Five startups emerged as DEMO Traction Champions at the conclusion of Wednesday’s DEMO Traction 2015 conference in San Francisco — one more winner than originally expected.
“We added a fifth DEMO Traction champion because there were so many good candidates,” said Neal Silverman, senior vice president and general manager of the DEMO conferences.
During the afternoon Traction Watch portion of the day-long conference, chosen finalists from among hundreds of applicants had four minutes to make their pitch on stage in front of attendees and an on-stage panel of judges.
The companies presenting were selected because they’re using technology to solve challenging problems in innovative ways. And though still young, the startups vying to become champions Wednesday have already demonstrated traction — and were required to back up the claim with data during their show-and-tell.
Presenters were grouped into four market segments: Information Technology, Marketing, Smart Data, and Operations/Learning. For each market segment, there was a different panel of judges. Audience members could also vote. Here’s a quick look at our five DEMO Traction Champions.
Information Technology Champion: Expect Labs
Expect Labs has developed MindMeld, a platform that enables app developers to integrate sophisticated voice recognition interface technology into their products. “Many companies are scrambling to integrate voice into their apps,” said Tim Tuttle, fonder and CEO. “It’s a huge undertaking.” Tuttle said. It can take companies one or more years to accomplish this currently — which is the problem Expect Labs said it is solving with MindMeld.
Marketing Champion: Unmetric
Unmetric is “the only social media intelligence platform focused on brands,” according to Lakshmanan Narayan, CEO and co-founder. The startup seeks to solve a typical problem marketers face: “always wondering if your last piece of content or campaign really struck a cord,” Narayan said. Unmetric’s platform aims to give brands “unparalled intelligence” into their digital marketing efforts, so they can make more informed business decisions.
Smart Data Champion: BetterWorks
BetterWorks is an “enterprise goals platform,” according to Kris Duggan, CEO and co-founder. “We help companies set and manage their goals with software that delivers at enterprise scale,” he says The problem BetterWorks solves: It gives managers and executives dashboard views into how teams and individuals are meeting their goals. “It’s like Fitbit for work,” Duggan added, referring to the fitness tracker’s leaderboard, where users can see how their steps compare to their friends’ steps.
Smart Data Champion: Talkdesk
Talkdesk helps businesses to “create a call center in five minutes” through its software-as-a-service. The call center industry is largely served by products developed in the 1980s and 90s, said Gadi Shamia, COO. Talkdesk takes a more updated approach. It “integrates with everything in your company” including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Desk.com, providing “real-time customer information to your agent when a customer calls,” says Shamia.
Operations/Learning Champion: FollowAnalytics
FollowAnalytics is a mobile analytics and mobile marketing automation company launched at DEMO 2013, said Samir Addamine, CEO. The company has developed its 1:1 Mobile Marketing Platform that aims to solve the problem that enterprise marketers often face: developing mobile apps that drive secure, personalized one-to-one engagement with customers and that connect to the enterprise’s CRM and other marketing systems.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.