Marketing Automation Startups

Marketing technology, if you believe the infographics and Gartner, that marketing will spend more on technology by 2017. There are an incredible proliferation of new tools available to marketers and product developers. Here is a short list of the tools that I have been evaluating for automating different parts of the marketing process.

  • Totango – Trial conversions and user engagement.
  • Portrait Sofware – Predictive analytics on best next action and behavioural customer segmentation.
  • Custora – Behavioural segmentation and analytics for retail customers.
  • Intercom.io – It’s like Rapportive for new customer signups.
  • The Sunny Trail – It’s like Rappportive for new customer signups.
  • Spinnakr – Custom target content based on behavioural analytics.
  • RJ Metrics – Hosted analytics.
  • Retenion Science
  • HubSpot – CRM/Marketing Automation
  • Spark by Marketo – Marketing Automation for SMB
  • Pardot – Marketing Automation

A combination of Pipedrive CRM System and HubSpot for the CRM (I just love the stage view for Pipedrive, it’s like Trello or Asana for sales) and then adding Intercom or The Sunny Trail and Spinnakr for specific situations.

What marketing automation and customer engagement tools are you track?

SMS and Canadian Phone Numbers

Photo by
Photo by UggBoy♥UggGirl

I’m a huge fan of Google Voice. I’m not alone the team at TechCrunch also seem to be fans. I would really like to use my 416 number with a provider like Google Voice that let’s me keep this as my primary number but forward calls and SMS messages to a device or application I am using. Basically, I’d like to have my 416 follow me to a T-Mobile number of my choice in the US or a Wind Mobile number or a where ever. Basically I’d like something like Google Voice with a Canadian number.

Why?

I have a Rogers Wireless phone that until very recently has been my primary phone, but with the introduction of the Wind Mobile’s outrageous holiday rate of $40/month I decided to get a new phone. However, because I do travel out of the Wind coverage zone I kept my Rogers phone (it has a 1Gb North American data plan that I use when in the US and rural Ontario). I think MG Siegler has captured by desire to take control of my phone number (which is increasingly my SMS contact point). I’d like to port my 416 number and have access using the devices that are important to me: Android, iOS, SIP phone, softphone, and SMS.

As part of this I started looking at business solutions for the Influitive offices. Theand I’d really like to set up a Canadian business solution. But it seems that the SMS piece particularly for inbound Canadian numbers seems to be the bottleneck. This makes me suspect that the issue is either with the CRTC and a whole bunch of stuff that I just don’t understand (or care to understand) or with CLECs and SS7 hardware and a bunch of other stuff I just don’t understand. Anyone know why I can’t get SMS messages on VoIP providers for Canadian numbers?

I’m trying to find an alternative to Google Voice and a Canadian number. I’m thinking that I will try OpenVoice and Anveo as a SIP provider. I’m hoping this should work.

Provider Cdn Number Port a Cdn Number Inbound SMS to Cdn Number iOS Android Blackberry SIP access Comments
Google Voice Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Limited support of Canadian area codes (403 in Alberta)
Toktumi & Line2 Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ No inbound SMS for Canadian #s, No SIP phones
Phonebooth.com Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/
VoxOx Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ No SIP phones
RingCentral.ca Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ No inbound SMS for Canadian #s
Phone.com Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ No inbound SMS for Canadian #s
Skype for Business Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/
OpenVoiceTropo Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/
OpenVBXTwilio Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/
Cloudvox Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/
Teleku & OpenVBX Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Supports Teleku and Google Voice SMS forwarding with Gizmo5
Ribbit
Grasshopper
Asterisk & SIP phone

Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Great services. Managing a asterisk install was too much for me. LES.net rumored to have SMS inbound in Feb 2011.
Anveo Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/ Icon by http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/

What are other startups using for their office phone system? I’m leaning towards RingCentral.ca. I know a few others that are using OneConnect, but it bugs me they don’t list their prices.

But hoping others have thoughts? Opinions?

Goodbye Microsoft, so long and thanks for all the bits

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/2049233526/
Photo by Stuck in Customs

Can you believe that it has been 1230 days since I announced I was joining Microsoft? I’m guessing a lot of people lost out on that one in the over/under pool. Well, it has been a fantastic 3 years, 4 months and 7 days so far, unfortunately there are only 4 days left until it’s over for me. Effective Friday, September 24, 2010 I will be leaving Microsoft Canada.

