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Welcome Acceleprise Class 5

Welcome to Acceleprise – Class 5!

Not even a snow storm can stop us! Class 5 starts today here at Acceleprise Venture Capital and we thought we would take a brief moment to introduce you to our venture class:

 

Vero Analytics takes all the pain out of querying disparate datasources with an intuitive drag n’ drop interface and a learning engine that gets smarter with user interaction. Collaborating with other analysts within an organization becomes as easy as using dropbox! This means consistent metrics across the org, unlocking of data silo’s, and hours saved in data acquisition and reconciliation.

 

v2 Ratings is a next-generation investment ratings agency.  We use big data, classical financial analysis, and modern machine learning to provide investment ratings that balance expected risks and returns.  We offer premium subscription services for institutional investment managers and free services for individual investors.  Subscriptions are available through our website and a programmable API.

 

BreadCrumbTracking.com provides tools that make managing mobile workers easier. Mobile workers can “”clock in”" and “”clock out”" from their cell phones at the start and end of each workday. Managers can create hours-worked reports for simplified payroll. While “”clocked in”", mobile workers’ whereabouts throughout the day can also be viewed at-a-glance using proprietary technology. Information about jobs, such as work orders and progress updates, can be communicated back and worth between mobile workers and managers with tools that make communication easier and more effective.

 

Time and date-stamped pictures can be taken to protect companies from liability and delight stakeholders. Dispatch features allow managers to see who the closest worker is when a job comes up “”on-the-fly”". Additional proprietary features are currently in development.

 

BreadCrumbTracking.com allows mobile workforces to be managed in a way that is quick, profitable and affordable. Managers can be setup in 2 minutes with a free 30-day trial. Mobile workers can download the free app on their mobile phones.

 

Capitol Bells is the app used by Congress to track and lobby Congress.

 

Bonsai AI provides tools that enable small businesses, enterprises, and researchers to utilize artificial intelligence technologies.  With an initial focus on natural language processing, adaptive learning, and knowledge acquisition, companies are utilizing Bonsai AI’s tools to create interactive spoken user interfaces for cars, educational games for tablets, and more.

 

EventKloud is a turn-key event marketing automation & tracking tool. Our technology will supercharge & streamline your event marketing process while giving you real-time marketing intelligence in order to mold your content to fit your target audience.

 

Acceleforce’s SaaS platform revolutionizes the way sales forces are trained, managed, monitored and ranked. The platform perfects client facing sales activities by analyzing customer interactions, identifying patterns, bolstering strengths and eliminating weaknesses in order to create a highly effective and successful sales team.

Using deep data analytics and enhanced algorithms, its insights enable organizations to perfect both their face to face customer interaction process as well as their consultant training efforts, highlighting exactly where their sales consultants strengths and weaknesses lie on both an individual and team level, extracting a team-wide “sales success” formula.

Acceleforce’s largest traction to date has been in the pharmaceutical sector followed by significant interest being shown in the insurance industry.

Meet Class 3: Encore

Hashtags: you’ve probably seen them everywhere you go–on the subway, on billboards, on Facebook, at the stadium, and even on your favorite TV show. An increasing number of brands are trying to encourage customers to send a tweet or Instagram a photo using a specific hashtag, in hopes that they’ll be spreading the word about a product or experience to their personal networks.But why stop there? We at Encore think that there is a huge, untapped opportunity to utilize these photos, tweets, and posts for smarter marketing. That’s why we’re building a legally-compliant platform for marketers to collect, curate, and amplify this user-generated content (UGC). Imagine a restaurant using a photo a diner took of their delicious food and turning it into an ad; a sports team creating a wall of fan content to display on their home page; or a nonprofit incorporating photos attendees at a gala took into their next e-newsletter.In a marketing world where bloggers and social managers pull their hair out generating new content every day, tapping into UGC means there’s a constant library of authentic customer stories ready to access. Additionally, it’s a revival of the age-old power of social proof and testimonials. The results are profound: we’ve seen the brands who have taken advantage of UGC increase brand loyalty, time of engagement, and sales.Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done, but we’re doing our best to build a simple platform that can help marketers understand how to better engage this consumer content. 

