Posts Tagged ‘ATDC’
Friday, April 20th, 2012
By Blake Patton
Entrepreneurs put a lot of time and effort into crafting a great pitch for their startup. Unfortunately, startups often fail to put the same effort into creating their financial plan. That is a big mistake.
Like your pitch, your financial model tells a story. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your business model and highlight the more complicated details of the venture. And like a pitch, you should get plenty of help and go through several revisions before you share it with potential investors.
Prepare a “bottoms up” plan
Investors in early-stage companies know the only certainty in a financial model is that it is wrong. They use this model to estimate the scope of the opportunity, evaluate key drivers and assumptions and determine the cash needs of the business over the next three to five years.
Rather than starting with what you think they want to see and working backwards, you should prepare a ‘bottoms up’ plan. Start with base assumptions broken down to basic economic units and build from there.
To do this, create tabs in an Excel workbook that you can later link to your financials, making it easier to revise down the road. Tabs might include:
Pre-Revenue – the phase before you have paying customers, such as the R&D or prototype phase. The financial model for this stage is essentially a budget that includes people, rent, office supplies, equipment, servers, etc.
Revenue models – based on assumptions of how to get customers. If you are a SaaS B2B business, you might start with how many customers a sales rep can generate and how many users a typical customer will have and model it based on your sales hiring plan. If you are an eCommerce business, you might highlight online marketing efforts and build revenue assumptions based on realistic conversion metrics.
Cost of Goods Sold – the costs that directly go into creating the products or delivering the services that you sell. For a manufacturing company, this would include materials and assembly labor, while a SaaS company might spend on application hosting and monitoring, labor for implementing customers and customer support.
Expenses - all other functions required to run your business such as research and development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative costs.
Now you are ready to translate your model into financials. If you are comfortable with financials and know Excel well, you can obtain a template and modify it to fit your business. More than likely, you will need help doing this.
Make sure you get that assistance, even if you have to pay. There are CPA firms and ‘rent a CFO’ services that can help.
The financial plan should include:
- A profit & loss statement (often called an income statement) tells you what you need to do to turn your hobby into a business. If you build your model with the right detail, you’ll be able to link to the appropriate revenue and cost items in the financial statements.
- A cash flow statement shows where cash is going and where it’s coming from. It essentially reveals how much money you’ll need to run the business. It can be broken down to three buckets: operations (payroll, payments, receivables), investing (capital expenditures), and financing activities (debt, equity financing).
- A balance sheet shows the company’s assets, liabilities and the owner’s equity. Unlike the P&L and cash flow statements that reflect periods of time, the balance sheet shows a particular point in time such as the end of a month or year. The assets always equal liabilities plus owner’s equity. The balance sheet is the most difficult to put together, so if you aren’t knowledgeable about integrated financials, you will probably need professional help.
Playing basketball without a scoreboard
Don’t underestimate the power of a solid financial model. After all, it’s not just for raising money – it’s a critical tool for managing and tracking your business.
To ignore it would be like playing basketball without a scoreboard. If you want to build a successful business, put the time and effort into creating a solid financial model.
An Entrepreneur in Residence at the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta, Blake Patton has 20 years of leadership experience in startup, venture-backed, and publicly-traded internet, software, payments and financial services technology companies.
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
By Chip Schooler
Talking to potential customers is one of the most important activities an entrepreneur conducts on the road to success. As Steve Blank notes, “Facts exist outside the building, opinions reside within.” So when the opportunity presents itself to interact with future customers, what topics should an entrepreneur address?
The discussion needs to feature a combination of research and validation. Customer discussions are a loop-like process: information uncovered by research is taken back, “munched on by the team” and then validated in another conversation with the next (or same) prospect. According to Jakob Nielsen, “the guru of web page usability,” six customer discussions are the right number to confirm validation. To define the ideal balance between research and validation, set goals for the feedback before the meeting.
