9Mile Labs: First Demo Day and Research on Accelerator Effectiveness

9/10/13Follow @bromano

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is updated for the modern work force. CEO Kevin Nakao says the company’s service, at $2.75 per user, per month, costs less than providing employees with coffee, and the reduction of voluntary turnover associated with robust recognition programs more than pays for it. Using MeritShare, companies can enable their employees to give each other recognition instead of praise coming from the top down. Recognition can be tracked through a dashboard and weekly e-mails, and compared to a national recognition index drawn from the 50 companies using the service today; and it can be pushed out to social media for additional ego-stroking and recruiting benefits.

—As someone with family members in the medical profession, I am very familiar with the frustrations and inefficiencies inherent in moving patients through a clinic each day. It’s at least as bad for the doctors and nurses as it is for the patients. CadenceMD CEO Bonnie Cech says it’s bad for healthcare companies’ bottom lines, too, with inefficiencies such as appointments scheduled too long or too short for a patient’s problem, incorrect staffing and equipment in exam rooms, and other small and hard-to-track time-wasters adding up through the day costing a typical doctor $50,000 a year in higher staffing costs and missed revenue opportunities. Multiply that across a 500-doctor healthcare enterprise and the company’s software suite for tracking and managing visits, optimizing staff schedules, and letting physicians request resources without leaving an exam room could represent major cost savings. The company is also positioned in what Cech says is a fast-growing segment of the healthcare industry, with IT spending by physicians groups expected to see compound annual growth of 24 percent over the next four years.

—You’ve heard about the Internet of Things, the idea that stuff that’s not connected to the Internet now—septic tanks, for example—will be soon. But outfitting a septic tank with the appropriate hardware and wireless service to get online and let you know when it’s about to get ugly and expensive is no easy matter. The hoop-jumping at embedded-systems makers, mobile carriers, the FCC, and on and on can take a year and a half and cost a lot, says Ombitron CEO H. Paul Hammann. His company aims to simplify and streamline the process, cutting time-to-market down to two months, by providing pre-certified hardware, cellular data service packages, and software to integrate it all. Hammann says the company makes a healthy margin on each segment of the business, and has already partnered with Verizon and Sprint to resell their cellular services.

—Kyle Schei’s presentation featured video of his company’s CTO breaking a table in half to make a point, but that was not the most impressive detail of his pitch about Comr.se, a social commerce startup. The service works like this: An apparel designer with a loyal social media following posts a picture of his new line on Facebook. Before Comr.se, you’d have to click the link, leaving the sticky social media world behind and going through the usual checkout rigmarole on the designer’s site. Or you remember the design when you’re out shopping in the real world, denying the designer the high-margin, direct purchase transaction online. With Comr.se, the post on Facebook becomes the shopping cart. Schei calls it a “transactional image” that enables sellers to extend “shopping carts everywhere throughout the Web.” You can select the size, enter shipping information, and make payment, all without leaving the Facebook party, or the Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr party. The company is getting pretty sophisticated on the back end, working with PARC to build a big data application that matches consumers with products based on transaction history, clickstream data, and their social graph. Comr.se, with 11 employees, looks like a direct competitor to Portland-based Chirpify, and based on my interactions with both companies (I visited Chirpify early this year) I can tell that smart, talented people who enjoy drinking beer are attracted to this opportunity. It will be interesting to follow these two companies, which both appear to be on the fast track.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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  • http://www.cadencemd.com/ CadenceMD

    Thanks for highlighting CadenceMD. We were in great company in the 9Mile Labs program.

  • Kevin Nakao

    Thanks for coming out, supporting the program, and providing this coverage. Team MeritShare.