It took Barbara Timm-Brock one near-death experience and three career changes to bring her to the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin to launch eTrack Tech.
Timm-Brock wants to make sure equipment functions properly so that employees are safer and logistics companies can save money on one of their biggest expenses — the equipment they use.
The device that eTrack Tech sells looks like a router with an array of multifunctional sensors. That streams data to a hub device on a facility’s property that will collect the data and analyze it.
All of that data (which measures power, hydraulics and fluids) is transmitted over a cellular network to the hub.
So far, the technology works with generators (which Timm-Brock likens to a diesel truck with no wheels), HVAC systems and forklifts, which look a lot like other logistics and construction equipment, including backhoes and excavators.
eTrack Tech charges $300 per year per device and monitoring costs.
For logistics companies, the monitoring equipment can both save lives and money. According to Timm-Brock, companies spend roughly $144 billion per year on logistics equipment maintenance, almost the same they spend on vehicle and equipment purchasing ($156 billion).
“We have created this business of making fleet management more efficient,” says Timm-Brock. “While we have a lot of prospective exits for this, I really just want to make stuff work better.”
The path that led Timm-Brock — a good Minnesotan — to our Berlin stage, began in her father’s workshop, where, from an early age, she helped him with his hobby as a gunsmith. Professionally the head of the prototype lab at Unisys, Arthur Timm was a master craftsman and an amateur gunsmith who had Barbara work in his shop.
“I remember reloading shotgun shells. He had me working with gun stocks and I worked with gunpowder,” Timm-Brock told me.
That early experience with dangerous chemicals instilled a respect for process and safety that ran through Timm-Brock’s education as a chemical engineer and through her first job at Pillsbury as a process engineer.