At Encore, we’re a lean team of three: James, a recent grad of Georgetown University, takes on business development and sales. Felipe, an experienced developer from Brazil, is building the platform; he’s come to DC just to be in the thick of things at Acceleprise. And Tammy, still a rising sophomore at Georgetown, leads our UI/UX and all marketing design. The best part is that, with our smartphones and social media profiles, we’re active participants in this revolution every single day.

We’ve spent the past couple of months talking to as many marketers as we can, trying to understand what the frustrations and opportunities around UGC are. We can see that repurposing UGC is definitely a direction that digital marketing is headed, but few people understand the workflow or expected returns. And luckily for us, some findings have emerged as well: for example, we’ve heard that companies are increasingly concerned that other tools in the market do not properly secure permission from customers for their content, which exposes them to huge legal risks. It’s something we are making core to our platform. Obviously, part of the process is hearing the harsh truth about features that we once thought were integral, but aren’t viewed as so from the eyes of our customers.

We’re incredibly excited for August, where our key priority is finding more brands to pilot our platform and give us live feedback on how we can provide more value. We’ve moved quickly so far–a brand new platform and more than a dozen customers in six weeks–but we’re pulling extra hours on nights and weekends because there’s so much more to do and understand.

We’ll be back with more updates, but meanwhile, we post insights and case studies weekly on how to engage connected consumers on our blog. We’d love to hear what you think on our Facebook page and Twitter @Encore. Thank you for all of your support!

-Felipe, Tammy, and James at Team Encore

 

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol,

When you hear the word ‘innovation’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, the word ‘change’ appears. Per Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions for ‘change’ is to make radically different. Another is to give a different position, course, or direction to. Almost all systems, processes, and methods have the potential to become more efficient with a little ingenuity, innovation, and change. In short, this is how Foodem began.

I simply saw and experienced first-hand an industry that needed a major change; the wholesale food distribution industry.

My first experience came after graduating from University of Maryland, College Park in 2000. I ran a small B2B food distribution company for a few years and grew it quite successfully. While winning commercial kitchen accounts came with a level of ease, restaurants were a different beast. Overall, we had nearly 220 accounts, but it was extremely difficult to get business from restaurants. This led me to rely heavily on sales consultants, which was not financially feasible in the long-term. Of course, the more sales consultants I was able to have in the field, the more accounts we were able to acquire, but we didn’t have the liquid cash to hire a huge sales force. This made competing with food distribution giants, Sysco and US Foods, a task within itself. They have what seems to be endless cash, resulting in a massive sales team that’s able to capture over 60% of the market in any given metropolitan area.

In turn, I began talking with other small food distributors, inquiring about their frustrations, growing our businesses, and competing with the likes of Sysco. By the end of my stint running the company, the wheels started turning. I began brainstorming ideas and searching for solutions that would alleviate or even eliminate some of the hardships I, as well as other small to mid-size distributors suffered. I wanted to find or create a disruptive solution that would help distributors effectively grow their business without the added overhead of a large sales force. This is when the initial concept of an e-commerce food distribution marketplace began to take shape; what is now Foodem.

It was evident that distributors were in need of tools to help them compete with larger distributors, increase their market share, and become or remain relevant in a highly competitive industry, but I still needed validation. Before moving forward with my business concept, I needed to know how restaurants operated and what their most pertinent needs were. After all, wholesale food buyers were the other component. In order to fully experience the other side of the food supply chain, I bought a restaurant, which soon presented a different set of struggles.

To my surprise, restaurant operations were completely antiqued, as well as flawed. Everything was done manually; yes, paper, pen, phone calls, and faxes. Due to the lack of price transparency, wholesale food buyers such as myself, were forced to set aside time to prepare written food orders and call multiple distributors, from multiple categories to price compare or wait for faxed price sheets. Not only was this highly inefficient, it was also very costly in time and money. On average, I was spending nearly 15 hours per month on procurement alone, further letting me know the wholesale food industry was ripe for an innovative change.

