Local software development firm Don’t Panic Labs is excited to announce their first annual Towel Day towel drive will be held on Thursday, May 25.
The drive kicks off at 10 am outside the Don’t Panic Labs offices at 151 N 8th Street in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket District (just outside of KD Designs and Scooters – in the event of inclement weather, the team will be located inside Scooters at 8th and P Streets). Team members will be on hand to collect new or gently used towels that will be donated to the People’s City Mission. Cash donations to purchase more towels will also be accepted. The team will receive donations until 3 pm.
At 4 pm, the team will officially present the towels to People’s City Mission representatives in the Don’t Panic Labs’ offices. The public and press are welcome to attend.
“Giving back to the community is in our DNA,” said CTO and co-founder Doug Durham. “We wanted to take part in the celebration of Douglas Adams and the inspiration for our name, but we also wanted to help address a need that’s right in our own backyard. The team’s concept is quirky, but it’s also emblematic of how we work. We identify the problem, develop a plan, and then execute.”
The date of the drive holds special meaning for Don’t Panic Labs. May 25 is internationally-recognized as Towel Day in celebration of the late science fiction writer Douglas Adams. The company’s name was inspired by a line from Adams’ best-known novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In it, towels are regarded as “the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”
Software design and engineering firm Don’t Panic Labs was recognized as one of Lincoln’s Best Places to Work at an award luncheon on April 27th at the Cornhusker Hotel. The company was recognized in the Small company category by Woods & Aitken LLP, the Lincoln Journal Star, and the Lincoln Human Resource Management Association, founders of the Best Places to Work in Lincoln.
The Best Places to Work in Lincoln program, which was started in 2013, recognizes local companies who, through a third party administered employee survey, rank their respective companies as being the best places to work. The areas surveyed are varied parts of employee life, including workplace environment, leadership direction, culture, and management practices.
“We’re honored to be recognized with this award,” said CTO and co-founder Doug Durham. “From our very beginning we have wanted to create the kind of culture that not only produces the best possible software but also fosters creativity and a sense of belonging for the team. I think we’re on the right track.”
Don’t Panic Labs recently wrapped up their first Software Design and Development Clinic at their offices. The week-long course is designed to start transforming experienced developers into software engineers capable of managing complex software systems.
It was led by Don’t Panic Labs employees Doug Durham, who also serves as company CTO, and software architect Chad Michel. Students from various Lincoln software companies covered advanced software development methodologies and used hands-on exercises so students could immediately practice what they learned.
“What we are teaching here is so important,” said Durham. “Like any engineering practice, software design must follow certain principles if it is to be effective. Since this can include deep-dives into complex subjects, we keep the classes small to provide opportunities for discussion.”
“Only about one third of the course is lecture with the rest of it set aside for exercises with real-world code,” said Michel. “That gives everyone time to put into practice the topics we covered and then discuss any challenges they may have run into.”
Durham added, “Our hope is that students take away from this class a better approach to software design and that they can share it with their teams. What we teach here is based on our years of experience and the success we’ve had with it. We want others to succeed as well.”
The Software Design and Development Clinic is designed for developers who work well at adapting existing patterns, effective at completing work in a timely manner, and can communicate what they learn to other developers.
For more information about the course and upcoming dates, visit dontpaniclabs.com/education.
Don’t Panic Labs, the development arm of the Lincoln-based software investment fund Nebraska Global, is pleased to announce its investment in DealAnyDay, an online service that helps people save money with a list of no-coupon deals in their city.
The DealAnyDay app enables customers to find deals based on the location of their mobile device, from a city-based list, or with a map of "Nearby" deals. It is free for businesses to list a deal and free for people to use a deal. Businesses can increase their visibility by using DealAnyDay’s premium “Featured” tier, which promotes their listings to the top of relevant search results and on the first page of their app.
"People love us – no coupons, nothing to buy, no points to manage, just an easy way to instantly discover great deals,” said Mailani Veney, president of DealAnyDay. "Businesses love us – no revenue sharing, no loyalty program, just an easy way to attract new customers on their phones."
DealAnyDay’s approach is different because its entries are human-curated. In most of its cities, DealAnyDay is the only company that lists local deals in one app: Food & Drink specials, Happy Hour specials, and non-food deals like oil changes, haircuts, and movie tickets.
The DealAnyDay mobile app is the result of a partnership forged with Don’t Panic Labs in late 2015. By co-locating at the Don’t Panic Labs offices, the two teams were able to closely collaborate on development of a highly-functional yet easy-to-use mobile app.