As you meet with potential customers, remember to discuss the three “Ps” – Product, Pricing and Peers.
An entrepreneur (and team) should be constantly validating product assumptions and revising the business model based on customer response.
The most important validation: does the prospect have a problem that the proposed product solves? Garnering feedback from multiple sources significantly improves the value proposition (i.e. the problem and solution).
Don’t wait for a finished product to begin this process. Solicit input at every opportunity. For example, user interface experiences can be tested in the conceptual stage through techniques as simple as sketches on paper.
However, it is important to keep feedback in perspective, especially during this early stage. I recommend using Geoffrey Moore’s Technology Adoption Life Cycle to determine the type of customer you are interviewing (innovator, early adopter, early majority, etc.) and set expectations to appropriately weigh the feedback.
Pricing discussions entail more than just presenting a dollar amount. All technology is sold by some kind of capacity measurement, including by user, machine, core, site, IP address, minute or gigabyte.
What is your prospect’s response to the intended capacity? What issues do they raise? How long does it take them to understand the pricing model? What are the pricing models of competitors? If the product is a service, then the type of capacity selected can have a significant impact on other areas of the company such as billing.
In addition to the pricing model, another part of the discussion should cover your product’s value assumptions. Learning how a prospect currently solves the problem you plan to solve – as well as its attendant cost – sets the stage for your marketing strategy.
Discussing the problem and solution may also reveal that the prospect values non-product feature capabilities such as annual billing or specific purchase terms.
A key element to growth is precise market segmentation. The most important aspect of this process involves developing a segment that can be reached through profitable marketing techniques. Now is the time to start defining both the segment (VPs of customer service for a packaged goods company, for example) and potential marketing strategies to efficiently reach the individual buyer. Research might include questions about professional association membership, the trade shows or webinars that were attended and relationships with like-minded peers in both competitive and complementary segments.
By covering these three Ps, an entrepreneur is taking a structured and comprehensive approach to one of the most important tasks in a startup – producing a successful product that a market segment will purchase.
A Community Catalyst at the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta, Chip Schooler is a 30-year veteran of the technology industry focused on the commercialization of technologies that can be used to solve real-world problems. Chip has brought to market products as diverse as enterprise-wide laptop backup, security appliances
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
“A business exists to create a customer.”
- Peter F. Drucker, political economist and author
By Blake Patton
We all know customers are necessary for any business to succeed. Yet many entrepreneurs, myself included, have made the mistake of not understanding the needs of their target customer. That is the most crucial step in creating a successful business.
Every week at ATDC, I’m fortunate enough to spend time with some of the brightest entrepreneurs in Georgia, sharing ideas on launching and growing their technology businesses. ATDC is a hub of activity for startups looking for advice on obtaining financing, launching a new product or building their business. Helping them usually begins with a single question: who is your target customer?
Here are four questions every entrepreneur should answer to help determine their customer base.
1. What customer problems are you solving?
Entrepreneurs passionately share the features and benefits of their product, but often don’t clearly state what customer problems or ‘pain’ that product solves. The best entrepreneurs identify that pain, understand how it affects the customer and how much it is costing them. Sometimes startups fail because the problem they aim to solve really isn’t a priority for their target customers.
The only way to understand the problem is to meet with prospective customers early on and assess their priorities. The entrepreneurs that engage potential customers from the beginning are more likely to succeed. If those needs are driving the product roadmap, you are off to a good start.
2. How does your product or service address those problems?
The startup community is full of “solutions looking for a problem.” We are often so focused on our innovative technology that we fail to address the market need. A deep understanding of how your product addresses the customer’s problems is critical to closing deals. Selling features and benefits while relying on the customer to determine if they have a problem you can solve, means you could be stuck spinning your wheels. Particularly with new technology, entrepreneurs need to develop the relevant domain expertise to show their target market how the product will solve their specific need.
