MaintainX's co-founders, CEO Chris Turlica and CTO Hugo Dozois-Caouette.

MaintainX Is Bringing a World-Class Productivity App to Frontline Professionals

MaintainX empowers operational teams to boost productivity and cut downtime by putting consumer-grade tools in the hands of frontline professionals.

8 min read December 6, 2023
Founder Stories Growth

While researching mobile enterprise data at Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners in 2018, Chris Turlica came across a stat that surprised him: 80% of the global workforce doesn’t work at a desk, but only 1% of software spending goes into mobile enterprise. “We were building the entirety of the Nasdaq for just 20% of the workforce,” he realized.

Chris studied software designed for manufacturing environments and observed that computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and similar tools had been around for decades but had hardly innovated in a generation. The vendors were highly fragmented, with separate tools for maintenance, safety and operations. The software often required trained specialists to use, limiting the utility across an organization. Far too many frontline professionals were keeping critically important data on clipboards. This data is then lost in filing cabinets.

At the time, we were already a decade into the age of smartphones. The workers walking around with clipboards had in their pockets a powerful computer with a camera. There was a clear opportunity to build a mobile-first platform that frontline workers could use to seamlessly log information in real time, replacing their clipboards.

Chris brought these ideas to Hugo Dozois-Caouette, with whom he had already founded and sold a messaging app called Voo. They built a prototype, initially a Google Docs and Slack hybrid for the factory floor, and it rapidly took off: MaintainX was born. By providing frontline workers with a consumer-grade user experience, MaintainX drove organic adoption and usage. For the first time, organizations could achieve real-time visibility into their operations across workers, assets and facilities.

Five years later, this value proposition has translated into stellar results: MaintainX has amassed more than 6,500 customers, 15 million processed work orders and 250 employees. And they are just getting started!

We are excited to announce that we are leading MaintainX’s $50 million Series C alongside our friends at Bessemer Venture Partners, Amity Ventures, August Capital and Ridge Ventures, as well as former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, Bain Capital Senior Advisor Steve Pagliuca, former Coupa Software Chair and CEO Rob Bernshteyn, former Gainsight COO Allison Pickens, Toast Chair and CEO Chris Comparato, and PagerDuty Chair and CEO Jennifer Tejada. This round brings MaintainX’s valuation to $1 billion.

MaintainX’s exceptional growth is fueled by several tailwinds, including evolving regulatory compliance demands, unpredictable supply chains post-pandemic, increased adoption of sensor-based technology in manufacturing and a post-pandemic boom in manufacturing. But most of all, end users love the platform because it makes them more efficient. The digitization of the manufacturing process and the industrial worker characterize the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is underway today.

Meet the Founders: Showing factories what they can learn from Fortnite

In 2015, Chris and Hugo had both left Canada and were living in a hacker house in San Francisco, where they decided to team up to build Voo, a company that built applications on top of existing chat platforms such as iMessage and Facebook Messenger.

After selling Voo to the small business platform Townsquared, they saw how their tech, now used by hourly workers at small- and medium-sized businesses, was sometimes going beyond its intended purpose — manufacturing plant workers would join and use the service to share images of clipboards and discuss what was on them. It was an observation that would later relate to Chris’s research on mobile enterprise data.

He and Hugo arrived at the same conclusion, Chris remembers: “If we can teach millions of teenagers how to build an entire island in Fortnite and Minecraft with absolutely zero training, then by God we can teach millions of industrial workers how to do real-time checklists on equipment with chat!”

After transitioning to MaintainX full-time, Chris and Hugo recruited additional co-founders: Nick Haase as head of go-to-market strategy and Mathieu Marengère-Gosselin as lead software engineer.

They took a product-led growth approach with the first version of their tool, bypassing IT to  target frontline workers directly – a move that was highly unusual for the CMMS industry. They believed that when their mobile app made supervisors and teams more productive, regional leadership would take notice and adopt the app, and organic growth within the company would continue from there. The approach quickly proved to be successful.

As Chris puts it, MaintainX helps users generate value not only through their physical labor, but through data collection and analysis, “allowing frontline workers to become knowledge workers.”

How It Works: Boosting productivity, whether running Duracell or fixing an HVAC

The MaintainX platform is built on two core principles:

  1. The product is intuitive for all users
  2. Features expand like an accordion

Let’s look at each more closely.

“Nobody wants to sit in a training room for a week, listening to people in ties with three-ring binders go through PowerPoint slides on how to use software,” Chris said. In order for MaintainX to drive value, frontline workers must actually use it. The platform needed to be easy to navigate for workers who aren’t habitual users of enterprise software.

The principles of simplicity and tailored functionality are pervasive throughout MaintainX’s user experience. The platform’s home page only shows activated modules to avoid cluttering the user’s screen, and its real-time chat interface and work order checklists are intuitive and familiar, unlike cumbersome legacy solutions.

A couple of examples illustrate the versatility of the platform, regardless of a facility’s size. If you’re operating a country club, you can access MaintainX on your phone or tablet and keep a limited set of modules active, to help with tasks like maintaining an HVAC. If you’re a plant supervisor at Duracell, an early customer, you will have a suite of modules active that will allow you to do things like search for parts, see what is in stock, and access inventory data without lag. Further, MaintainX offers native integrations with other platforms, such as SAP, allowing MaintainX to be integrated into core insights without disrupting pre-existing workflows.

MaintainX has customers across manufacturing, industrial, food and beverage, hospitality, clubs and associations, and property and facility management. MaintainX’s broad range of addressable verticals was enabled by its PLG go-to-market model as well as what Chris calls a “360-degree approach to work orchestration and work execution.”

The company’s large enterprise customers illustrate this point. “If you go to the CIO of these large companies,” Chris told us, “the biggest thing that they care about is, ‘How do we add hours of production capacity?’” MaintainX’s platform boosts capacity by increasing the time between equipment failures and decreasing the time for repairs, in addition to enhancing safety by digitizing safety walkthroughs for easy access and automating regulatory audits like OSHA and EPA.

Mark Bolen, VP of Quality and Engineering at Cintas, a large American manufacturer in the S&P 500, said MaintainX’s predictive capabilities have been especially beneficial, preventing downtime and predicting needs before they become expensive problems. In Mark’s words, MaintainX is enabling Cintas to “build a data foundation that we can take advantage of for many years to come.”    

What’s Next: Enhancing assets and facilities through data 

As MaintainX expands its user base, its vast operational dataset will become even more valuable.

For example, MaintainX recently released a batch of AI tools that leverage its dataset to create workflows, standard operating procedures and voice memos, as well as catch anomalies. Jack Windley, a plant manager at the industrial water treatment company USALCO, said these features are already helping his workers spend more time on critical work, rather than on data entry. Maintenance work becomes predictive and preventive rather than reactive. MaintainX’s utopia is to drive equipment downtime to zero.

MaintainX is also ending 2023 with the release of two new features: Asset Health, which identifies problematic assets as measured by downtime and cost, and Resource Planning, which illustrates how labor is balanced across teams.

Chris envisions a future in which MaintainX captures data from machines and workers in real time and intelligently surfaces the right insight to the right person at the right time. The stakeholders who could benefit from the data-driven insights range from regulators to plant managers to finance teams to equipment manufacturers. In Chris’s words, “Imagine a world where the data from machines and the work done on them is streamed back and insights are generated in real time. We want to create a world where the equipment and facilities that power our lives run at the utmost safety, reliability and sustainability.”

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