There’s something really unique about startups. The culture is different. The goals are different. The work is different. The solutions are different. It can definitely be a struggle to turn a big idea into a thriving business, but the ones that do say that the challenge is in itself part of the reward.
Microsoft provides a nurturing environment for businesses just starting out and is uniquely equipped to support the tech startup community at every stage of their journey. Microsoft for Startups expands their market potential and helps them leverage Microsoft’s cloud services to build and deploy the trusted, intelligent apps of tomorrow.
Here are a few stories of startup struggle and success from within our very own Microsoft partner ecosystem.
Coralogix: Improving Software Delivery and Maintenance
Coralogix, established in Israel in 2014, is a log analytics SaaS platform that aims to improve the delivery and maintenance process for software providers. Using machine learning and big data, the startup helps businesses reduce issue resolution time, increase system uptime, reduce maintenance costs, and improve overall customer satisfaction. Their target market crosses several industries, from gaming to data analytics and web applications. With key customers like AGS, New Relic, AppsFlyer, EatWith, Zerto, Iron Source, and Plarium, they provide a unique solution to address pain points of production engineers, DEVOP, and QA departments.
According to Founder and CEO, Guy Kroupp, Coralogix is the only solution to automatically understand software behavior and provide targeted insights on the component and machine level.
“Our solution saves our customers time both in understanding that they have a problem in their production and in fixing their problems. By tying up our unique insights into the software delivery process, Coralogix accelerates continuous delivery and assures its quality.”
– Guy Kroupp, Founder and CEO of Coralogix
Inspired by the frustration and expense stemming from the daily log data that accumulates at global companies, Coralogix aims to automatically extract valuable insights from the log & event data without the need to sift through millions of events manually. Coralogix runs on Azure using its Linux servers and network. In addition, Coralogix integrates to MS application delivery tools, such as TFS, MS build and .NET. With their sights set on the enterprise market, Coralogix plans to continue using the Azure hybrid and private stack to deploy hybrid solutions for customers looking for in-depth insights that allowed for quick problem-solving. Guy explained that the product consisted of 3 main aspects: the uniquely intelligent algorithm they created, their highly scalable and flexible big data infrastructure, and the simple but effective user interface.
Guy said that while growing a startup company from the ground up certainly had its challenges, Coralogix benefited greatly from their partnership with Microsoft. The exposure and support they received from the accelerator program were enough to secure Coralogix with a $3 million launchpad. He said that so long as you leverage the help Microsoft offers, participants of the accelerator program will skyrocket.
Sensoro: Connecting the Digital and the Physical
Sensoro is an industrial IoT tech company that delivers ultra-long-range IoT solutions with enhanced asset tracking, energy management, and environmental monitoring. Established in 2013, they grew to 95 employees in just 4 years and have offices in both the US and China. With the support of Microsoft and their investors who helped raise $10 million in round A of the program, Sensoro developed a hardware and software solution that can be delivered to a global market.
Sensoro CSO, Vivian Li, says that the idea for their startup was originally inspired by the difficulty of obtaining and working with offline data in the IoT space. This was especially true for apps that are being used to provide real-time details such as location and time. The use of beacon technology to send push notifications with real time customer data was a growing business opportunity, particularly in the retail space. However, the difficulty remained as beacons became more difficult to manage in a quickly expanding IoT space, as well as the heavy dependence on applications.
Sensoro’s Laura technologies provide sensor data that can be acquired within a 2 to 6-mile range, effectively managing all beacons within a target area. By using partners to deploy beacons for tracking, Sensoro’s IoT sensor network can make sense of humidity, temperature, and other data to track and evaluate environmental information to make data smart decisions such as improving energy consumption in buildings and so on.
The Sensoro IoT network solution is built on the Azure Hub, but it is their unique blend of intellectual property (IP) that makes their company stand out. Vivian says that the support Sensoro received from the Microsoft Accelerator program was invaluable. They are working out of the Microsoft Seattle Microsoft workspace and utilizing Azure training credits to help keep their talent up to date on the latest and greatest from the Azure stack.