3. Who has these problems?
One of the biggest challenges every entrepreneur faces is getting a product to market. The first paying customers are often found through leveraging personal relationships or engaging the right prospects.
To launch a product beyond that first wave of customers and develop a successful marketing strategy, entrepreneurs need to develop a profile of the type of clients that have the specific problems their solution addresses. Without focusing on that target profile and their decision process, you won’t be able to select the initial target segment, price your offering, develop a marketing and sales plan to reach them and identify the key features needed to appeal to that segment.
4. What is your addressable market?
Entrepreneurs often mistakenly define their market by industry and the size of that total market, rather than the appropriate customer profile and the amount spent on the problem they are solving. The customer universe that fits that profile is the addressable market for the product. The total size of the addressable market and the competition in that industry then determines the opportunity for the product. If the profile is not pertinent to a large enough addressable market, and doesn’t have a competitive advantage, the business will not meet its financial goals.
It sounds simple, but whether you are a startup or a large business, the key to success is to know your customer. That understanding is the cornerstone that enables a startup to build a product roadmap, sell more effectively and demonstrate the opportunity to investors and venture capitalists.
An Entrepreneur in Residence at the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta, Blake Patton has 20 years of leadership experience in startup, venture-backed, and publicly-traded internet, software, payments and financial services technology companies.
Monday, August 15th, 2011
Raising capital is one of the most significant business challenges faced by entrepreneurs. The fundraising process for technology startups is typically a slow and painful one, especially for those raising a business from infancy. In many cases, fundraising efforts detract from the time that could or should be spent growing the business. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to raise capital because of easily avoidable mistakes made when approaching and meeting with potential investors.
The three most common mistakes include:
- Not ready for prime-time.
Some entrepreneurs might have a great idea for a business, but then try to pitch investors before the concept is fully developed. Before attempting to gain investment capital, the entrepreneur should create a mockup and develop a model of the screen interfaces. They should then talk to potential customers to validate the concept and ensure that product solves a problem. Entrepreneurs also need to develop the right business model for their company. By choosing and adapting the appropriate model, they can forecast product consumption and have the capability to scale the business during the growth phase.
In addition, there’s nothing worse than going to an investor’s meeting unprepared. If you haven’t put the time and energy into developing a strong presentation and writing complete business and financial plans, you are wasting your time as well as the investors. You only get one shot, so get it right the first time.
- Targeting the wrong investor audience.
Some entrepreneurs approach the wrong investors during their startup growth stage. Different types of investors target startups at varying levels of maturity. Angel investors, for example, typically provide early-stage funding, while venture capital firms often get involved during the later stages of the operation. Before launching the fundraising process, the entrepreneur should develop a comprehensive prospective investor list for their startup growth stage. The investors should be qualified based on the following criteria: track record, market sectors, size of fund and reputation. All of the investors on the list should also be accredited.
- Mistaking an investors value contribution.
Entrepreneurs usually select investors based on valuation rather than the investor’s market knowledge, long-term financial capability and reputation. Venture capitalists provide more than just money, so they should be evaluated and selected based on their overall value contribution to the company. The following is a list of values VCs can add to a startup: expertise, board of directors, credibility, financing, network, coaching, exit, recruitment, customers and public relations and marketing efforts. Selecting the right investor can prove the difference between a company’s failure and success.
By steering clear of these mistakes, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of successfully raising capital.
An Entrepreneur in Residence at the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta, Hezi Moore has more than 20 years of experience in security, virtualization, cloud infrastructure and entrepreneurial expertise. Prior to joining the Georgia Tech incubator, Moore founded Reflex Systems (Reflex Security) and led the effort to develop the industry’s first Virtual Security Appliance (VSA), which provides visibility, management and security for virtual network infrastructure.
Friday, August 5th, 2011
Lobby of the Gwinnett Innovation Park
ATLANTA - Gwinnett Innovation Park, a space alternative for start-ups, entrepreneurs, independent professionals and teleworkers, has launched its eHub Founders Grant which over the next 12 months will provide Atlanta-based entrepreneurs with $100,000.
