Digital pen-and-paper maker Adapx has received an undisclosed strategic investment from In-Q-Tel, the independent investment firm founded by the Central Intelligence Agency. The purpose of the funding, says Adapx chief executive Ken Schneider, is to increase usage of Adapx’s Capturx platform (pronounced “adapts” and “captures,” respectively) in the CIA and the intelligence community in general.

Even as more documents move into the digital realm, there are still situations when you need good old pen-and-paper. For example, you probably don’t want to drag out your tablet PC when it’s raining. That’s where Adapx comes in — using the Seattle startup’s pen, you take notes as you normally would with pen and paper, but the writing is recorded with a digital camera. Users can later import their notes into Microsoft Office OneNote (documents for tablet PCs), AutoCAD (architecture) and ArcGIS (mapping).

In my small-town newspaper days, I would have loved to get my hands on something like Adapx. Now that I’m at VentureBeat, I do less all-weather reporting, but I still have plenty of notebooks filled with my indecipherable scrawls, and it’d be great to digitize them.

Adapx offers a product for consumers, but Schneider says the company focuses on selling to other companies and to government agencies, where Capturx could be a boon for field work. (Competitor LiveScribe is more focused on building a fancy pen — it records audio as you write — than on software, and more on consumers than enterprise sales.) Adapx has landed around 300 customers so far, including a number in the government, but the In-Q-Tel investment should lead to more growth in that sector.

Schneider says Adapx will continue to focus on its established “beachheads,” as well as add more compatibility with different kinds of forms. The company raised a $10 million first round in December, and plans to raise a full second round in the last quarter of 2008.

You can watch video demos of Capturx here.


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