Synercon Technologies’ Forensic Link Adapter improves crash data recovery
TULSA, Okla. — Synercon Technologies, LLC, was founded in August 2013, by Dr. Jeremy Daily. Daily is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tulsa and a widely recognized export in traffic crash reconstruction. Daily and his team of founders transitioned the technology developed at TU under a federal cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Justice.
The technology, called a Forensic Link Adapter, extracts heavy vehicle crash data from the vehicle’s engine control module (ECM) in both a forensically sound and more efficient way than existing methods. With the help of i2E and its Immersion Program, Synercon underwent a development stage to lay a strategic foundation fora high growth opportunity.
Where are you in the company lifecycle; do you have a working product and customers?
A couple things happened at the same time. We started generating revenue with the Forensic Link Adapter, but didn’t have its development completely finalized. So it took us essentially a year of additional development to where we had what I consider product stabilization. So now we are selling. We have, I think, 23 different entities as customers. Our gross sales are decent. But our expenses exceeded our revenue this past year, so we had a loss on the books. This year it’s all about sales. It’s developing the sales force, the contacts, the leads, executing sales on the grant cycles of state governments and highway patrols, as well as to private businesses.
What major milestones have you accomplished?
I would have to say product stabilization.
What do you mean by product stabilization?
If you think of the early days of cars, the horseless carriage came along and there were a whole lot of variations and iterations, and finally everybody kind of converged on four wheels with an internal combustion engine. So we are to that point and have all the major functions working the way they should. Now it’s just a matter of adding support for the rest. The way we are doing it is we are transitioning from a hardware company to a software company. Because the hardware is stabilized, we can update remotely all the software.
Another milestone is that we were able to perform some crash tests through the university and demonstrate the superiority of our device in front of an audience of 200 crash investigators. So that was exciting. We’ve also engaged in a little bit of consulting work, and we did some specialty downloads. The goal of Synercon is to help people get data from engine control modules in heavy trucks. Sometimes our customers just ask, ‘if I ship you an ECM can you get the data?’ And I say “yes”. So we will charge for what I call a downloading service.
What has been the biggest obstacle to growing a successful company?
There are management challenges, allocating time and resources to different projects. And there is an old software protocol that many trucks and buses use called J-1708. It was written by the society of automotive engineers back in the ‘80s. And we ended up using an approach to build our hardware that made developing the driver for the software for that protocol challenging. So it took us over a year; we basically had to learn how to do it ourselves. The frustrating part is this was ‘80s vintage technology, and we were struggling with it 35 years later. But we did it. We got that fixed, so we got that technical milestone, or hurdle, cleared.
Who are you targeting with your business?
We consider our beachhead market law enforcement and private investigators. The private investigators are often hired by insurance adjusters. The other areas that are on the radar for this year are the fleets and their managers. They are similar to private investigators, but they are not. They work full-time for their companies, and they do a lot of other things, too.
How have you reached out to your customers?
So far it’s word-of-mouth and that’s one of the things we have to change. We’ve got to make a concerted effort to make contact with decision-makers. We use trade shows right now to get the word out that we exist. But reaching the end users in the all the different states is this year’s goal. We are still passionate about getting to the truth behind these truck crashes with digital data.