The Founders Grant is designed to give back to the entrepreneurial community by rewarding entrepreneurial excellence and helping deserving companies continue on their path to success.
The Founders Grant is part of the eHub Nspire Program which helps support Atlanta technology entrepreneurs by providing them with resources and benefits to help them succeed, including office space at Gwinnett Innovation Park at no cost for one year.
“As an alternative to the famous ‘shark tank,’ the Founders Grant is designed to help our entrepreneurs succeed. The Founders Grant allows entrepreneurs to retain full ownership and is designed to create a supportive and collaborative sanctuary,” said Leland Strange, local serial entrepreneur, investor and supporter of hundreds of technology companies in the Atlanta area over the last 30 years.
“I know firsthand the importance of added resources during critical times in a company’s development. The Founders Grant rewards an Nspire company with $25,000 each quarter – no strings attached – to help them continue to grow and succeed. While we are invested in their success, the Nspire company will retain full ownership of the company. The Gwinnett Innovation Park Trustees are here only as a resource to help them succeed.”
Paul Freet, Catalyst with the ATDC Gwinnett initiative, commented on the Founders Grant and Nspire Program. ”It’s great to see the commitment of Gwinnett Innovation Park and its entrepreneurial leaders to bring needed resources and funding to support the technology start-up community in Gwinnett. Both ATDC and GIP have a long history of helping entrepreneurs grow and succeed and I am sure these programs will inspire even more success stories in Gwinnett.”
Network, Inspire and Grow
The Founders Grant provides a $25,000 stipend each quarter to a member of the recently launched Nspire Program. The Gwinnett Innovation Park Trustees, a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs and Atlantabusiness professionals, will select the quarterly honoree based on the merits of the business plan and business opportunity of an Nspire company that has been a resident for at least one quarter.
The Nspire Program includes:
- Establish office in eHub at no cost for one year
- Access to experienced, successful business executives including face-to-face time with successful serial entrepreneur and monthly marketing and PR advice sessions
- Office space in an open plan environment
- Eligible for Gwinnett Innovation Park Founders Grant
For more information or to download an application to become part of the Nspire Program email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Both TAG and ATDC are located in the Tech Square building
ATLANTA – The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is known for providing strategic entrepreneurial advice and key business connections to help grow Georgia-based technology startup companies. The Georgia Tech startup accelerator is now expanding on these abilities with the creation of a new Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program.
The program features four EIRs with a wealth of experience in the technology startup world. Jamie Bardin, Tim Dorr, Hezi Moore and Blake Patton will all serve as advisors for ATDC member companies in the areas of business strategy, fundraising, team development and more. They will also seek opportunities to connect startups with prospective business advisors, investors and customers in the market.
“Our EIRs offer experience and knowledge that is extremely valuable to startups. They have lived through the demanding process of starting a business, both the failures and successes,” said Nina Sawczuk, ATDC’s General Manager and Director of Startup Services. “They will work with young companies to avoid common mistakes and find ways to excel. This is the heart of what ATDC does.”
Each mentor is a repeat entrepreneur with a track record of success in starting, growing and funding a business.
- Bardin was the CEO of EZ Prints, which he grew from a startup to a $25 million company, and has experience in business leadership for mid-market and Fortune 500 companies as well.
- Dorr is a Georgia Tech grad who has founded multiple successful web-based startup companies, including A Small Orange and the hot in-town co-working space Ignition Alley.
- Moore has more than 20 years of experience in technology and business leadership, having raised more than $45 million in venture capital funding. He has founded several technology security companies, including Reflex Security and MicroTech systems.
- Patton brings 20 years of experience in startup, venture-backed and publicly traded companies in the finance and payments world. He was the president ofInteractive Advisory Software and the CEO of iKobo before joining ATDC.
