Posted by & filed under Future of Work, Startup.

I recently attended the O’Reilly Solid Convention. it was very very cool, and right at the heart of current enthusiasm for ‘makers’, for IoT, and for hackery of all types. If you’re interested, go ahead and check out some of their videos. I’ll still be here.

One talk I found particularly inspiring introduced a new device designed to use empathic technology to very simply increase alertness or relaxation – the founder of doppel talked about some of the background to their work, exploring phenomena like the rubber hand illusion, and how this can be generalized with digital hands, and explored a range of doppelother cognitive illusions. The end result of their exploration was a very down to earth wearable device that provides a heartbeat like pulse that produces statistically significant changes in human physiology and performance. Unfortunately there is no video of this talk, but it is worth taking a look at their kickstarter.

I’m fascinated by these types of cognitive hacks, imagine how phenomena like this could enhance virtual reality, or make virtual meetings more productive. There’s amazing new innovation out there around giving new senses – such as seeing with the to2020 landscape docngue (now FDA approved), or explorations into adding a directional sense. The idea of using technology to make us stronger, faster, and more productive is introduced in the Citrix 2020 technology landscape document and is a one element of how our workplaces will change in the near future.

Another rapidly emerging area is the use of voice recognition. I’ve been using the Amazon Echo at home, and it’s amazing how quickly even the most technophobic of my family are willing to use this device. ‘Alexa, play <a random annoying teen pop artist> radio’. It’s fast, easy, and dramatically reduces barriers to use.

As of today, the types of commands provided natively by Echo are relatively simple. Yet even in challenging situations Echo can hear and understand requests so well that it feels like magic. Imagine having this technology in the workplace – in every meeting room. No more having to work out terrible user interface around different display options and more.

Check out a demo of this in action at Citrix Synergy 2015 with the Citrix Workplace Hub and Octoblu.

What about having meeting rooms that can identify who’s physically in a meeting, the discussion themes, if people are upset, or indeed foster better collaboration. Imagine having the Jarvis virtual assistant from ‘Iron Man’ at your work. Or, if thats not your scene, what else might be coming soon? How about instant hardware prototyping? What new IoT devices might make sense in the workplace? What if we could trial the hardware as simply and easily as software?

Future of workOne of the themes for Citrix Startup Accelerator is the ‘future of work’. The goal for this investment theme is to invest in first class startups, bringing new approaches and capabilities to these emerging themes in how our workplaces become more productive, and more human-centric. One example from our portfolio is WhoKnows. WhoKnows is an amazing company bringing very pragmatic improvements to the way we understand the rest of our team, and indeed everyone in the organization. I like to think of them as making the whole of a large company as simple to work with as a single workgroup. This is a huge challenge and one that existing approaches have not yet solved.

Do you have a great new approach to ‘The future of work’? Let me know.

Michael

Downtown-Raleigh-from-Western-Boulevard-Overpass-20081012

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

I had the pleasure of spending the second week of April in Raleigh, North Carolina. Spring was in the air (even if it was raining the whole time) and each person with whom I spoke imparted a sense of excitement about Raleigh’s leading role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. If any organization provides a clear example of Raleigh’s attraction for entrepreneurs it’s our program partner, HQ Raleigh. Launched in 2013 this community workspace hosts over 100 startups and consistently has a wait list of about 15 companies. To keep up with demand HQ Raleigh is tripling its workspace through a 20,000 square foot expansion. I was lucky to join Liz Tracy, director of community engagement at HQ Raleigh, for lunch one afternoon and the energy of the community was palpable. Dozens of community members ate together and shared beers from the tap while discussing the progress and challenges in their respective companies.

The Raleigh Innovators Program community connecting at the spring reunion.Later in the week, when meeting with James Sauls the Director of Economic Development in Raleigh, I was impressed by the city’s commitment to positioning the City of Raleigh as a top destination for entrepreneurs to live and work. Last year the City of Raleigh was an important partner to the Citrix Startup Accelerator Innovators Program when it sponsored a year’s membership at HQ Raleigh for each team that completed the program. We look forward to continuing this relationship for the next innovators program.