Having seen both sides of the spectrum, I was confident in pursuing my idea. I envisioned Foodem as the Amazon.com of the wholesale food industry; a marketplace that would facilitate relationships and connect wholesale food buyers, and smaller food distributors and growers. A marketplace that has the potential to lower the overhead costs for smaller distributors and growers, as far as sales and marketing costs are concerned, and expand their market reach. On the flip-side, restaurants, catering companies, hotels, and other wholesale food buyers would spend less time placing orders and more time running their businesses. Price transparency, food cost analytics and in-depth search capabilities in one centralized location would be of the utmost importance, saving both time and money.

Now live in the Washington, DC Metro area, the Foodem marketplace was four years in the making. Growing rapidly, we launched the second version of the website in May, 2013 which also supports the growing demand for local and sustainably-farmed food by connecting local farmers, in addition to food distributors, with wholesale buyers.

My unique professional experiences allowed me to walk the path of both a food buyer and distributor; giving me the chance to observe the needs of the industry from both perspectives, but with any startup or existing business, there are challenges. The Foodem team had its share of startup stumbling blocks including limited industry contacts, marketing barriers, compiling a diverse tech team, and the task of raising capital and bootstrapping.

Starting a business is no easy feat and we could all use a little help along the way. My personal advice to young entrepreneurs is to 1) brainstorm an idea or product that can be bootstrapped, allowing time for the product/model to be proven 2) know your target audience, seek users for your product, and build a following 3) only seek funds after your model has been proven and buzz worthy and 4) compile a great team with complementary, yet diverse skill sets. Lastly, PASSION is something that I feel very strongly about. Entrepreneurs must be passionate about their idea and their concept. Without passion, why do it in the first place?

To learn more about the Foodem marketplace, take a moment to view our eCommerical and visit the Foodem website.

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Kash Rehman
Founder & CEO of Foodem.com

 

After you leave college or graduate school, learning is no longer scheduled. You have to take the initiative to create your own learning program to continue to develop yourself and your team. This is my story.

When I graduated from college there were three things I was certain of:

1) I would not continue on a path toward a graduate degree.

2) My education was not even close to complete.

3) The internet would continue to evolve and transform the way we learn.

UntitledLet’s back up a minute. My freshman year of college was the year that Facebook expanded outside of Harvard to other colleges, I saw the rise of the “social media guru,” and by my senior year I had already seen a young crop of Web 2.0 startups succeed or fail.

Untitled.png 2By far, the most compelling opportunities to me were in the Ed Tech space and as such I took a job at Blackboard. I began coming across several nascent startups like Udemy, and seeing the growing success of Khan Academy was a breath of fresh air. It hit me that I should get some of the like-minded individuals I was meeting in the same room to learn, share, and grow together.

I decided to create my own monthly program featuring a mix of peer-to-peer sessions on topics like Ruby on Rails for beginners and invited an eclectic group of guest speakers to cover topics as diverse as angel investing, reading body language, negotiation, game theory and strategy.

It was on a “field trip” to meet the CEO of The Motley Fool where I had a minor epiphany. We met Buck Hartzell, the then “Chief Learning Officer” at the Fool (donning a bald eagle T-shirt), who talked to us about the value of bringing in top-CEO’s and thinkers in a monthly series. He got paid to do what I was doing. I knew then that wherever my career took me, I would strive to own the “Chief Learning Officer” mentality (and one day get a bald-eagle t-shirt).

Untitled.png 3Today as a CMO of iStrategyLabs, I’ve helped put together what we call “Battle School” (thank you Ender’s Game) – to share knowledge, cultivate talent, and grow both personally and professionally. It’s comprised of both internal classes that cross-pollinate our design, dev, strategy, and ops teams, as well as outside guests to cover things like architectural design, photography, space exploration, and even personal finance. They are short sessions (typically 60-90 min max), and all recorded for those that can’t attend.

Couple the structured internal peer-to-peer sessions with providing the opportunity for online learning platforms/courses – and we’re creating our own in-house University for our 30-person company. No matter what title you actually have, it’s now easier than ever to become your own company’s Chief Learning Officer.

