Wasserberger in driver's
seat at Intellext
January 31, 2005
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Chicago tech CEO Al
Wasserberger is back behind the wheel of a race car of a company.
Today, Intellext (previously Open Road Technologies) announces
Wasserberger, 37, is its new CEO.
is known for building tech companies and his participation in
Indy car racing. In July 1996, Wasserberger founded Spirian Technologies,
which automated software deployment to desktops and servers.
He sold the company
in October 2003 to San Antonio-based SecureInfo. Recently, Wasserberger
served as entrepreneur in residence at the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial
Center, where he volunteered advising local startups.
Now Wasserberger is
in the driver's seat at Intellext, a company sporting a disruptive
technology product called Watson, a high-octane search engine
incubated at Northwestern University's development lab. It's the
brain child of Intellext co-founders Jay Budzik and Northwestern
professor Kris Hammond.
is the hottest thing happening in how users interact with information
systems," Wasserberger says. He believes Watson has the same
potential to impact technology users as the Mosaic browser. Time
will tell if he's accurate, but his enthusiasm is obvious.
Watson sits on your
computer desktop observing your work. It automatically searches
the information sources you use -- e-mail, hard drives, search
engines, Web sites -- and delivers information before you ask.
It aims to put information at your fingertips more quickly and
efficiently. Hence the derivation of its name: "Watson, come
here. I need you."
"We have some
great science. We have some terrific development. Now we have
absolutely incredible business leadership in Al," says Hammond,
who also serves as director of Northwestern's development lab.
Investors include Motorola
Ventures, LaSalle Investments, Palomar Ventures, University Fund
and Northwestern University. To date the company has raised just
over $2 million. Another funding round is expected later this
Intellext plans to
locate its offices in downtown Chicago, according to Wasserberger.
"We're going to
be a kind of innovation that is new to the world and absolutely
new to Chicago," Hammond adds.
seek wellness record
Your child is brought to Children's Memorial Hospital for emergency
care. Can you provide the ER physician immediate access to your
child's medical history, including drug allergies? Probably not.
That would change if
a team of Chicago's top health care CIO's get their way. This
Thursday, a group of local CIOs convene at Rush University Medical
Center to develop a model for patient-directed data sharing across
our region. Their Personal Wellness Record (PWR) approach could
become a model for the nation.
Rush CIO Lac Tran,
Children's CIO Stan Krok and Rehabilitation Institute CIO Tim
McKula are leading the effort under the auspices of the Illinois
CIO Exchange, a local tech industry group. According to organizers,
more than 20 area hospitals and health care delivery organizations
"Today the information
is fractured across organizations," McKula says. "As
a patient, I don't have full insight. I have rights to get access
but it's not readily available. This provides an aggregate view
of all that information, and pushes it into the hands of the patient
allowing them to proactively manage and share it with others."
Adds Michael Flavich
of the Revere Group consulting, which is supporting the effort,
"This is an example of professionals taking charge of their
own destiny, creating the right solution, and not waiting for
the federal government to impose a solution from inside the beltway."
enjoy our high tech," says Mike Abt, 41, president of Abt
Electronics in Glenview. Abt says flat screen TVs, Apple products
and satellite radios are flying off the shelves.
Just back from the
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Abt predicts more stereo
receivers and car radios will become iPod compatible. "Companies
are building their devices around the iPod," Abt says.
Abt's family has a
unique perspective on Chicago's tech buying habits. They've been
purveyors of consumer technology since 1936 when his grandmother,
Jewel, and grandfather, David, launched their Logan Square store.
Today his father, Bob, 66, is CEO while brothers, Rick, 39; John,
37, and Billy, 35, serve as vice presidents.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.