is known for its high-end, custom-built, home-entertainment technology. So why is the Ann Arbor-based company spinning out a tech start-up focused on creating software platforms that helps businesses communicate and run with more ease and efficiency?
Kontextual is the result of a company innovating new ways to overcome operations problems and discovering a whole new business in the process. The 1-year-old start-up's software helps streamline the way companies internally communicate, find information and measure results.
"We have something that seems interesting to people, but we need to see how it creates value and for whom," says Kurt Skifstad, CEO of Kontextual
That's start-up speak for, 'We think we have a winner but we're still figuring out how to make it profitable.' Kontextual's team of four employees and one intern aren't the only group who believes they have something special. RPM Ventures
, an Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm, has invested $200,000 in the start-up. That's one of the early investments in a seed capital round that has reached $650,000 and is aiming to raise about $1 million before the end of the year.
Kontextual describes its technology as a platform that "helps companies build transparent, metric-driven cultures. Our cloud- and mobile-based platform helps companies share important information locked in planning spreadsheets, walled off in expensive enterprise platforms, and lost in the black hole of the corporate inbox. The result is strategic alignment of resources, increased efficiency, and significant cost savings for the business, and greater job satisfaction for employees."
"It's about decreasing the friction to get the information you need in a company," Skifstad says.
Kontextual is in the late stages of its Beta development. It expects to begin shipping the first commercial versions of its software platform in September. It is also looking to hire two more software developers and expects to have a staff of eight people by the end of the year.
Source: Kurt Skifstad, CEO of Kontextual
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.