A Fort Wayne-based startup, founded by a former Los Angeles lawyer, is gaining momentum. Gary Kaufman formed Targamite LLC, which produces computerized target training systems for the law enforcement and military sectors as well as commercial shooting ranges. The company has secured a $325,000 round of funding led by Elevate Ventures. Kaufman says the money will allow Targamite to hire additional workers and create an e-commerce platform.
April 7, 2014
Fort Wayne, Ind. — Targamite, LLC a privately held company announced today it has secured $325,000 in raised capital. The robotics company produces advanced tactical training platforms, including the world's first portable, computer-controlled target system – called the Targabot – with both predictable and unpredictable behavioral characteristics. Elevate Ventures led the round with $100,000 through the Indiana Angel Network Fund, a seed and early-stage co-investment program under the U.S. Department of Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative in partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
“We could not be happier! This initial round is a testament to our team, and our product. I am excited about what the future holds for Targamite.” said Gary Kaufman, founder and CEO of Targamite.
SEEKING A CHALLENGE
Kaufman, an attorney and serial entrepreneur from the Los Angeles area, had encountered a threatening situation a few years ago that drew him to the use of firearms for self-defense. Finding traditional static and installed target systems at the range to be less than challenging and effective for anticipating confrontations in the real world, he endeavored to find just that in the marketplace. “There was nothing,” Kaufman exclaimed, “so the entrepreneurial light bulb flashed on and I built my own.”
The Targabot system will primarily be marketed to the armed forces, law enforcement, commercial range, tactical training and elite shooter communities worldwide. However, the robotic target system can be purchased by any gun aficionado looking for a challenge.
The raised capital will be used, among other things, to hire several key positions including a national sales manager and production manager. In addition, the company will further develop its production platform and perform extensive R&D to develop options and accessories that will be paired with the Targabot.
WORLD CHAMPION ENDORSEMENT
Kaufman also announced a worldwide endorsement arrangement with renowned sharp shooter and world champion, Jerry Miculek. Miculek is widely considered to be the top competitive shooter who has ever lived and holds over 80 national titles and world records. He has long-standing sponsorship and endorsement deals with major manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson, Mossberg and Hornady, so this endorsement is an honor for Targamite. “Jerry put up a few videos on YouTube of him shooting at the bot and they are already generating sales,” said Kaufman, “we are very lucky.”
CHOOSING FORT WAYNE
The California native couldn't say enough nice things about his new home in Northeast Indiana, and the resources provided to him as a budding entrepreneur. After building his prototype, Kaufman came to Fort Wayne to work with Adaptive Micro-Ware, the world-class engineering firm with which he had worked on several projects in the past. Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to Robert Clark of Elevate Ventures by Scott Fergusson, the dean of the Ketner School of Business at Trine University, seeking local resource development counseling and eventually, capital.
“Starting a business in Fort Wayne was the best thing I did. With the help of Elevate Ventures and its investor network, my idea of a challenge at the shooting range is now a full-fledged business.” said Kaufman.
Source: Elevate Ventures