The next crop of enterprise-focused technology startups will be laser-focused on managing data, distributing contextually relevant content and promoting agility and access to both of these functions.
Last week, in the Citrix Executive Briefing Center, the Alchemist Accelerator unveiled 12 new or growing enterprise facing startups that were now open for investments. Alchemist Accelerator focuses on developing very early stage startups specifically targeted at the enterprise. Over half of Alchemist’s companies raise more than $500k before demo day, and the last demo day featured a 20:1 investor to company ratio (judging from this crowd, it was an even wider swing for class 8.) The class founders are typically very seasoned, technically brilliant – and as founder and managing director Ravi Belani puts it, “old enough to be wise, young enough to be dangerous.” It’s a great place to incubate and develop an enterprise-facing business. But you better do one of the following, or do nothing at all:
- Manage data: The troves of data created in enterprises is becoming increasingly fragmented. Businesses need solutions to store and access data in integrated ways.
- Distributed contextual content: Organizations struggle with finding/delivering the right information, at the right time, in the right format, to the right audience. The data is there. The content and services are catching up.
- Promote agility: Be fast or be dead.
10 out of the 12 startups fit at least two of these categories. One was a secure payments startup, and another was an industrial biotech startup doing things a few stratospheres over this author’s head. Stratospheres are a thing, right?.
Here are three Alchemist startups that really caught my attention:
28.io: Database Virtualization
Managed data, distributed content, agility.
Enterprises are stuck using fragmented data silos through cloud providers. There’s customer data, inventory data, log data, search data, reporting, analytics, CRM, session data, et. al – with different vendors supporting each. The 28.io team wrote a new query language (they call it JSoniq) that can combine data sources in their custom data warehouse and get answers efficiently. They’ve claimed to find the most efficient way to reduce database costs. Enterprise architects, data analysts, and even marketers rejoice. This could be game-changing for how customer information is broadcast through the organization and funneled through to engagement channels in real time (typically a laborious, fragmented process.) Roger Bamford, the lead designer of the Oracle database, is a co-founder in this company.
Scoro: Tableau for SMBs
Scoro provides a unified dashboard for SMBs to integrate existing business applications (everything from Salesforce to Google calendar, cloud storage, productivity tools, Enterprise Social Networks, etc.) and generate insights across platforms. With the sheer number of Saas apps exploding, the complexity in using these apps in concert only increases. A typical small or medium sized business wastes hundreds of hours jumping from application to application. They simply lack the data structure to accommodate app-to-app data, and therefore, insights. It’s a juggling process to get work done and see the whole picture, with the onus on the customer to make it work. Scoro is a control hub to access, distribute, and automate information across applications.
Retail Zipline: Slack for Retail
With omni channel, content localization, and mobility as new keys to retail success, retail stores sit in the stone ages of content and communication internally. The industry average for retail store compliance (HQ asking a store to do something, and the store, you know, doing it) is head-scratchingly low (research suggests it sits at around 29%). A 5% improvement across even one channel of specialty retailers results in billions of dollars of opportunity. Retail Zipline helps streamline HQ direction to the field in a way that’s targeted and with a real-time feedback loop to employees.
The rest of the graduating class:
Moengage: 1-stop shop for mobile marketing automation
Moengage does user level segmentation for mobile apps, and is the only app platform that tracks user attributions, actions, acquisition sources, segments, interest graph, user personas, and demographics. This gives marketers the power to choose right channel and message depending on use case.
47Line: Large scale data processing for enterprises
47Line and its feature product Batchly works on the premise of simplifying enterprise cloud access. Companies are generating more data than ever, while the window to process it and deliver context is shrinking to real-time.
Launch Darkly: Optimizely for features
This is a product management platform designed to help product managers optimize and manage features in mini-beta instead of being tied to big launches (that are often buggy or unsuccessful). This way, you can have more insight into how features (e.g., website content tweak, custom offer, ad, or more complicated like registration flows and recommendation engines) increase engagement, retention, and drive revenue.
Crowdcurity: oDesk for enterprise cloud security
Target, Home Depot, Adobe, ECB, NASA, Staples, Sony. What do they all have in common? Massive, business-transforming data security breaches in the last year. Crowdcurity has enlisted an army of crowdsourced data security enthusiasts (about 2,000 of them), and a network for businesses to submit applications to be vetted for potential holes.
Workhands: LinkedIn for welders.
Bringing blue collar industries (apprenticeships, in particular) from the dark ages into the technology age.
Cellabus: Mobile Device Management for Tweens
One in three K-12 students in the US has access to a school issued mobile device. The growth of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) being sold directly to schools has doubled year-over-year. In the same time period, digital content in K-12 only grew 2-7%. Edtech is hot, but we have yet to see a truly digital education revolution.
Carrum Health: eBay for bypass surgery
This company is building an innovative marketplace for planned surgeries, completely disrupting how healthcare is purchased, consumed, and delivered. It’s doing this by dis-intermediating the insurance company, the provider, and the employee.