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Companies to Watch
By Heather Stewart
June 5, 2014
Predicting the next big thing—the next WordPerfect or Café Rio—is not an easy task. But the following companies have seemingly gone from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye, and they are poised for even more explosive growth. Looking for tomorrow’s hottest technologies, newest tastes or strongest competitors? Keep an eye on these companies.
INCEPTION: SpinGo is an idea that was slightly ahead of its time. It was created to be more than just an event calendar—it’s what founder and CEO Kreg Peeler calls an “event engine.” SpinGo is an enormous database of events from communities across the country; the events are each tagged and categorized, enabling media companies to run the SpinGo interactive calendar application on their own websites.
When the application was originally launched in 2009, “we ran into an obstacle because a lot of media groups nationwide didn’t want to share content. They wanted to be our exclusive partners in their market,” says Peeler.
A few years later, things started to change. “In 2012, I met with a bunch of media companies again, and they started to say things like, ‘We really believe in collaborate content, and we believe in the power of social media.’ And I realized, you know, they’ve come around.”
SpinGo Solutions was re-launched in 2012 and quickly went nationwide.
INNOVATION: SpinGo amasses event content from all 50 states, and it syndicates that content to a calendar application that can be customized by each media partner. Instead of developing a simple event calendar, which Peeler says would just be more “noise” in an oversaturated media landscape, “we saw the real opportunity was to empower everybody else who already has an event calendar in one form or another, whether it was a newspaper site, a radio station, a blog or an app in the app store. … We simply license them the content and everything we have in our system.”
Looking into the future, the company is working on something Peeler calls “demand-alytics.”
“It’s a patented and trademarked business segment that we have, where we forecast the demand in a market ahead of time.”
Since SpinGo has aggregated all of the events in a community—from gallery openings to massive community festivals—it can predict when and where crowds are going to show up. “People may not know why they just had 20 people show up at their restaurant. You can start to predict when people are going to be out and what mindset they’re going to be in. We can really leverage that opportunity to combine a certain amount of local insight and intelligence to help marketers better position for the consumers.”
TRAJECTORY: In 2012, the company started with about 20 media groups on the platform. Now it has more than 1,000 partnerships, including the LA Times, New York Daily News, KSL and Utah.com. “We’ve been at it for less than 18 months,” says Peeler. “In the near term, we’ll continue to look for new partnerships. We have the goal of having more than 2,000 partners by the end of 2014.”
Monthly revenue for SpinGo has grown 30 times from January 2013 to December 2013, and monthly widget loads have grown from 1 million to 55 million. It processes an average of 170 events every hour of every day.
Peeler says the company is also “in discussions” with both Google and Yahoo. “It’s really just been a wild ride. We’re becoming known as the people who mapped the when of local.”
INCEPTION: InsideSales.com was co-founded by CEO David Elkington and President Kenneth Krogue in 2004 when the pair set out to develop what Elkington calls an “artificial intelligence learning platform.” Elkington was already a successful entrepreneur with two tech startups under his belt. Krogue, a co-founder of InContact, brought inside sales expertise to the partnership.
Today, the company provides a sales-acceleration platform that offers a potent mix of communications technology, gamification for sales motivation, predictive analytics and data visualization.
INNOVATION: InsideSales.com uses predictive analytics and data visualization to super charge sales teams for companies like ADP, Dell, Groupon and ETNA. The software platform actually assimilates data from every sales interaction in every client company, to the benefit of them all.
“The learning platform is a crowd-sourcing platform, so everybody gets better with every sales interaction,” says Elkington. “As they use the technology, we aggregate all of their statistical and profile information into a big data system. We then have artificial intelligence algorithms that mine that data, and then they push the results back out to the clients in a real-time way. So every sales interaction on our platform is getting smarter and more sophisticated.”