Salow

As a result of the pro-software pivot, XOEye is deemphasizing its original "XOne" headgear offering, in favor of multiple "agnostic" strategic hardware partnerships, said Salow. Wearable hardware will be highly commoditized within three years, he added.

The company's current direct competitors include Northern Virginia-based APX Glass (a Deloitte strategic partner backed by VC New Enterprise Associates); and, New York-based Augmate (backed by Siemens, Angels and others), said Salow. APX earlier this year announced a $10MM Series A raise.

In addition to Google Glass, WearableTechnologies reported earlier this year that the "hottest" smart-glass providers at that time included Vuzix, Recon Instruments, GlassUp, Meta and Epson, with newer offerings from Telepathy, Atheer Labs and Lumus.

Though XOEye could probably collaborate with Google Glass, said Salow, Google Glass' current configuration does not fit well for some customers whose users need need a fuller range of vision, for work and safety reasons. XOEye's target sectors include manufacturing, construction, field services and Energy, sectors in which about 50% of all companies deploy Blue Collar field workers, and about 10% of those workers need XOEye-type offerings, said Salow.

XOEye's 32-year-old CEO previously earned degrees within Nashville's Belmont University and Trevecca Nazarene University. XOEye retains a presence in Michigan, where the co-founder also operates Peak Manufacturing, an OEM parts supplier for automotive and mining sectors.

Salow's familiarity with Nashville and its extraordinary vibe -- useful in recruiting tech talent -- plus the fact that 40% or more of its target verticals are operating within 500 miles of Nashville (often just a one-hour flight), made choosing to plant the XOEye flag here a pretty easy decision, he said.

Its Series A round has been driven by lead investor Selous Venture Society (Nashville) and by Crestlight Venture Productions (based in Santa Clara, part of Silicon Valley), as previously announced. Crestlight earlier this year announced a collaboration with a new local entity, Fivestone Venture Partners, in Franklin (related story here).

XOEyes' advisors and investors also include Nashville-based Julia Polk, founder of New Ventures Consulting LLC (attorney Harlan Dodson of Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella in Nashville is shown as agent on Polk's recent state filing); and, Chicago-based advisor Rob Eckardt, founder and principal of Thrive Advisory Services LLC, Salow said.

The startup also receives legal counsel from Chris Sloan of Baker Donelson; it banks with SunTrust; and, it turns for PR-Ad-Social media services to Skyya Communications, the Minneapolis-New York agency, which also represents XOEye ally Pivothead. XOEye also relies on local Marathon Village-based Golden Spiral marketing agency for Web development. (Previous Michigan state filings by Peak Manufacturing showed attorney Philip Curtis of Jackson, Mich., as Salow's agent, there.)

The potential magnitude of an XOEye Series B is intended to ensure availability of dry powder for growth, while averting repeated drains on management's time, which are inevitable with a series of smaller raises, said Salow.

For similar reasons, opportunities that others see in Nashville's enormous Healthcare sector will not be allowed to distract the company from its customers' Blue-Collar needs. Its software and solutions may eventually be licensed to others who wish to pursue such targets, said Salow.

Even though XOEye gets inquiries from China, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, its core Blue Collar mission remains paramount over entering international markets, upon which XOEye is not likely to focus for 18 to 24 months, Salow said. VNC

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