IBJNews

Investors pour $5 million into beer technology firm

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Investors have poured another $5 million into a Carmel tech startup with big plans for the beer industry.

SteadyServ Technologies LLC, founded in February 2012, recently secured the venture funding in anticipation of a product rollout in the first quarter of next year, company founder and CEO Steve Hershberger said Friday. The $5 million stacks onto $1.5 million SteadyServ received earlier this year.

The company spent its first year and half in business refining its product, iKeg—a system with a sensor that monitors beer left in metal kegs and sends alerts to mobile devices when supplies are low.

The 12-employee firm expects to generate less than $100,000 in revenue outside of investments this year as it works out its product’s issues during beta testing. That will change starting next year, if all goes according to plan.

SteadyServ plans to hire 75 to 100 people—including salespeople, software developers and back-office workers—and record at least $25 million in annual sales within a couple of years. It has already received commitments from customers as large as Anheuser-Busch, Hershberger said.

That's warp-speed growth for a startup heading into its second year of business.

“When we started, the guidance was to follow the Indiana playbook to raise money: ‘Do it small, be conservative and take baby steps. Don’t think about anything bold,’” Hershberger said. “We thought, ‘You know, here’s the problem. This idea just can’t be half-present. It’s either an absolute dud and didn’t work, or it’s going to be very successful.’”

The idea for iKeg brewed from Hershberger’s own work experiences. A software developer by trade, he also helped start Flat 12 Bierwerks just east of downtown.

Restaurants and bars often resort to rudimentary methods, such as shaking a keg, to determine how much beer is left in containers. iKeg, which sends reports to mobile devices when a keg is low, helps customers better stay on top of beverage orders and prevents them from throwing out unconsumed beer.

“If it’s off by 2 or 3 percent, is it a big deal? In terms of restaurant economics, it’s a real big deal,” said Ryan Kellerman, director of beverage hospitality for the Scotty’s Brewhouse restaurant chain, which is testing iKeg.

SteadyServ has tweaked its product as it received feedback from testers and prospective customers. For instance, instead of reporting a keg’s remaining beer as a percentage or a fluid measurement, the company developed a metric that servers can understand: pints.

Instead of targeting a lot of small deals with bars and restaurants, SteadyServ looks for business from distributors, which typically have larger budgets and more willingness to invest in technologies such as iKeg.

There's little competition in the market at the moment. With Hershberger’s background in both technology and the beer industry, investors saw a lot of potential, said Douglas Conner, managing director at Periculum Advisors LLC in Carmel, which brokered the funding rounds.

“It is ambitious,” Conner said about the growth plan. “We also think the prize is big. Not moving quickly is almost criminal as well.”

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Excellent
    Great idea and a smart investment for the VC who took part in this funding effort.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT