MotionX is a rising star in the wearable technology space, though to the mainstream media fascinated by Nike Fuelband, Apple’s rumored smart watch, and other headlines grabbers, it is perhaps one of the best known secrets. Being located in Santa Cruz might have something to do with it. Or the fact that it is actually a product name, from the Company called Fullpower Technologies, a company that in its job postings, markets the fact that it is a place and a company where one can live a balanced lifestyle. We like that! Whatever the reason, the high value capabilities of its technology are positioning it in the crosshairs of very large industries with companies seeking to dominate, or enter massive markets. And by “crosshairs”, we don’t mean that it is going to be taken out, execution style. We mean ripe for a very large outsized acquisition relative to its financial performance (suspected, not known).
At Inside Activity Tracking, we spend a lot of time listening, mostly to Company founders talking about their visions for their to be released products. Whether the products are hardware or software, or tackling use cases in the fitness markets, in the healthcare markets, in the medical fields, in the industrial fields, and even in the military fields, we keep hearing MotionX’s name. And so we’ve been paying attention. Yet, the Company is no secret to Silicon Valley. Its Founders have almost legendary status there. Married Co-Founders Philippe Kahn (CEO) and Sonia Lee are experienced visionaries, having previously worked together at LightSurf and Starfish, though Kahn is most known for his run at Borland. These weren’t trivial companies, but rather important technologies that affected massive swaths of society. At Starfish, Kahn and team brought TrueSync to market, a pioneer in OTA synching. Motorola bought the company for $325M. At Lightsurf, Kahn and team pioneered what we now take for granted as MMS, selling the company to Verisign for $300M. Behind this leadership (which includes Arthur Kinsolving, VP of Technology and IP), MotionX has become another pioneer in a rapidly growing market and MARKETS.
The foundation of the company’s success lies in its motion-sensing platform, which launched in MotionX-GPS Drive for iPhone and iPad (#1 top selling navigation app). Its technology has been billed as the “Swiss Army Knife of GPS Navigation”. Besides launching MotionX-GPS Drive, the Company in 2010 helped develop the Nike+ GPS app and powers many of the best selling apps across many activities, from sleeping to driving. Since then, the company has developed this motion platform with support for state-of-the-art sensors and advanced recognition inference, and physics engines; today, this platform powers some of the best wearable computing devices, and promises to be powering many more if you believe the many company founders in the wearable computing market that we’ve spoken to. Major partnerships include: Nike, Apple, Jawbone, Texas Instruments, Pioneer, and JVC, though we believe this is a vast underestimation of the capabilities of their technology portfolio. In short order, this is a company that has become an indispensable tool for app developers, and hardware manufacturers across multiple platforms and multiple uses cases (sports, energy, gaming, life sciences, logistics, security, and others) that enable penetration into vast new markets.
If the recent Waze acquisition by Google is any indication, there are many obvious suitors for companies empowering ecosystems of GPS/Navigation dependent app developers across Android and iOS. The usual suspects being Google, Apple (Apple obviously cares about mapping, and has bought Placebase, Ply9 and C3 Technologies as well as hardware component companies in past in Intrinsity and Anobit), Microsoft (probably are best guess of usual suspects other than Apple) and Facebook. But the companies’ ability to provide hardware manufacturers in so many industries with the ability to get a foothold into high margin software across many markets as the wearables market explodes, makes this company interesting to companies like Samsung, Philips, Texas Instruments, HTC, Motorola and General Electric and potentially so many other multinational corporations operating in healthcare, transportation, medical, industrial (MotionX’s portfolio of wrist-wearable sensing technology for companies wanting to drive safety and protection solutions is certainly interesting), and military markets as well. And these are the kinds of markets, companies, and targets that drive outsized returns. And it certainly helps that its Founders really are the kind of Founders that will only take a ridiculous price for their baby, after enough successful exits to already be living happily ever after! Ante up!