EIRs will host weekly office hours to accommodate one-on-one meetings with member companies. In addition, they will conduct learning circles to help facilitate peer-to-peer learning and networking. Moore will lead the Friday morning ATDC circle in Alpharetta’s Roam Atlanta co-working space. All four will also regularly participate in ATDC events like CapVenture, Brown Bags and the monthly New Member Orientations and Entrepreneur’s Nights.
“In my new role, I am really looking forward to helping the entrepreneurial and startup community in Atlanta,” Dorr said. “Atlanta has a lot of drive to become a big player in the startup world and I’m excited to help make it happen.”
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
By Allan Maurer
ATLANTA – With hackers slipping malware into ad servers and website code, Internet users risk attack whenever they browse a site. Not only that, site owners are often faced with traffic stalling warnings from Google and other search engines and can lose scads of money while a site remains infected. CodeGuard Inc., which has nabbed angel funding from Imlay Investments, say its long-term goal is to prevent and cleanup “this virtual blight.”
“We seek to prevent the distribution of malicious software (malware) through websites. Every hour thousands of websites are compromised and used for distribution of malware. Our service allows any website owner to be protected; we make sure that their website will never be used to attack site visitors”, said David Moeller, CEO of CodeGuard.
CodeGuard provides a virtual version control system and stores site data in the cloud. Backups are stored hourly or daily, providing visibility for users into what files have changed.
In the event a hack or an unauthorized change is detected, webmasters can quickly revert to the last known “clean” version and have their site working in minutes without engaging developers to remediate the issue. Hacking can be identified and site owners can be notified before they spread malware, have their links pirated, or act as a parasitic host for spammers.
“A couple of years ago,” Moeller told TechJournal South, “we got bombarded with (malware infected) email.” Now, however, email protection is much better and cyber bad guys needed to find a more efficient vector for distributing their malware. So they turned to websites, even dormant ones, and drive-by malware downloads can happen without a user even being aware of it.
CodeGuard evolved when Jonathan Hochman and Jonah Stein met at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View in 2008. A few months later, Jonah organized a panel at O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 Summit to talk about the rising danger of virtual blight on the web: malware, hacking, and advertising scams.
After the panel concluded, Jonathan and Jonah discussed how valuable a cloud-based file integrity monitoring tool would be to fight virtual blight. Jonathan imagined using the tool personally in his consulting business, and Jonah envisioned his clients using the tool to protect their websites. CodeGuard is the result.
While it is still refining its pricing model, Moeller said currently a customer can buy protection for $10 a month for a site that has more 250MB but less than 1GB. The company will likely charge from 10 to 20 percent of what a company pays for monthly hosting, Moeller said.
Moeller noted that large companies use expensive high end protection. “They don’t need us. We’re website protection for the masses,” Moeller said. “It’s our belief that no system is going to prevent all attacks. There will always be attacks where someone figures out how to break in. That’s why you need a backup so you can remediate quickly.”
Atlanta’s “security halo” helped
CodeGuard, founded in April 2010, just launched its public beta version. It raised under $1 million in its angel round from Imlay. Moeller said Atlanta’s deep expertise in the cyber security field has been helpful to the company. “The halo of security in Atlanta has been very helpful,” he said.
Its board includes Dr. Wenke Lee, Georgia Tech College of Computing and GTISC Member. His current research projects are in the areas of botnet detection, malware analysis, virtual machine monitoring, and Web 2.0 security and privacy, with funding from NSF, DHS, and DoD. Dr. Lee has published over 100 articles with more than 20 of them cited more than 100 times. In 2006, Dr. Lee co-founded Damballa Inc., a spin-off from his lab that focuses on botnet detection and mitigation.
Another board member is Dr. Merrick Furst, Georgia Tech College of Computing Distinguished Professor. Furst is known for seminal research in algorithms, complexity theory and artificial intelligence. Merrick co-invented probabilistic circuit analysis and planning graphs, which are highly influential breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. He is a co-founder of Damballa.
