Leftronic Turns Any Startup Office into a Command Center

6/4/12Follow @wroush

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the number of signups today—things that aren’t immediately actionable, but where you really want to get the sense that you are moving in the right direction.” Putting such data on a dedicated displays helps it rise above the “day to day noise,” he says.

The inspiration for Leftronic came from Jingles’ time at Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity fund based in New York. Jingles was helping out at Zerobase, which makes portable solar-electricity generators. “We had a huge operational problem in that we had units in the field producing power but we didn’t have a good tool for tracking how much, at different latitudes and locations,” Jingles says. “We were missing a visualization tool to understand our own organization.”

Jingles ended up building a tool from scratch, based on Microsoft’s Excel database program. “After months of working on that, I realized that there is a lot of value in aggregating and visualizing information and presenting it in a way that is digestible—all of our marketing and fundraising efforts, for example, depended on having that information available.” Jingles, Ghanta, and Del Solar got into Y Combinator on the strength of their idea for a tool that other companies could use to rapidly assemble their own visualizations.

Leftronic uses its own dashboards “obsessively” to track internal metrics, Jingles says. “We can see every time a new user signs up, how much revenue we have, how many customers we have. We see what people are saying about us on Twitter. I can tell you exactly where the traffic to our website is coming from and what percentage comes from Google searches.”

It’s all information that Leftronic can use in day-to-day decisions about how to prioritize development work, where to find new users, or when to jump into social-media convesrations. “Beyond the tactical advantage, it gives you a kind of morale boost, of being able to see that we signed up X number of new users or our revenue just went up. All of that stuff helps the team understand what they are doing and what they are working for.”

Plus—let’s be honest—an always-on data dashboard lends any office an air of geeky sophistication. Leftronic’s challenge right now, Jingles says, is explaining how simple it is to get such a display up and running. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that there are these kinds of services out there,” he says. “The tech community is a little more aware, and a lot of developers and startups are signing up. But we want to reach out to a larger crowd—people who don’t know what an API is, but they know they want to see this data. Once we can effectively reach those people, that is going to be our big takeoff point.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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