Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds robots on the run and a new twist on a very old business.
First up this week is Insitu Group, which seem to have taken cues from Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick iRobot's (Nasdaq: IRBT ) business with its own brand of combat bots. Topping the list is Insitu's ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle, which acts as a sort of early warning system for soldiers on the ground and in harm's way. CEO Steve Sliwa told VentureWire in a recent interview that the vehicle, which has already seen 10,000 combat flight hours, is saving the lives of Marines in Iraq. "For a bunch of engineers, you can't get much better than that," he said.
iRobot knows the feeling. More than 300 of its PackBots have taken on dangerous battlefield tasks, including the detection and disposal of roadside bombs. And the company recently added retired general Paul Kern to its board of directors.
Insitu is trying to attract similar attention from the Pentagon, and now it may have the dollars to do so. This week, the company raised $23 million (links to a pdf file) from Battery Ventures and two earlier investors, Second Avenue Partners and Pteranodon Ventures. Explaining the rationale for the investment, Battery general partner Roger Lee told VentureWire that he expects the U.S. government to spend $50 billion on the ScanEagle. Could the PackBot earn similar demand from the top brass? Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
Next up is InnerWorkings, a print management firm that helps match publishers with printers and then accepts all the risk of filling orders. Frankly, I didn't know such a company existed. I had assumed that publishers worked directly with printers as they need to. That's true for many of the big houses, of course. But corporations are increasingly producing their own material via brochures, annual reports, and the like. And they are far less likely to have meaningful internal expertise in publishing. That's where InnerWorkings comes in.
It's a pretty good business, too. VentureWire reports that InnerWorkings booked $79 million in revenue working with the likes of Deere (NYSE: DE ) , ServiceMaster (NYSE: SVM ) , and Bombay (NYSE: BBA ) . The problem is that 46% of that amount came from InnerWorkings' top 10 clients. This week, only four months after receiving a $50 million cash infusion from venture firm New Enterprise Associates, the company filed for an initial public offering. The offering is expected to raise as much as $100 million. (Here's the prospectus.)
That's all for now. See you back here next Friday, when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
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Fool contributorTim Beyersdidn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.