CodeGuard is a member of the Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center.
Monday, January 10th, 2011
Prema Gupta, co-founder of Khush singing into a smart phone.
ATLANTA – Khush, a startup we profiled in TechView Atlanta and here, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the early-stage seed and incubator fund in Mt. View, CA, 500 Startups, Georgia Tech’s ATDC Venture Lab, and angel investor Yee Lee.
Khush has developed an artificial intelligence technology that helps people make music. It’s iTunes LaDiDa app, available for $2.99, will add backup music and rhythm to a song someone sings into their phone.
The company’s demo videos have garnered more than 65 million views on YouTube.
Its app has been downloaded 270,000 times since May.
The company told TechCrunch it plans to launch new apps in coming months.
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
ATLANTA – Nina Sawczuk, currently assistant director of the Atlanta Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) will take over as director of startup services and manager of the ATDC in August.
Sawczuk was a co-founder of Zygogen, which sold Zebrafish embryos researchers used to help develop drugs.
Zygogen filed for bankruptcy in 2009 following a patent infringement lawsuit, which the company decided would be too expensive to fight legally.
Previously, Sawczuk held drug discovery, consulting and business development roles with companies in the Research Triangle, Boston, and Southern California.
ATDC provides space, mentoring, and contacts for Atlanta startups. Nearly a year ago, ATDC opened its doors to a greater number of companies as it merged with teh Georgia Tech VentureLab program and the state SBIR assistance program. It also manages the Georgia Tech Edison Fund.
Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
ATLANTA – Sentrinsic, a company that designs, manufactures, and sells position sensors to actuator manufacturers for use in industrial automation, robotics, and aerospace applications, has raised $500,000 in equity funding, according to a regulatory filing.
The company’s proprietary Intrinsic Sensing technology turns customers’ moving parts directly into high performance sensing components.
The resulting Intrinsic Sensing products allow manufacturers to increase sales of existing product lines and sell to new markets while simultaneously improving their margins.
For these customers, the company says it significantly reduces the time, money, and risks associated with bringing these high tech products to market.
We’re impressed with the rapid advances in motion sensing technology and its application to so many products. Sentrinsic appears poised to take advantage of this trend.
Founded in 2006 to develop technology innovated in the Georgia Tech’s Intelligent Machine Dynamics Laboratory, Sentrinsic is a graduate of the Georgia Tech VentureLab business incubator. It is an Atlanta Technology Development Center firm.
The company disclosed the funding in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Contact Tech Journal South Editor and writer Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com.
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Both TAG and ATDC are located in the Tech Square building
ATLANTA – Applications are now available for the Advanced Technology Development Center and the Technology Association of Georgia‘s CapVenture joint program.
For the first time, this program will be split into two tracks, “Series A” and “Seed”, enabling a broader group of companies to participate.
Early Bird Applications for this unique and powerful training program are due July 9th and the final deadline is August 6th. The program will run on Tuesdays from August 17th to September 21st.
Seed track provides support for those companies who need capital but are not yet ready for venture capital. In addition to training, participating companies will gain valuable practical knowledge about the various forms of capital available, and sharpen their business and financing strategy to increase the probability of successful capitalization.
They also get an opportunity to meet investors.
The 2008 forum led to requests for 59 meetings by investors, and the top CapVenture “Series A” track companies will have an additional opportunity to present to dozens of investors through an automatic slot during the ATDC/VentureLab early-stage forum at Venture Atlanta.
Previous participants include Cloud Sherpas, ProperNotice, LLC, Purewire, Renovo Data, Inc., Racemi, Inc., and SoloHealth.
Registration and additional information on the program is available online at CapVenture
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
By Allan Maurer
Lot’s of us like to sing, but most of us confine our warbling to the shower or singing to the radio in the car. Now, however, thanks to a “reverse karaoke” application for the iPhone developed by Atlanta-based Khush, you can sing into your iPhone and play it back with the kinds of vocal effects that make professionals sound so hot.
