Industrial wearables maker RealWear acquires Genba and Seattle startup’s voice tech

(Logos via RealWear)

RealWear, the Vancouver, Wash.-based maker of wearable assisted reality tech for industrial workers, has acquired Seattle-based Genba, whose software serves the same workforce.

Genba is a spinout of a Seattle startup innovation studio run by Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) and publicly traded industrial giant Fortive, of Everett, Wash. Fortive invested $1.5 million in RealWear as part of Thursday’s acquisition, adding to a $23.5 million Series C round raised by RealWear and announced last week.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Genba brand and a team of seven employees will continue under RealWear and operate separately.

“What’s exciting is that this agreement shows the shift RealWear is making, moving from a device-centric to platform focus by bringing home great SaaS solutions currently being utilized by some of the largest industrial companies in the world,” said Ken Lustig, RealWear co-founder and SVP of corporate and legal affairs.

RealWear sells ruggedized head-mounted voice-controlled AR devices that project a virtual Android tablet just below line of sight. Industrial workers use the product to do remote video calling, document navigation, guided workflow, mobile forms, and data visualization, among other tasks.

Genba first came out of stealth mode in May 2021. The startup’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 speed they’ve gone from idea gestation to commercially shipping software to the app being used commercially by frontline workers is inspiring, especially in the industrial space that is well known for moving methodically with lengthy, rigorous testing cycles,” Lustig said.

Genba was a finalist for UX Design of the Year at the 2022 GeekWire Awards. Its total funding has not been revealed.

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