DJ Saul CMO of iStrategyLabs and Mentor at Acceleprise

DJ Saul
CMO of iStrategyLabs and Mentor at Acceleprise

“PBworks for Startups” Program gives high-potential startups premium licenses to PBworks collaboration suite

SAN MATEO, Calif.–()–PBworks, a leading provider of online team collaboration solutions for business and education, today announced the official launch of its “PBworks for Startups” program, starting with startup accelerators TechStars, 500 Startups, Acceleprise, DreamIT, and Lemnos Labs. Under the terms of the program, any startup that enters one of the participating accelerators receives a free, permanent, premium license to the PBworks collaboration suite.

Startups that join the program can claim a perpetual “Starter Pack” license, which can accommodate up to 20 users. The PBworks suite includes a broad set of integrated collaboration features, such as project management, file sharing, wiki collaboration, and social software. The Starter Pack lets a participating startup create an unlimited number of projects, intranets, extranets, knowledge bases, and wikis, and store up to 100 GB of files.

Startups that aren’t part of a participating accelerator can still claim most of the benefits of the “PBworks for Startups” program by signing up for PBworks’ recently launched project management software, Project Hub (http://www.getprojecthub.com) instead. Project Hub is a truly free alternative to Basecamp that doesn’t impose a time-limited trial.

“We discovered that a number of our best customers came from high-growth startups that adopted us when they were still in the proverbial garage,” said Jim Groff, CEO of PBworks. “Those startups developed into market leaders or were acquired by market leaders, and became great customers. Working with top accelerators lets us plant a seed at some of the highest-potential startups in the world.”

“To succeed, startups have to maximize their productivity,” said Collin Gutman, Partner at Acceleprise, the Enterprise Technology Accelerator. “PBworks can help them get more done, and improve collaboration with remote teams.”

Startup Accelerators that wish to join the PBworks for Startups programs should contact accelerators@pbworks.com.

About PBworks

PBworks is the world’s leading provider of hosted collaboration solutions for businesses and education. Leading companies and organizations like Interbrand, DePaul University, and the FDA choose PBworks to help teams work more effectively across geographic and organizational boundaries, including teams that span employees, customers, partners, and vendors.

PBworks is a trademark of PBworks, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

PB Works official logo

Contact: Chris Yeh, chris.yeh@pbworks.com

Now is the time for “mobile-first” real estate technologies.

Real estate is a $1 trillion asset class, second largest to corporate debt and ahead of equity.  In addition, there are millions of professional employed in the real estate industry: 2.8 million agents and 500,000 construction professionals as well as 120 million commercial and multi-family properties managed.  Nearly all of these professionals are using overly complicated technology that is 10 to 20 years old.

One reason the real estate industry has been slow to adopt technology is the average age of a realtor is 57 years old, which is higher than many other industries.  Another reason is because many professionals in real-estate are non-desk workers so desktop computer software has always been inconvenient.

In 2013, this is finally starting to change, because most real estate professionals own mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. In fact, the global smartphone plus tablet installed base has recently surpassed the installed base of the PC.

Thus, developers are building real estate software specifically optimized for these devices, which are location aware, easy to use for a historically low-tech audience, and capable of solving problems that were cost prohibitive in the past.  With the advent of mobile solutions many real estate professionals now have business productivity applications available while they are out and about, allowing them to act in real-time, especially as many of their prospective tenants are leveraging mobile devices to do real-time property searches.

As a firm, we have been analyzing this emerging sector of mobile real estate technology, and we have seen four categories of mobile companies emerge over the last several years. First, agents now have solutions available to manage transactions, documents, tasks, and business relationships such as Cartavi, dotloop, Skyslope, TenEight, SmarterAgent, PropertyCapsule, TouchCMA, and Reesio.  Second, construction professionals now have solutions for communication, scheduling, progress reports, blueprints, and task management such as PlanGrid and FieldLens.  Third, property managers can perform inspections more easily with Happy Inspector and Inspect2Go.  Finally, hotels can manage operational staff and guest relations with solutions such as StayNTouch and PurpleCloud Technologies.

What does this mean for the established real estate technology players?

