Do frontline workers -- workers providing essential services like healthcare -- use radios? They once did. But with the advent of affordable smartphones and service, radios have slowly, steadily given way to voice and video chat apps on mobile. According to one recent survey, 44% of frontline workers now use push to talk -- "walkie talkie" functionality, essentially -- on their smartphones.
Despite the trend, there remains a robust market for two-way worker radios. At least, that's according to Kevin Turpin, the co-founder and CEO of Weavix, a startup that sells radios and software aimed at helping companies manage and communicate with their frontline workforces.
"With innovation happening in the frontline worker market, I realized the opportunity to build a solution that enables both the worker and management to drive organizational change," Turpin told TechCrunch in an email interview. "The Weavix platform connects the disconnected workforce through communication and data to transform frontline engagement and efficiency at scale."
Founded in 2022, Weavix differentiates itself from "smart" radios -- cellular- and Wi-Fi-based radios with a built-in screen and GPS. Weavix's radios support live and recorded video messaging and text messaging in addition to features like translation and transcription. On the back end, managers can send alerts to groups of radios as well as organize and analyze incidents reported by workers -- directing workers to where they need to be.
Image Credits: Weavix
"In spite of the ubiquity of personal devices in today’s society, frontline workers often face the contrary situation on the job," Turpin said. "Failing to equip each worker with an electronic device represents a missed opportunity for the organization to gather vital data and overcome serious communication barriers."
Investors seem to agree with that premise -- and approve of Weavix's business model, which is user-license-based.
Weavix today announced that it raised $23.6 million in a funding round led by Insight Partners, bringing the company's total capital raised to $33.6 million. Co-founder and CEO Kevin Turpin said that it'll be put toward scaling operations in the U.S. and expanding Weavix's staff to over 150 people by the end of the year.
Was Insight convinced by Weavix's tech, customer momentum or both? Tough to say without a closer look at the books. But on the customer momentum front, Weavix appears to be doing well for itself -- the company has "multiple" Fortune 500 clients in manufacturing, food and beverage production, commercial construction and energy and hospitality industries, according to Turpin.
Weavix faces competition from Origami Labs, which is similarly developing "smart" radios for frontline workers. But Insight Partners' Grace Kotick, VP, asserts that Weavix is one of the few that offers a lifetime warranty for its devices and a "data-driven platform."
"Weavix’s mobile device for the frontline worker is a game-changer," she said in an emailed statement. "Their smart radios and corresponding software unlock a new level of connectivity and productivity for the frontline workforce. Their blend of hardware, software, and enhanced networking has transformed communications for those who need it most."