VentureClash provides early-stage companies worldwide with an opportunity to grow their business in Connecticut. The goal is to help speed Digital Health, FinTech, InsurTech and Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to market by awarding capital to promising early-stage companies.
At the $5 million pitch competition, early-stage companies are joined by experts, investors, entrepreneurs, customers, and educators where finalists will pitch to a panel of judges. With the recognition that it takes more than money to succeed, competitors also receive access to a critical network of customers, investors, mentors, and talent.
Davra Networks CEO Paul Glynn shared information about the company’s innovative IoT product and plans to build a base in Connecticut.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Tell us about your company/when and why did it launch?
PAUL GLYNN: Having sold our previous company, Crannog Software, the core Davra team reformed in 2011 with a few to provide network and connectivity management solutions to the emerging IoT market. We quickly realized that the “T” in IoT is much more important than the “I,” so we expanded our offering to include management and visualization of asset data.
We now partner with some of the biggest technology companies in the industry including Cisco, Intel, Amazon, and Dell all of whom bring solutions to market based on our platform.
IDH: What makes your product innovative?
PAUL: ConnecThing is an application enablement platform (AEP) that enables end users, system integrators, and service providers to develop managed network and data services for the IoT.
Although horizontal in design with functionality and customers in healthcare, mining, utilities, and smart cities, our platform is particularly suited to connected transportation projects with a specific focus in connected fleet, emergency services, mass transit and rail.
IDH: Why do you feel it is important for your company to have a U.S. presence?
PAUL: The United States is the largest market for IoT projects worldwide and will account for more than 50% of our revenues in 2017. Having a local base here to manage our rapidly growing partner channel is long overdue and will greatly enhance our ability to execute right across the Americas.
IDH: What challenges do international businesses face when trying to establish a presence in the United States? Why is Connecticut a good fit?
PAUL: Working across multiple time zones is particularly difficult for startups, as by their nature they don’t have a lot of resources and teams end up working very long days. Once you start to get established and bring more customers online, this becomes increasingly problematic and the “hands-on, relationship-driven” nature of the startup business model comes under pressure.
As an Irish company, having an East Coast office gives us a good section of the day to collaborate but also enables us to seamlessly pass tasks as our European team wind down in the evening.
Also, and maybe quite surprisingly, negative coverage of the high corporate tax rates in Connecticut seems to have created a number of “soft” benefits for smaller companies like ours to relocate with really creative funding mechanisms like VentureClash and support organizations like Innovation Destination: Hartford enhancing the states attractiveness by creating harnesses and support mechanisms not necessarily available elsewhere. Also, direct flights to Dublin help too—I hate layovers!
IDH: How did you become involved with VentureClash?
PAUL: We met the team from Connecticut Innovations at an event in Dublin where they were speaking to Irish startups at the seed and series A stage and the rest is history.
IDH: What did you hope to gain from the experience of participating in VentureClash?
PAUL: It's all about contacts. Getting to engage with and present our story to companies like Stanley Black and Decker, Pitney Bowes, Sikorsky, and Travelers is invaluable and offers us the opportunity of opening business relationships that may have otherwise been a struggle.
Also, VentureClash is a great opportunity to refine our pitch in front of quite a range of judges and investors, many of whom will take a very different view of a company than a traditional venture capitalist would, so all in all it’s a great opportunity and a great experience to be part of the VentureClash program.
IDH: Where do you hope to see the company in one year’s time?
PAUL: At this point, we pretty much know where we’ll be in one years’ time, its two, three, and four years that are harder to judge. That said, having won top prize at VentureClash we’d expect to have a team of six to eight people in Connecticut and have developed a strong (and profitable) working partnership with at least one of the sponsor companies.
Our base in Connecticut would be actively managing a growing partner channel across the United States, Canada and Latin America, and they will have added at least one new high-level vendor partner to our portfolio, which is a key building block of our go-to market strategy.
Having a U.S. presence will allow us to expand our revenues considerably and build on the foundations we’ve already created, so all in all it’s a big milestone and one that we’re excited to get to.
Roll on 2018.
Learn more about Davra Networks
Learn about other VentureClash 2017 finalists
- Bought By Many – London-Based InsurTech Company Is a Ventureclash Finalist
- FRISS – InsurTech Startup from The Netherlands is a VentureClash Finalist
- Peekmed – Portuguese Healthcare Startup Creates CT Presence
- SCADAfence – Israeli IoT Startup Second Place VentureClash Winner
- Telespec – Canadian IoT Startup is a VentureClash Finalist
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge, launched in 2016, identifies high-potential companies in digital health, IoT, InsureTech and FinTech that will compete for investments from a $5 million award pool. Visit www.ventureclash.com to learn about qualifications, requirements, guidelines, and how to apply.
About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations provides venture capital and strategic support for innovative, early-stage technology companies; financial support for innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, visit www.ctinnovations.com or read our interview with Connecticut Innovations CEO Matt McCooe.