They will need to build, buy, or partner to stay relevant to their buyers who are increasingly adopting mobile technologies.  Cartavi, a mobile document management company, was in business for less than two years when it was snapped up by DocuSign.  Meanwhile, three established players bought point solutions for mobile leasing: MRI Software purchased VaultWare, Property Solutions purchased SiteTablet, and RealPage purchased LeaseStar.   Appfolio and Yardi have built mobile property management solutions, while in the construction space, Procore, Sage, and Viewpoint have started talking about their mobile offerings.

I have been excited to learn about all of the new mobile technology for real estate — the early signs are promising and I can’t wait to see where we are in several years.  The time has finally come!

 

Sean Jacobsohn Venture Partner with Emergence Capital Partners

Sean Jacobsohn
Venture Partner with Emergence Capital Partners

http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/05/now-is-the-time-to-invest-in-mobile-first-real-estate-tech/

I recently had dinner with four IT security experts from a Fortune 100 conglomerate to discuss BYOD, and I anticipated spending the night talking about security holes and the deep intricacies of securing complex systems. But the conversation took a completely different direction than what I expected.

As we dined, their security architect harped on the importance of user experience. After being burnt by vendors that delivered a stodgy user experience and enduring the consequential employee backlash, those around the table expressed the need for a hybrid IT approach that would delight employees and help drive mobile technology throughout their company. Security remains a staple for these modern IT security directors, but the steady flow of employees’ new technologies has changed their outlook.

Before the mega trend of IT consumerization, consumers were only exposed to the latest and greatest technology at work. There was a level of sophistication that limited the technology conversation to the CTO and IT security director.

Today, consumers have the newest technologies in their back pockets, and the competition for their buying power is propelling technology innovation at a rate that has never before been seen. With innovation happening too fast for businesses to keep up, enterprise IT has reached the tipping point — they must now include employees in their technology discussions and decisions.

With a litany of personal experiences using technology in everyday life, the modern tech-savvy employee already has an idea of how he or she should be able to conduct business at work. People want to use the tools that offer them the best user experience, and they won’t settle for mediocre solutions when they know better technology is available. Executives have begun to see a push back in mobile; employees veto the idea that their entire work device should be managed by the enterprise, and they reject that they must use a device chosen by management with a subpar experience.

Consumers are not the only ones challenging the traditional approach to enterprise IT. Next-generation IT experts have grown up with technology and they see prescriptive IT as being ill-fitted for today’s modern enterprise. The status quo is crumbling under growing pressure from employees, and observant executives are keenly aware.

But the consumerization of IT and this shift in enterprise IT hasn’t made the CTO position obsolete; the trend has just reinvented it. There are still great stakes in keeping the enterprise and its data secure. Today’s CTO must keep those timeless priorities in mind when selecting technology with high-quality user experiences. Since the quality of UX correlates with a workforce’s productivity, a CTO’s ability to select technology with excellent UX has become a performance indicator; if a CTO chooses a technology that isn’t positively accepted by employees, it is considered a failure.

A successful balance is one that includes input from the workforce but keeps leadership intact; the CTO shouldn’t make decisions in a vacuum, and the employee shouldn’t take over decision-making.

With technology’s exponential rate of development, there will always be new platforms and devices emerging. A successful strategy keeps enterprise IT leaders in touch with the technologies used by their employees and encourages employees to point leadership to vendors that develop agile and secure solutions with great user experiences. Enterprises who succeed in this evolution will see big productivity gains and will be rewarded with a competitive advantage over their peers.

Andrew Toy
CEO of Enterproid and Mentor at Acceleprise

The Enterprise Entrepreneurship Challenge

Acceleprise is launching the Enterprise Entrepreneurship Challenge with StartupAmerica and TheNextWeb, an opportunity for innovators to showcase their idea and compete for a spot in the first independent accelerator focused on enterprise technology.  The challenge is simple.  Early stage startups in the enterprise space submit a short video explaining their concept.  People vote on their favorite entry on the Acceleprise site.  Judges consider a shortlist including the top vote getter, and the results are announced on June 15th on TheNextWeb.

About Acceleprise

At stake is a spot in the inaugural class of Acceleprise, an accelerator program that connects companies working to solve enterprise problems with the mentors, partners and customers they need to succeed.  Companies in the accelerator receive a $30,000 investment along with over $150,000 in perks like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and legal services from Goodwin Procter.

