...Robert Moss, president and CEO of Mobitrac
When Tom Churchwell of ARCH Development Partners was looking for someone to lead Mobitrac
, a year old spinout from the University of Illinois-Chicago
, Robert Moss
man. "Tom liked my background having been an entrepreneur with a couple of other small companies, the technology background, [the fact that] I've raised money before," said Moss
A recent presenter at the Illinois Venture Capital Conference, Mobitrac
leverages the research of UIC computer science professor Ouri Wolfson.The company is looking to revolutionize fleet management; it tracks multiple mobile objects with its own brand of location-based services utilizing GPS and wireless modem technology.Mobitrac's
software could improve air traffic control, mobile commerce and fleet management. Moss
says the technology is primarily targeting fleets in the pickup and delivery business.While there are a fair number of competitors with GPS systems, Moss
offerings go well beyond that: Mobitrac
is the only company to offer routing, tracking and prediction of future location, and Moss notes that the system operates in real-time.
"We continuously update and allow changes, modifications to the system on the fly.Prediction of future location is real-time," said Moss
A key for the company has been utilizing an open architecture that allows Mobitrac to tap any company's GPS and wireless network; clients will not be locked into any one vendor.The company also provides tools for managing the productivity of drivers when they make stops.
"We not only model how long it takes to drive to a location, we can also model how long it should take for them to accomplish their business.We essentially give management visibility over the activities of their mobile fleet during the day," said Moss
Just this month, Mobitrac
began its commercial release after beta testing and debugging the software.Moss
said the company was "probably not in a position to release names" of customers at this point in time, but they are aggressively pursuing potential clients. Mobitrac
is looking for additional funding now that the product is finished and several venture capital firms have shown interest, which may lead to term sheets in a few months.To date, Mobitrac
has been funded by NSF
and U.S. Army Research Lab grants tallying $1.7 million, as well as receiving $300,000 from ARCH
and $300,000 in matching funds from the Illinois Coalition
is currently seeking to raise $2 million. A native of Chicago, Moss attended the University of Illinois at Champaign and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering.However, he never directly applied that education as he soon found himself on a different track, graduating from Harvard's Business School in 1971. Moss returned to Chicago to work as a management consultant for McKinsey, but left after six years to pursue a career with New Jersey-based Becton Dickinson (BD), a leading medical device company.
After close to a decade at BD
, where he
worked in corporate planning, marketing, and ran one of the company's high tech businesses, Moss
joined another East Coast business, Technicon Instruments Co.He served Technicon for three years as senior vice president. Moss'
first adventure in fundraising came as chair, president and CEO of local company Medx, Inc.He
went on to serve in the same capacity at InfoBlox Inc.
, a local startup dedicated to developing labor-saving server appliances.
"I've always maintained my interest in technology.In management circles, I've proven to be a fast study as far as technology is concerned," said Moss
, who has no qualms about forgoing an engineering career and instead choosing to apply his
early education to business as much as possible.