Local tech startup to present at Michigan Growth Capital SymposiumWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Notice Software, a Toledo-based technology startup, will make a presentation at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium on June 17-18 in Ypsilanti.
Notice Software was selected to be among a handful of startup firms presenting to investors who will be attending the symposium, according to Tim Varner, co-founder and one of the principals of Notice Software.
“You pitch investors about your business and technology, and why it could be world-changing,” said Varner, who will make the presentation for Notice Software. “We’re honored and privileged to present to that caliber of pedigree.”
The symposium serves as a conduit for introducing early-stage and emerging growth companies seeking funding to U.S. investors prospecting deals. It is known for attracting high-quality investors from around the country, according to its organizers.
“We’re proud of what we’ve built and are well ahead of others in the field. We have momentum and our confidence is growing” Varner said about the startup firm founded in 2009 and formally launched in 2013.
Varner met fellow co-founders Burton Miller and Casey Haakenson at South by Southwest, a leading interactive conference in Austin, Texas, in 2011. He said the two top-notch developers were applying push notification technology to the Web.
The founders of Notice Software believe the best way for mobile device users to consume information on the Web is via push notifications. It is becoming the primary way for smartphone users to use applications for websites interacting with users, Varner said.
They began to pursue mobile Web push technology in 2012 when Varner said he convinced them to come to Toledo to establish their new venture. Notice Software launched its Roost technology for Web push notifications in January.
“It becomes an engagement tool to help shape user behavior. More people will browse the Web on mobile devices than on desktop computers. Push notification communicates from apps to users,” Varner said.
Roost will be used by e-commerce sources to engage with mobile customers in real time, he said. It’s already being used by some publishers to alert readers about new content of interest to them.
Roost released a new extension for Joomla on May 28 that enables websites to send browser push notifications to readers. This new marketing channel provides websites a channel to consistently re-engage their most loyal traffic, Varner said.
Born and raised in the Toledo area, Varner was looking to move from contract work to product development. He had worked in digital marketing and media, having established a blog with ESPN.
Burton, who is from Seattle, and Haakenson, who is from Portland, Oregon, and now Hamburg, Germany, agreed to establish the fledgling enterprise in Toledo. The business currently operates out of the Launch Pad Incubator on the University of Toledo campus.
The Launch Pad Incubation Program at UT helps business ventures move from concept to commercialization by providing a framework for companies to become thriving enterprises, according to Molly Reams Thompson, director of business incubation at UT.
Varner said Thompson and the Launch Pad program provide affordable office space for startup firms where collaboration and innovation can thrive. They have been very supportive, he said.
Notice Software closed a $350,000 seed round of investments led by the Rocket Venture Fund in July. It became the 18th company to receive funding from Rocket Ventures.
“The team at Notice/Roost has done a great job of quickly becoming a market leader in one click push notification. It is a great story of the first rate software companies that can be built in and attracted to the Toledo region,” said Bob Savage, president and fund manager for Rocket Ventures.
The startup also received investments from UT Innovation Enterprises and a group of local angel investors, Varner said.
“Rocket Ventures recognized our technology that is strongly ahead of the leading trends. They believe in our vision and gave us space to make enough mistakes to be successful,” Varner said.
Ben Trumbull of Rocket Ventures serves on the board of Notice Software and has been “incredibly helpful to us,” Varner said. He also cited support of their venture from the Regional Growth Partnership and former Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.
“Working with the hardworking, professional team at Notice/Roost has been a pleasure,” Trumbull said.
“The team has made pivots since our first investment; now they have a niche in the push notification market. A lot of companies provide push notifications, but Roost is one of the only products serving digital publishers. This enables their enthusiast readers to subscribe to up-dated content and know breaking news. It allows publishers to draw eyeballs to their webpage — a win-win.”
Varner said Notice has recruited a team of local talent from the Toledo area to help develop and market the Roost technology.
“Notice/Roost is exactly the type of company in which we, at Rocket Ventures, are proud to be a strong partner. Our board member and fund manager Ben Trumbull has done a great job becoming a part of the team, helping to guide the company in early stages, and overseeing our lead investor position in this quickly growing company,” Savage said.
Savage, Trumbull, John Pletz and other members of the Rocket Ventures team plan to attend the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium.
The symposium expects to showcase 35 to 40 of the “best of the Midwest” high-growth companies and emerging technologies. It is expected to draw more than 450 people representing the top investment firms in the U.S.
The firm may have been fortunate to receive the funding it received last year as there could be a shortage of early-stage capital in Ohio.
VentureOhio, the voice of capital and financing sources in the state, reported May 28 that 176 Ohio companies need to raise more than $523 million of early-stage capital over the next 18 months to support continued growth and job creation.
The results are based on the first VentureOhio survey of angel investment groups, entrepreneurial signature programs, venture capital funds, and business accelerators across the state that confirmed the substantial need for early-stage capital in Ohio.
The Ohio Third Frontier program has supported more than 1,000 seed and startup companies in the past decade. A large number of those companies are now at the stage where they require early-stage capital to continue building their business and creating jobs in Ohio, according to VentureOhio’s report.
Rocket Ventures has received funding from the Third Frontier program that it has used to invest in companies like Notice/Roost.
“Ohio-based venture capital firms lack the capacity to meet even 50 percent of this identified and growing need. This lack of capital will likely slow the growth for these companies, which are tremendous engines of job creation in our economy,” John McIlwraith, VentureOhio chairman, stated in the news release announcing the results of the survey.
Tags: Ben Trumbull, Bob Savage, Burton Miller, Casey Haakenson, Innovation Enterprises, John McIlwraith, John Pletz, Launch Pad Incubation Program, Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, Molly Thompson, Notice Software, Ohio Third Frontier, push notifications, Regional Growth Partnership, Rocket Ventures, Roost, South by Southwest, SXSW, Tim Varner, University of Toledo, UT, VentureOhio, Ypsilanti