iDAvatars winds down operations

Mequon startup seeking to sell its software

iDAvatars' Sophie avatar, which boasts such human characteristics as compassion, intelligence and humor.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm

Mequon-based health care software startup Intelligent Digital Avatars Inc. is winding down operations.

Norrie Daroga, CEO of iDAvatars

Founder Norrie Daroga, the only full-time employee still working at iDAvatars, is seeking to sell the company’s software and intellectual property, and has found a promising number of interested buyers nationwide. He plans to set up an auction in the near future.

“Our appetite for continued investment and keeping this going kind of came to an end,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in the technology and the concept that’s going to happen. It’s just pretty hard when you don’t have venture capital backing and you’re on your own.”

Founded in 2013, iDAvatars created intelligent digital avatars that could display compassion, empathy and a sense of humor. The “Sophie” avatar, for example, was used by several health care companies for virtual visits. And “Holly” discusses advance directives with patients. The software was built on IBM Watson’s framework using advanced technology such as natural language processing.

iDAvatars’ Sophie avatar, which boasts such human characteristics as compassion, intelligence and humor.

The most significant factor in the closure, Daroga said, was the loss of Blue Cross Blue Shield as a client, which was bringing in more than $1 million in revenue per year, after the chief executive officer and three executive team members retired.

In mid-January, the 10 employees at iDAvatars were laid off. That included the company’s Colorado office, which it gained with the acquisition of CodeBaby Corp. in 2016, when the firms also raised $2 million in operating capital.

iDAvatar’s had more than $1 million in revenue, and had grown at a 50 percent clip each of the past three years. In May, the company launched a new $2 million debt offering and moved from a 700-square-foot office to a 3,000-square-foot space.

“It was just one of those things where we said, you know what, we had a good run. We’ll see if somebody else wants to do it,” he said. “It’s hard; this was my baby.”

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