"We chose to partner with Don't Panic Labs because we were looking for a strategic technology partner and not just an outsourced contractor," said Veney. "Our partnership with Don't Panic Labs has truly accelerated DealAnyDay's growth."
“As we got to know the DealAnyDay team and saw their passion and tenacity, we knew we wanted to partner with them,” said Brian Zimmer, Business Director at Don’t Panic Labs. “Our team is excited to be involved in creating the foundation of DealAnyDay’s mobile strategy. By leveraging our expertise in Xamarin, we are able to accelerate time to market and reduce overall maintenance and development efforts for both iOS and Android.”
The DealAnyDay mobile app can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.
The DealAnyDay team is based out of the Don’t Panic Labs’ offices in the Historic Haymarket District of Lincoln, Nebraska.
For more information about DealAnyDay, visit http://dealanyday.com/lincoln.
Don’t Panic Labs, the development arm of the Lincoln-based software investment fund Nebraska Global, is proud to announce its investment in fourstarzz, a social media influencer search engine.
fourstarzz assists marketers in finding social media personalities – known as influencers – that best fit the needs of their marketing campaigns. The process of identifying influencers can be a time consuming experience, but fourstarzz shortens that time by leveraging extensive analysis to not only find campaign relevant influencers but also provide the necessary information to connect marketers with the appropriate influencer platforms.
fourstarzz was founded in 2015 by Dennis Doerfl of Vienna, Austria and Daniel Troesch of Berlin, Germany. The two recently moved to Lincoln to begin development of the fourstarzz system with Don’t Panic Labs.
"Lincoln is the perfect hub to conquer the US market with our services,” said Doerfl. “It is centrally located and offers all the ingredients fourstarzz was looking for. The rise of Silicon Prairie, great entrepreneurs, smart investors, and the people of Nebraska shape such an attractive environment. It was an easy decision."
“We're incredibly lucky. The great DPL team on our side breathes software development and the office is a picture-perfect startup environment,” said Troesch.
“This fourstarzz partnership fits perfectly with our strategy of building companies by combining passionate entrepreneurs with domain expertise with our product development team and processes,” said Doug Durham, Nebraska Global and Don’t Panic Labs CTO. “We feel strongly that this creates a powerful engine for product validation and success while lowering the risk on the business and development side.”
fourstarzz recently signed a deal with opendorse, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based athlete endorsement platform. This opens fourstarzz’s search capabilities to opendorse’s extensive platform and increases the number of potential influencers that can be found.
opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence said, "A solution like fourstarzz deserves to exist in today's digital marketing world. With the growth of the influencer marketing industry, advertisers must navigate a myriad of networks to find the best influencer for their campaign, a challenging experience for even the most veteran brand marketers. fourstarzz serves as a one-stop shop for advertisers, simplifying the process and helping their influencer network partners benefit along the way."
The fourstarzz team is based out of Don’t Panic Labs’ offices in the Historic Haymarket District of Lincoln, Nebraska.
For more information about fourstarzz, visit http://fourstarzz.com/.
Nebraska Global, the Lincoln based software investment fund, announced that Beehive Industries has closed on a $2.5M Series A financing led by Advantage Capital Partners, a growth capital and small business finance firm. Beehive, launched in 2011 in Nebraska Global’s incubator, is a provider of asset and infrastructure management software for state and local government, utilities, construction, telecommunications, and other asset-intensive industries.
This round of capital is earmarked for expansive sales and marketing growth throughout the U.S. The positive response to Beehive’s solutions has created the need to expand its team and operations throughout the country. The company is looking to add 20-30 additional jobs.
“Beehive embodies the Nebraska Global model,” said Patrick Smith, Principal and co-founder of Nebraska Global, and advisor to Beehive. “We assembled a team around a passionate founder with an idea and domain expertise, provided the initial funding, product development and support, and grew revenue into the seven figures to get it positioned for scaled expansion and a Series A round. We now welcome Advantage Capital to the team.”
Nebraska Global has provided all of the funding since inception.
“We are excited about our investment with Beehive Industries. Their future is bright and we are looking forward to their expansion and the jobs our investment will foster in Nebraska,” stated Tony Metzner, Vice President at Advantage Capital Partners.
Both Nebraska Global and Beehive look forward to the newly formed partnership with Advantage Capital and their team. This new relationship will continue to enable each to greatly impact venture financing and business growth throughout the State of Nebraska.