Using artificial intelligence, the application, called LaDiDa, analyzes the voice of the person singing into the phone and plays it back with appropriate music.
Love to sing? There’s an app for that. Khush CEO Prerna Gupta sings into her iPhone demonstrating the LaDiDa application.
Prerna Gupta, Khush CEO, chatted with us and demonstrated the application in the lobby of the Atlanta Technology Development Center.
One of Shotput Venture’s firms
Gupta, who says, “I’ve been singing my whole life,” sounded good without any backing. She sang some instantly made-up lyrics into her iPhone, and seconds later, played it back with perfect musical accompaniment.
(Here’s a demonstration see: How it works); for a duet of her singing a Bollywood tune with inventor of the technology Dr. Parag Chorida, director of the Georgia Tech Music Intelligence Lab and Gupta’s spouse, see Bollywood Duet.
The Music Intelligence Lab is working on some of the most unusual projects we’ve heard about anywhere.
LaDiDa is the first product made by Khu.sh
Khush was founded in May 2009 as one of Shotput Ventures first class of eight companies. It raised a total so far of about $129,000 from a Shotput seed investment, a grant from Georgia Tech’s VentureLab, and an angel investment from Rackspace executive Pat Matthews.
LaDiDa is the company’s first product, but likely won’t be its last. It’s already selling briskly through the Apple iTunes store where it sells for $3 and Apple takes a buck of that.
The technology for the application took about two semesters to develop and commercializing it through the iTunes store took only two months.
We can all make music
Gupta says the app “Really pushes what the iPhone can do.” It required considerable testing to get something complicated but light.
Everyone of the eight people on the Khush team have credentials in both music and technology, Gupta tells us.
But many of the rest of us may not be so well trained when it comes to belting out a tune. When we used to do live karaoke, we warned the audience, “People turn off the hot water in the shower when we sing.”
State-of-the-art algorithms analyze the pitch and structure of the vocal input, and use that information to compose a unique accompaniment in real-time that matches the song. Khush is also working on pitch and tempo detection algorithms to help novice singers sound better.
A weird blip in music history
The application uses pitch correction and reverb features to help those who are not natural vocalists.
“Giving people the vocal effects all the musicians use now makes a big difference,” says Gupta.
Khush’s in-house composer, Alex Rae, has developed a collection of rich sounds arranged into different styles, such as E Piano Pop, Rhythm Synth Pop, Dub Tone, Underground Rap, Tasty Breaks and Dirty South.
TechView Atlanta reporter interviewing Prerna Gupta at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta.
”The last 50 years are a weird blip in music history,” says Gupta. Most of the music made in the last five decades has been by professionals.
“But look back and before that, people were making music from the time they were small children. This technology can help people tap back into that very natural thing. You just use your voice and create professional sounding music. I think we’ll see a major transformation over the next ten years.”
Gupta says LaDiDa’s goal is to develop an ecosystem in which artists can sell their styles and generate revenues from their musical content.
”Khush” is a Hindu word that means “happy,” and Gupta says it is appropriate for her company because, “Music is one of the fundamental things that make people happy.”
Reprinted from our sister publication, www.TechViewAtlanta.com
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
The ATDC is located in the Research Building at Atlanta's Technology Square
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center expects more than 1,000 technology leaders, university leaders, investors, and aspiring entrepreneurs to attend its 2010 Startup Showcase at The Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center May 24.
Each year ATDC member companies who have attained rigorous growth milestones are selected to graduate from the startup incubator.
We were impressed with the variety of startup cultures and styles ATDC hosts when we visited recently. Offices of its startups range from the precisely neat to the creative clutter of long hours fueled by caffeine and sugar.
We also heard praise for the way ATDC has opened its doors to many more companies, including all of those incubated by Shotput Ventures. (See: Atlanta’s Shotput Ventures firms all joining ATDC).