I’m heading back into the fray. Or as John so eloquently puts it, I will be starting on a new path, with some old friends and the plan is actually quite simple:
Have fun and try to take over the world responsibly. I’ve spent the past 3+ years talking to entrepreneurs about programs like BizSpark and trying to help them build on the emerging Microsoft technologies and platform. I’m looking forward to getting back in the trenches and using customer development to build and ship products.

I’m not alone. There are a few of the folks that I’ve worked with or been lucky enough to call a friend that have also left Microsoft in the past year including: Don Dodge, Adam Kinney, Scott Barnes and others. This didn’t impact my decision to leave, it’s more just a curious observation.

As a sidenote, I’m pretty sure that John will be looking for a ISV DE (in non-Microsoft acronym speak: a developer evangelist focused on independent software vendors). What does an ISV DE do? Here’s the ISV DE job description from Belgium.

The ISV Developer Evangelist mission is to drive platform adoption and revenue growth with depth and breadth ISVs. The ISV Developer Evangelist is focused on winning ISV adoption of Microsoft platform technologies by working with ISV senior technology decision makers within these organizations. This is accomplished by collaborating with the ISV PAM (Partner Account Manager) to build a well-managed, mutually beneficial alliance that drives revenue growth and expands the reach of strategic Microsoft products within the partner’s solution portfolio.

It was a great time to be a part of the Developer & Platform Evangelism team at Microsoft Canada. And if I’d consider working with John Oxley (@joxley), Mark Relph (@mrelph) and the team again in the future. If you’re looking for a fun gig working with ISVs including startups and emerging companies, make sure you follow up with John.

Outsourced play

Hockey Fan
Photo by shuck

I learned about the idea of outsourcing play from Alex Manu’s book The Imagination Challenge. I’m guilty of outsourcing play from Formula1 to UFC (don’t ask, but it’s cathartic and I feel a little schadenfreude). Evidence of the continued outsourcing of play is the continued meteoric rise of fantasy sports.

“It is estimated that 26 million Americans play some form of fantasy sports league, a fact that has created an industry worth close to $1 billion a year according to the U.S.-based Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

“The average amount that each of these players spends on their hobby might be $500 per year or so, moreover, these figures appear to be growing — even in a down economy — at near-double-digit annual rates.”

If those figures continue at that pace, fantasy will soon overtake reality. Professor Quinn points out that, by comparison, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) total attendance is 25 million per year, bringing in close to $3 billion in the process.” – James Montague, CNN

InGamer SportsThere are a number of new startups attacking this growing market space. There are some changing dynamics with the availability of real-time data that offer a change in the game play that has been the weekly engagement model of traditional fantasy sports pools. There is a Toronto-based startup, InGamer Sports, that is building a new game using the realtime statistics for baseball and hockey to engage players. They launched during Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals with The Hockey News. Nic Sulsky provided metrics about their launch. 

InGamer Numbers from Game 1 (Nic says “small but powerful”)

  • 0$ spent marketing only a link on TheHockeyNews.com
  • 113 Unique Visitors
  • 40:19 Average time on site
  • 52 Games created (46% conversion)
  • 37 Registered Games
  • 18 Unique Taunters
  • 228 Taunts
  • 28 people had their browsers open to the end of the game

I don’t have any ability to judge the metrics, i.e., I’m not an expert at the existing traffic or conversation rates for fantasy sports and The Hockey News. It’s a fun game, you pick 5 players who get points for their performance. You have the option to select new players that change at each period. You can then in real-time taunt and challenge your compatriots. The interaction is currently 100% web-based but it’s not a huge stretch to see the UI move beyond the browser to mobile in particular. Great fun, too bad it’s not Toronto (like the Leafs are making it to the Cup, pipedream) and Calgary I can hear John Bristowe taunting Mark Relph in real-time.

It’s great to see InGamer build an application that extends the impact that leagues and players have with their fans. It’s a great opportunity to build deeper experiences and help get fans to that flow state of engagement while watching their favourite teams. It’s not full baked and they are changing based on customer data.

Interested?