On Thursday, April 17 Liz Tracy and I hosted a reunion on the Citrix rooftop patio to celebrate our teams that completed the Innovators Program Raleigh in December. In between games of bocce ball each company gave an update on their product progress, which you can read about below. One of the teams that stood out to me was Re:bar. Founders Michele Pavone and Grady Slane are two Citrix employees who imagined a way of using machine learning to manage email inboxes. At the end of the program Citrix decided not to continue with the product, but Michele and Grady have taken the design thinking and lean startup skills they learned in the program and educate their peers in an effort to improve Citrix product development.

I can’t wait for the next Innovators Program Raleigh, which will take place September – December 2015 with applications opening in July. Until then, the Citrix Startup Accelerator is launching the Innovators Program in Santa Barbara, California. Applications are open until May 29th with the program starting on June 8th. Apply now.

 

Raleigh Company Updates

Akili Software

Akili Software has passed some critical milestones since the Citrix Demo Day last December.  The Savii Care platform went live in January and the Savii Connect mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices.  The team ended the demo day with 3 pilot customers. As of April, Akili Software has 10 paying customers in 7 states and 2 pilots underway with a pipeline of 16 additional customers.  I have meeting scheduled with 2 different franchise directors in the next 2 weeks and one of the pilots is our first Canadian account.

Akili Software is currently fundraising for its seed round. It has secured its first investor commitment with two additional interested investors. The team hopes to close the seed round by August.

By the end of the 2nd Quarter Akili Software’s plans to have 20 accounts and/or 600 active clients in the Savii Care database.

Re:Bar

Re:bar wasn’t funded by Citrix, but Michele Pavone and Grady Slane have taken the lean startup and design thinking methodology they learned in the Innovators Program and are using it to run workshops within their Citrix product teams, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of product development within Citrix.

Most recently, Michele and Grady supported Citrix Hackweek by facilitating the Lean Startup Interviewing 101 workshop and a 90-minute Design Thinking workshop.

Michele will continue to work with the internal ShareFile Product Line Groups as well as the PM team to conduct workshops centered on the Business Model Canvas

Userlite

Userlite has continued to grow its user base while rolling out new use cases for our technology. A Userlite “instance” is like a Slack sub-domain. Each company, group, or organization has its own Userlite instance, and each instance can have one or more users. To date, Userlite has launched more than 500 instances and has more than 4000 users. Userlite is being used daily by startups, medical offices, teachers, and students, including the Citrix Startup Accelerator to manage its Innovators Program.

Castr

Castr has hardware 90% assembled. Adam Ismail and Sophia Su have worked hard with the excellent UX team and mobile developers at ShareFile to create a gorgeous mobile app design. Castr is working with DXLab to take the product design to the next level and the team is partnering with Smashing Boxes to develop the software platform. The team is excited to finish the next iteration of prototypes and get them to the field for testing and learning!

 

 

Posted by & filed under Innovators Program, Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara

In 1997 UCSB Professor Klaus Schauser and graduate students Bernd Christianson and Malte Muenke founded the startup Expertcity, which revolutionized the way that people can collaborate across locations and time zones. Citrix acquired Expertcity in 2003 jumpstarting a long relationship between Citrix and the innovative community of Santa Barbara. Over the years the Santa Barbara entrepreneur community has continued to grow with almost 200 startups listed on Angel List today.

 

It’s because of this dynamic community of innovators and entrepreneurs that we are excited to announce the Innovators Program Santa Barbara!

We are looking for fantastic innovation teams (two or more people) who want to build great new products.  Teams successfully completing the program will be awarded a $20k grant.

If you have an idea for a new product for business, from small to large enterprises, we are currently accepting applications until May 28th.

Our signature 12-week Innovators Program embraces core principles of design thinking, lean startup and modern leadership to enable both early-stage startups and corporate teams to rapidly test and validate their business models in the market.

This is a cohort-driven, mentor-assisted program. It is an intense program so participants will be expected to work hard.

Applications are open until May 28th.  We’ll kickoff the week of June 8th.   More details here.  Apply now.