Called to action by COVID, Sonicu reaps the rewards of a $6.5 million capital investment


Nick Tuttle is CEO of Sonicu, a developer of remote monitoring technology.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — When Nick Tuttle acquired his company — Sonicu — in 2012, he never would have guessed that the effects of a global pandemic would one day double the size of the grassroots company.

Yet that’s what happened when COVID-19 came to town, putting the Greenfield-based business in high demand.

The company’s high-tech monitoring systems were sought out to help keep COVID-19 vaccines at just the right temperature as they were transported and administered around the world.

Sonicu has also been tapped to monitor the air filtration within regional hospitals, including those within Hancock Health, Hendricks Regional Health, and the Indiana University Health Network.

“Our monitoring for hospitals has really skyrocketed,” said Tuttle earlier this month from his company’s headquarters in downtown Greenfield.

According to its website, Sonicu’s “wireless remote monitoring technology and cloud-based management platform fully automate 24/7 monitoring, alarming, and reporting for virtually any monitoring application required.”

The company’s services span the fields of health care, life sciences, pharmacy, manufacturing, food safety and industrial, with wireless sensors tracking conditions like sound, pressure, temperature and humidity.

In recent years, Sonicu has come out with new hardware and software platforms which Tuttle says provide more accessible monitoring with better connectivity than before.

From monitoring a single batch of vaccines to revamping an entire hospital’s ventilation system, Tuttle said it’s been an honor to play a role in supporting healthcare workers in the fight against COVID.

“Healthcare workers are overwhelmed as it is. By helping them monitor the temperature of the vaccines, for example, we help streamline their efficiency, giving them time to tend to other things. Our tech platform allows them to take better care of their patients,” he said.

Monitoring the airflow within hospitals also enables healthcare workers to better track and avoid the airborne virus.

“Monitoring air differentials has always been important for surgery rooms, but (due to COVID) we’re now checking the differentials throughout the hospital to protect the hospital workers and their families.”

It’s a fitting role for a company that essentially got its start in a hospital.

The business was founded in a humble garage in 2008 by Chris Smith, who developed the technology to monitor hospitalized infants when his own son was a patient in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.

“The combination of ‘son’ and ‘NICU’ is where the company got its name,” said Tuttle, who saw a lot of potential in the company’s framework.

While Sonicu has always had a strong relationship with both hospitals and healthcare companies, Tuttle said that COVID has impacted the business like never before.

“We’ve managed the temperatures of the vaccines from all three big pharmaceutical companies — Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna. All of them are temperature-controlled, and we were brought in to help keep the vaccines safe,” he said.

In November 2020, Sonicu joined forces with Protective Technologies Capital, a Chicago-based investment partner which invested $6.5 million into the company.

Tim Fries, co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital, said that Sonicu was a solid investment.

He and his business partner were both engineers before investing, “so we like to invest in best-in-class engineered systems, and we thought the team at Sonicu had really built a world-class technology,” he said. “They’ve got a team of really talented commercial and technical people.”

Fries likened Sonicu’s services to any other type of insurance.

“A lot of times you don’t think about needing insurance until something goes wrong, but if you’re a fertility clinic storing embryos and your freezer goes out, and you don’t have a system to alarm someone in time, that could be catastrophic,” he said. “We see an increasing need for technology that prevents bad things like this from happening.”

Since the investment company’s hefty infusion of capital in 2020, Tuttle said Sonicu has since nearly doubled the size of its workforce — from 20 to 37 — and enlarged its customer base.

“We now have 500 customers coast to coast,” said Tuttle, who envisions even more growth in the future.

“Our backers want us to have an overall valuation of over $100 million by the end of 2025, and I think we’ll hit that,” he said. “We have a lot of tailwinds at our back.”