Stephen Fleming, vice provost and director of the ATDC commented on the upcoming ceremony, “We are proud of this group of startup companies and the level of success they have achieved; they are representative of the types of companies that have been successful during the first 30 years of our existence.
“As we open our doors to a larger number of quality entrepreneurs and startup companies we believe that the number of companies that we can assist will grow exponentially.”
The 2010 graduating companies are:
- CommerceV3, a provider of an order-management system that allows users to create, launch, and grow customized web storefronts;
- Endgame Systems, an organization of highly skilled information security veterans providing advanced vulnerability research programs and next-generation security solutions;
- Izenda, a company that delivers a fully-integrable add-on to software developers that gives end users the ability to create and customize reports; and
- PureWire, a web security software-as-a-service vendor that secures business and social interactions on the Web.
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is a startup accelerator that helps Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies. Founded in 1980, ATDC has graduated more than 120 companies, which together have raised more than a billion dollars in outside financing.
ATDC has provided business incubation and acceleration services to hundreds of Georgia startups—most of which are not based on Georgia Tech research, but which benefit from the close proximity to the university.
Recently ATDC expanded its mission by merging with Georgia Tech’s VentureLab and with the Georgia SBIR Assistance Program.
For more information on the showcase event see: ATDC Startup Showcase.
Friday, April 2nd, 2010
David Cummings, CEO of Hannon Hill & Shotput Ventures on top of the world in Buckhead, Atlanta
ATLANTA – All of the companies founded and incubated through Atlanta’s Shotput Ventures accelerator program will become members of the Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center, says David Cummings, CEO and founder of Hannon Hill Corp., who also shepherds Shotput.
“We’re excited about all the Shotput companies becoming members of ATDC,” Cummings told us from his impressive 33rd floor offices in Atlanta’s Buckhead as traffic helicopters buzzed by at eye-level.
“Last year they were all spread out, which was a challenge. This way they’ll be more active participants in the tech community.”
Only one (Zeta) of last year’s crop of eight companies–seed-funded to the tune of $20,000 each and mentored by Shotput–is “on hold.”
Most of the rest are already generating revenue, he says, and many have already obtained angel funding.
The current crop of Shotput’s startups include: Looxii, which Cummings describes as “Google analytics meets social media.” (For TechJournal South’s profile of Looxii see: Looxii provides easy to use social monitoring tools.)
Shotput’s first set of firms
Event Hive, offers software to make conferences more engaging by allowing polling of the audience and real time audience chat.
Ninja Post updates message board and forum technology, which otherwise has not changed much since its inception. It enables real time conversations via the boards and forums.
Shout Now allows users to broadcast voice mail much as people now do email. You can record a message on a PC and have it sent to any number of cells phones or record audio Tweets or Facebook status updates.
Social Guides Cummings describes as “Twitter meets Yelp.” It lets users publish short reviews of restaurants and bars while there. “You might say about a restaurant, ‘Hey the fish is really good tonight, c’mon over,” Cummings suggests. The service ties in with Twitter.
Open Hatch is a site for open souce developers Cummings says is “Linked in meets open source.” It provides a way for open souce developers to centralize their work in one place. “It’s really useful for getting a job, offering a service, or showing expertise,” Cummings says.
Khush has developed what it’s founding CEO calls “Karoke in reverse,” a cell phone app that lets users sing into the phone and play back their voice with a choice of music backing.
Shotput presents its accelerator companies to the public in a Demo Day event that Cummings says will be able to host many more people this year. You can see demo videos of the firms above here: Demo Day videos.
We’ll be profiling Khush, the Shotput/Hannon Hill corporate culture, and other Shotput Venture firms in upcoming editions of our sister publication TechView Atlanta, as well as on TechJournal South.
Shotput recently opened the application process for its next round of startups: Apply for the Shotput Ventures program.