PSL, Fortive unveil first company out of new studio: COVID-19 symptom tracking startup TeamSense
It didn’t take long for a new Seattle innovation studio run by Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) and Fortive to pump out a startup.
TeamSense went from initial funding to paying customers in just six weeks. The speed is a testament to the unique model set up by PSL, a startup studio, and Fortive, a publicly traded industrial company. The organizations unveiled their partnership in May.
“It’s been incredible to see from a pure timeline perspective,” said TeamSense CEO Sheila Stafford.
Stafford was previously a general manager at Fluke, an Everett, Wash.-based company owned by Fortive. She worked with the team at PSL on ideas around thermal monitoring and COVID-19. Those discussions evolved into focusing on software that makes it easier to monitor the health of workers — particularly hourly employees — across industries such as manufacturing, construction, warehousing, logistics, and hospitality.
Employees access TeamSense via a daily text message or email and answer questions about their health. Companies can customize the survey based on the work being done and local health guidelines. The entire process takes less than 20 seconds and answers are kept confidential. Those that are cleared can enter the workplace.
The software is designed to be useful even after the COVID-19 crisis, helping companies manage planning, compliance, and communication with hundreds of on-site workers.
“Being able to communicate with employees 1-on-1 via our system is much easier than what our customers have now,” Stafford said.
TeamSense makes money with a SaaS-based model, charging companies on a per-user basis. Customers include Heroux Devtek, Cord Contracting Co., T&B Tube Company, and others.
There are other companies building similar solutions, including various health tech firms. Fitbit last month debuted a “Ready for Work” symptom tracker. Microsoft and UnitedHealth Group rolled out a free app in May called ProtectWell that surveys workers about their health. Companies such as Amazon are conducting temperature checks and setting up COVID-19 tests across its operations network.
Fortive and PSL made an undisclosed equity investment in the company, which is its own entity. The innovation studio model allows the creation of companies that will either end up as standalone venture-backed businesses or be acquired by Fortive itself.
The partnership is an evolution for PSL, the Seattle-based firm that established its own “startup studio” model back in 2016. PSL rapidly tests potential new businesses with an in-house team and then recruits executives to run spinout companies. It has helped create more than 20 startups and also operates a separate venture capital arm, PSL Ventures, that is funded by Jeff Bezos’ investment firm, Expedia and Zillow founder Rich Barton, and others.
She’s getting constant feedback and guidance from Fortive leadership, while also tapping the expertise from PSL.
“The typical bureaucracy within a company is non-existent,” Stafford said.
Other TeamSense employees include Alison Roy-Ting, a former Fluke leader, along with two PSL team members: Dave Peck and Peter Denton.
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