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Genba, the latest spinout from PSL-Fortive studio, raises cash for industrial work voice app

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Genba co-founders Bruce Kaufman and Emory Sullivan. (Genba Photos)

New spinout: Genba came out of stealth mode Thursday, revealing its software built for the industrial workforce. The company is the latest to spin out from a Seattle startup innovation studio run by Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) and publicly-traded industrial giant Fortive, which invested in a seed round for Genba.

The tech: Genba’s mobile app helps maintenance teams complete work in the field and capture knowledge via voice recognition that is trained on a company’s specific vocabulary. The idea is to improve information capture and sharing by replacing the traditional pen-and-paper recording method. The 5-person company has handful of large customers, including GE Power.

“Because these workers don’t have access to computers, and often can’t/won’t type on small phones (for example, because they wear gloves), Genba is designing a voice-first UI that can be used accurately in industrial settings where technical jargon and noise limit most voice systems,” said Genba CEO and co-founder Bruce Kaufman.

Leadership: Kaufman previously worked at Cobalt Technologies, DuPont, Fluke, and Modus before joining PSL as an entrepreneur-in-president in August. He co-founded Genba with Emory Sullivan, who also worked at Fluke and spent a year at Fortive, which owns Fluke and is based in the Seattle region.

Studio: PSL partnered with Fortive last year to build new products and launch companies. The first spinout, TeamSense, launched last summer with a software platform that helps employers track COVID-19 symptoms at the workplace. The second, Quivr, develops an AI-powered smart camera tool that can detect proper application of sprayed disinfectant and generate deep-cleaning reports.

Both Fortive and PSL take an equity stake when launching startups together. The model allows the creation of companies that will either end up as standalone venture-backed businesses or be acquired by Fortive itself.

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