HootBoard joins Ben Franklin TechVentures as its newest startup


A company that is looking to revolutionize the concept of electronic information kiosks has received a $100,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania and has moved into Ben Franklin’s TechVentures incubator in Bethlehem.

HootBoard is a software-as-service-based kiosk operating system that is designed to have a lower price point and be programmable and updatable by the company’s customers.

HootBoard is made up of Satyajeet Shahade, co-founder and CEO, and Jose Larin, co-founder and COO, who launched the company earlier this year after developing the concept for most of the past four years.

Shahade said traditional informational kiosks, which you can find in business lobbies, hotels and schools are often a customized product with hardware and software designed from scratch.

He said some models can cost between $20,000 and $30,000 and are time consuming to develop and set up.

He said the HootBoard is meant to be more user-friendly.

“You take it out of the box and 15 minutes later it’s up and running,” Shahade said.

Larin said it is also easy for the user to customize.

“Any organization can use it to put out content,” Larin said. “Hotels would be able to put up info on what’s taking place in the hotel, like activities. Universities can use them instead of billboards for student announcements.”

The developers describe the HootBoard as looking like a large smart phone. The average size is 49 inches and the board can be floor standing or wall mounted.

They noted that the hardware comes from partners, HootBoard handles the software end of it.

The software service costs $1,200 per year and then scales from there depending on the number and size of the hardware displays the customer wants.

There are already companies using HootBoard.

One customer is DHL, which uses the boards for employee engagement.

“A lot of their employees don’t have a desk. They can have a hard time communicating employee announcements to them,” said Shahade. The HootBoard provides that information in a convenient space.

He said GE is another customer and HootBoards have already have found homes in a number of government agencies, hotels and schools.

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