You can play tonight during Game 3, and the best part the Sutter family will be playing InGamer. Check out http://hockey.ingamersports.com/ or http://playerscup.thehockeynews.com to play.

XTreme Labs Inc. – Mobile Game/Application Developer

Toronto, ON

xtremelabs XTreme Labs is a Toronto/San Francisco-based agile development shop focused on working with early stage Internet and mobile companies. We are backed by a leading group of technology and finance executives, including Extreme Venture Partners.

You are a mobile developer with big aspirations to work on the next generation of games/applications for mobile devices (some devices that are out, and some not yet released). You will launch games/applications on various mobile devices that will be live in the various application stores.

Thrive in a start-up environment and join a leading team in the creation of world-class applications. You’ll be responsible for:

  • Developing new BlackBerry/iPhone/Android games/applications
  • Releasing new versions of games/applications as new devices and OS’s are released to the marketplace
  • Enhancing application performance, usability, memory use and application size

Required Skills and Experience

  • Must have 1-3 years experience in development on at least one of mobile, internet or desktop platforms
  • Proficiency in at least one of Java, C++, Ruby
  • Experience with UI design/graphics development is highly advantageous
  • Must have real world experience with object oriented design and a clear understanding of object oriented design patterns
  • Flash, ActionScript and Rails knowledge advantageous
  • Ability to work independently, take initiative and contribute new ideas required in a diverse, fast-paced, team environment.
  • Experience or interest in Agile software development practices and principles (e.g. TDD, Pair Programming, Refactoring, Continuous Integration…) a plus
  • Organization and analytic skills, with exceptional problem solving ability
  • A degree in a computer-related field

Benefits

  • Free breakfast every morning and lunch on Friday’s
  • Downtown Toronto’s best rooftop patio
  • Access to a Playstation 3 and Microsoft Surface in our games room
  • Free access to onsite gym
  • Full benefits

Apply

Resume to jobs@xtremelabs.com

Noomii – UE/Web Designer

Vancouver, BC

Noomii is a Vancouver-based web startup in need of a full-time UE/web designer who is interested in making our site look great and work with intuitive ease.

At the minimum, you should be well versed in modern markup and design techniques. You understand the importance of markup validity and keep style and content separate. You should have an established portfolio of web-based work showcasing your visual design and technical layout skills. You have experience dealing with and resolving cross browser CSS issues (*though this is a bit easier at noomii since we’ve dropped support for IE6).

In addition to making things look good, you should be a "UE" nerd. You should be keenly considerate of how every detail in your design affects navigation and usage. You will create mock-ups and paper-based designs for new features, convert mock-ups into working HTML files and sit in on live user-testing for feedback on our product.

Above all the skills necessary to fulfill this job, you are passionate and excited about the emergence of web-based applications and the advancement of UI principles. You focus on the details and get things done right.

This position is being offered as a short-term contract and if you prove to be the the right fit, we want to hire you full-time with additional benefits and potential stock options.

You must work in our Vancouver office. Telecommuting is not an option. Do not contact us if you do not live in (or are not willing to relocate to) the Vancouver area.

Required skills and experience

  • Have ‘owned’ the CSS on an interactive website
  • Understand everything comes down to user experience
  • Paper prototyping
  • HTML and advanced CSS layout / design
  • Photoshop or Illustrator
  • Javascript experience (ideally jQuery)
  • Simplicity
  • Elegance

Nice to have

  • Multiple device/media layouts (ie. for iPhones)
  • Color theory
  • Conducted and observed user-testing
  • Developed a design guide
  • SEO

About Us

Noomii launched in October 2008 (http://www.noomii.com). Since then we have had steady user-growth and positive press.

If you want to directly contribute to a great product, work in an exciting and fast-paced environment, and join our growing team of top-notch developers, send your resume to jobs@noomii.com.

Viagra for Startups

Startups read this.

Great Companies

Dave McClure has a great pitch presentation. It’s all about the information that investors, VCs in particular, want to see. It’s a great summary about how investors want to see a company, the problem, the technology, the market and the secret sauce presented. My favourite is that Great Companies do 1+ of the following:

  • Get you LAID = sex
  • Get you PAID = money
  • Get you MADE = power

All entrepreneurs should read Startup Metrics for Pirates.