In addition to seed funding and perks, companies will benefit from a strong mentor team, including Katharine Weymouth, CEO of Washington Post Media, Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and Representative Jared Polis.  Companies will also have access to customer panels with large enterprises such as Microsoft and the Washington Post Company and demo days with top VC’s and angels from across the United States.

Acceleprise will invest in over sixty companies over the next three years, focusing on building web based software to solve the problems of large organizations.  The accelerator is founded and anchored by investor and entrepreneur Sean Glass and located in Washington, DC.

Competition Details

Companies can enter the competition through the StartupAmerica web portal.   Submissions are accepted until June 7th and finalists will be announced on June 11th.  The company with the most votes will automatically become a finalist, along with four other companies chosen by judges.  From these five finalists, the judges will choose a winner, who will be offered a spot in the inaugural class of Acceleprise.

Competition Partners

The competition is hosted by Acceleprise and Startup America, a national movement of thousands of founders, experts and resources that provides startups access to the corporations, investors and services they need to grow.  Partners include TheNextWeb, one of the world’s largest online publications, and Wizehize, a collaboration platform which allows groups to share conversations, notes, tasks and other information in secure, private workspaces.

For more information, visit acceleprise.vc/startupamerica.

 

Acceleprise launches as the first independent accelerator focused solely on enterprise technology in the United States.  It will invest in over 60 enterprise software companies over three years. The program will focus on companies trying to solve problems for some of the world’s larger organizations (ranging from the Fortune 5000 to large nonprofits and governments), connecting them with mentors, partners, and customers. Each company will receive $30,000 and be brought to the Acceleprise HQ for four months. The first class will begin July 15, 2012.

The program will be focused on building the preeminent community for enterprise technologists. From enterprise tech focused VCs, to customers, and mentors, Acceleprise is a community-driven accelerator. Each portfolio company will have access to Acceleprise’s “customer panel” program. These panels are comprised of large enterprises that have agreed to take sales meetings with each of portfolio company. Customer panel members will include Microsoft, The Washington Post Company, and others.

Vijay Ravindran, Chief Digital Officer of the Washington Post Company, said, “Enterprise technology helps large organizations solve problems in a scalable, efficient manner. In the last few years, we’ve seen innovative technology emerge out of the enterprise software space, yet the venture community is just starting to take notice. We’re excited about working with Acceleprise to help enterprise technology entrepreneurs get the resources they need and build bigger companies, faster.”

The accelerator will include a vast network of mentors including Scott Case, CEO of Startup America, Vijay Ravindran, the Chief Digital Officer of The Washington Post Company, and Jonathan Bulkeley, former CEO of BarnesandNoble.com.

Scott Case said, “Startups in every market across the country need the support and network density necessary to grow their businesses. Acceleprise will be a fantastic resource for startups focused on enterprise technology and we’re excited to have them on board as an affiliate.”

Acceleprise will be based in Washington, DC, home of the federal government (the largest enterprise customer, the home to the majority of trade associations crucial to enterprise distribution, and a major hub for enterprise software with companies such as Microstrategy and Blackboard. Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington, said that, “With over 2,000 technology companies, world-class universities, and a growing number of accelerators and incubators, Washington DC is bursting with entrepreneurial activity. As an international center for governments, non-profits, and associations, the District is a particularly attractive place for the enterprise software entrepreneurs that Acceleprise will assist.”

Microsoft BizSpark Plus Network Partner
In addition, Acceleprise is also announcing that it is joining the Microsoft BizSpark Plus program as a Network Partner. This allows Acceleprise startups to leverage the Windows Azure cloud development environment, including development tools, processing and storage resources, and more, worth up to $60,000 per startup at no charge over a two year period. BizSpark Plus will be making other high-value offers available to network partners over time.

“We are very supportive of Acceleprise’s focus on startups building enterprise solutions, and see this as a crucial but sometimes overlooked market segment for startups and investors,” said Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president, Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft. “Access to an enterprise class cloud platform like Windows Azure through the BizSpark Plus program should prove very valuable to startups seeking to meet the needs of this class of customer.”