Friday Sep 27, 2013 by Dennis Keohane - Staff Writer, VentureFizz
There were a lot of under-the-radar happenings this week in the Boston tech scene. Here are a few of the stories that you may have missed.
Shereen Shermak's New Venture
Shereen Shermak, a Boston angel investor (who also happens to be married to PayPal's David Chang, who we wrote about earlier this week), just unveiled her new project, LaunchAngels.
The company will be involved in crowd-funding for angel investors. The project will allow those who want to invest in startups, but who may not have the connections or understanding of angel investing, to join with other investors in a portfolio of startup funding.
As Shermak explained, "I think LaunchAngels is a great opportunity to expand the VC space to those who would be angels, but the complexity of the investment process is keeping them from moving ahead."
"We will create a series of small funds that make approximately eight to twelve investments each, so investors who have between $50k and $200k can invest and create a portfolio without having to source and track the investments one by one."
Shermak added, "We feel that crowd-funding is going to change the entire venture capital space."
Boston Tech Jam Announces Shark Tank Companies
One of the most 'interesting' evenings in the Boston tech scene over the past year had to be the FutureM/BzzAgent Shark Tank event that saw CoachUp, Jebbit, and, especially, Timbre walk away with some pretty serious venture backing.
It appeared that the 'Shark Tank'-like excitement of that event may have been a one time event, as there are no plans to try and recreate last year's excitement at FutureM this year.
However, the Boston Tech Jam will be doing a Shark Tank, and the companies involved were announced earlier this week. With Michael Skok moderating and a panel of judges featuring Tech Stars' Katie Rae, Maia Heymann of CommonAngels, Atlas Venture partner Ryan Moore, and MassChallenge's Scott Bailey, the Tech Jam event should be exciting for all involved.
Those involved? Here is a list of the finalists for next Thursday's Shark Tank:
The teams have been in training, as I witnessed at PayPal Boston the other day, as they are working with Michael Skok to prepare their "Perfect Pitch" for the event.
Boston Executive Patricia Hume named President of Trap.it
Patricia Hume, a local executive who has worked in leadership roles at IBM, Avaya, Convio, and SAP, has been brought on to the Palo Alto "premium, relevant content discovery and delivery for business audiences" site Trap.it as the company's new President.
As Hume said in the press release announcing the move, "There is a deep need for a technology like Trapit’s in today’s enterprise; my goal is to deliver Trapit’s value to the marketplace. I want to delight our customers by providing the best experience from their very first engagement with us."
She added, “The decision to join Trapit was an easy one. Aside from a world-class solution, I worked with CEO Gary Griffiths at IBM early in my career. We had a great partnership then, and I look forward to driving Trapit forward, together.”
EdTrips Announces New Education Trips Platform
EdTrips, a Boston/Providence based Ed Tech company, announced this week the launch of their online platform that "transforms educational travel by providing a simple platform for organizing and promoting trips, collecting payments, keeping track of travelers, and managing all event logistics."
As the press release announcing the launch explained, the company will make the travel process easier for all levels of educational programs, from K-12 and higher education to adult education and community groups. One great feature of the EdTrips' platform is the "database of pre-planned, standards-based field trips, as well as a platform for venues to promote themselves as field trip destinations."
As Laura Wallendal, the company's COO and Founder said, “EdTrips changes the way educational trips are organized. You upload itineraries, promote your trip, collect payments, upload permission forms – really manage your trip quickly all in one place.”
She added, “We created EdTrips because we saw how challenging organizing a trip can be."
InsightSquared Launches New App Experience for Salesforce
InsightSquared, the Salesforce analytics platform for small and mid-size businesses, announced on Tuesday the launch of a new free "sales leaderboard application" for Salesforce.com.
The new product uses gamification technology to motivate and engage sales teams through friendly competition. The app works on any TV screen, and recognizes top sales performers in a visual style similar to popular sports channels' leaderboards and scoreboard tickers generated from Salesforce data.
Fred Shilmover, InsightSquared's Co-Founder and CEO explained, "Gamification in sales is growing ever more popular because it works and it motivates naturally competitive sales representatives."
"Our Free Sales Leaderboard Application for Salesforce.com is our contribution to all sales organizations who deeply care about driving more performance and helping their sales teams succeed in a fun work environment," he added.
Really Quick Hits:
-Zeppelin, a PayPal Start Tank company we have covered in the past, has rebranded as Databox.
-CO Everywhere has added video capability to its already awesome location-based search app.
-We hear that a pretty innovative fitness-related tech company may be landing in Boston in the near future. Watch out for more news to follow.