“Microsoft created a very good platform for startups to grow, particularly the Azure Hub and Accelerator Program.”
– Vivian Li, CSO of Sensoro
Additionally, their partnership with Microsoft through the Accelerator program, helped Sensoro to become more involved in the Smart City projects to distribute IoT products to Chinese districts looking to promote the expansion of white space and provide solutions to governments in search of reliable IT infrastructure. From preventing wasteful energy consumption to saving lives during floods with early detection monitors, the IoT network created by the Sensoro start up is sure to make a difference in the global market.
Cognisess: Democratizing Human Capital
Chris Butt, CEO of predictive people analytics company Cognisess, says their mission is to better understand human talent and potential related to job performance, career progression and tasks people perform every day. The inspiration for Cognisess came from people being written off or judged too early in life, often using biased or out of date measures of performance like IQ or personality. Cognisess has created a predictive analytics tool which helps businesses predict future performance, retention, and the talent development needs of employees and candidates. Cognisess’ assessments, machine learning, and AI tools can turn hundreds of millions of data points into business insights: its team of neuroscientists, data scientists, software engineers, and psychologists are combined to democratize human capital.
Chris commented that across all industry sectors, companies struggle to find the right talent, and then keep staff engaged and motivated for the long term. “We know people are often poorly and subjectively assessed leading to bias and poor job fit. Cognisess’ software platform provides objective, data driven matching based on key attributes or job predictors – not the gender, age or background of an individual. People have great potential but often don’t know what it relates to.” The UK-based company, with partner offices in Europe, Australia, and Israel, provides a single platform to collect and analyze performance data – whether it be game-based assessment, appraisal or company KPIs, face and text analysis, or workforce data. Deep Learn is Cognisess’ solution for machine learning and an AI engine: it can calculate vast amounts of data across 8 performance areas and 100+ attributes. The solutions are simple and affordable for enterprises of all sizes leading to more successful job fit, improved staff performance, and employers being able to better predict future talent needs. The platform is built on Microsoft Azure and uses Microsoft’s Cognitive Services to underpin Deep Learn.
“The bottom line is that we’re trying to reinvent the way people are measured, assessed, and fit into the jobs and careers of tomorrow.”
– Chris Butt, CEO of Cognisess
As an early stage business, Chris says they took their time to build the platform including 40 assessments to help underpin and validate the science; this before they built out a UX strategy and business model. They’re now at the point of scaling the model and access to Microsoft’s eco-system, including integration with AppSource, will provide the opportunity. They raised over $900K during the Seed round and are working with customers such as IHG, VW, Babcock, Uber, and My Optique.
Agolo: The Science of Summarization
Sage Wohns is the CEO of Agolo, a natural language processing startup who excels at the science of summarization. The solution developed scans and aggregates public text and internal documents to create summaries in real-time. Agolo aims to increase productivity in the workplace, reduce information overload, and help professionals around the world focus on the key points that matter most.
Sage emphasized how critical this moment in time is for the success of artificial intelligence. There is an incredible amount of data available now, and the algorithms needed to harness that data have reached the appropriate level of maturity. The Agolo platform looks at both text and context to provide highly efficient and valuable summaries. For them, the key differentiator is their unique approach to AI, assembled around the largest data set of human written summaries in the world, and balanced by deep insight into the human brain.
“Now is really the right time for artificial intelligence systems.”
– Sage Wohns, CEO of Agolo
Sage explained that while media companies are their biggest customers, the pain point is a common one across industry boundaries. Agolo was built to create personalized content at scale, based on the audience or even the medium by which content was delivered. The platform is hosted on the Azure cloud and leverages tools such as HDInsight and Spark Streaming to accomplish this task. Sage said they are planning to expand their use of other Microsoft products to see what else their startup can achieve.
His advice to others looking to turn their own great idea into a business was to not reinvent the wheel. There is such a deep well of existing expertise that startups should seek to build on it.
“Startups are in a race of distribution against innovation,” he said. Don’t burden your idea by starting from square one.
For more amazing stories of business success, connect with the Microsoft Partner Network Community. Share your thoughts on today’s blog with other members.