Nebraska Global is proud to announce it has been qualified as a member of the Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program and has become a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). To qualify for the Cloud Accelerate program, partners must successfully demonstrate their cloud services expertise and provide customer references to demonstrate successful customer implementations and satisfaction. To earn a Microsoft AER authorization, partners must complete a test to prove their level of academic licensing and market expertise.
Nebraska Global’s inclusion in the Cloud Accelerate and AER programs are the result of its support of local nonprofits. Since 2011, Nebraska Global has migrated 12 nonprofits to Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of products and services, which Microsoft makes available free of charge for qualifying organizations. Nebraska Global’s work has resulted in nearly half a million dollars in technology savings.
This volunteer-driven effort is one component of the Nebraska Global Nonprofit Technology Fund, a partnership with the Lincoln Community Foundation that helps nonprofits improve their technology infrastructure. Along with updating software, Nebraska Global volunteers also assess the hardware currently used by nonprofits. If upgrades are needed, Nebraska Global facilitates finding the right components and installs them free of charge. If funds are needed to cover one-time technology costs, the partnership with the Lincoln Community Foundation allows nonprofits to receive grants for financial assistance.
“Nebraska Global’s membership in the Microsoft Partner Network helps us serve our community,” said Amanda Garner, Nebraska Global’s Director of Community Outreach. “By helping one nonprofit save thousands of dollars from their annual operating budget, Nebraska Global is helping the entire philanthropic ecosystem in the community by making charitable funds go further. The Lincoln Community Foundation believes in that philosophy as well, so our partnership with LCF helps to reach more nonprofits.”
Lincoln-based group travel planner Travefy recently took top honor and was awarded an $8,500 prize package in a local “Shark Tank”-like pitch competition.
More than 30 companies applied to present their ideas at Get Started Omaha, a competition held April 24th at the Holland Performing Arts Center in downtown Omaha. The event was hosted by Cox Business and Inc. magazine.
Travefy was one of only five companies selected to pitch their ideas live to a panel of judges and in front of an audience of over 200.
“It was an honor to participate in the event and win among such a talented and inspiring set of companies. We also greatly appreciate the expert panel advice and everyone who came out to the event", said Travefy CEO and co-found David Chait.
Travefy is free online group travel planner that solves the coordination headaches of traveling with groups. Users can collaborate on trip itineraries, book travel deals, and collect shared expenses from any device.
Nebraska Global added Travefy to their investment portfolio in 2013. Travefy is based out of Nebraska Global’s offices in the Historic Haymarket District of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Travefy recently released several new product enhancements including a fully mobile responsive design as well as access to over 500,000 vacation rentals across the globe. Users can now access over 8 million activities, restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and deals to post, discuss and build their perfect shared itinerary.
For more information about Travefy, visit http://www.travefy.com/.
Nebraska Global is pleased to announce Omaha-based Prairie Cloudware, Inc as its most recent investment. Nebraska Global joins partners Treetop Ventures, Tetrad Development Corporation, and Nelnet with its investment in this early-stage company.
Prairie Cloudware is focused on building solutions that will allow customers of banks and credit unions to make mobile payments in a safe and convenient manner. With this investment, Prairie Cloudware will undertake research and development – including prototyping – of key components of their solution set.
“Our goal is to build a world class company on the Silicon Prairie that will play a major role in enabling financial institutions to support the customer’s desire to safely use mobile devices to purchase goods and services,” states Kevin Kammer, CEO of Prairie Cloudware. “With the support of our investors, we have begun building our team and our prototype as we tap into the rich payment and software development expertise available in Omaha, Lincoln and the surrounding areas.”
“Our commitment is to facilitate the growth and development of early stage Nebraska technology companies with the potential to deliver innovative solutions to the marketplace. Prairie Cloudware is one of those companies,” said Patrick Smith, co-founder and COO of Nebraska Global. “Mobile devices will be the preferred option for the purchase of goods and services in the future. We believe financial institutions that wish to protect their payment franchise will look to companies like Prairie Cloudware to provide them with solutions that do just that.”
Prairie Cloudware will continue to operate from its location in Omaha.
Learn more at http://www.prairiecloudware.com/.
Nebraska Global is proud to announce an investment and partnership with National Research Corporation (NASDAQ: NRCIA). This collaboration leverages Nebraska Global’s software engineering resources to increase and accelerate development of NRC’s Connect healthcare platform.
Connect provides technological solutions that help healthcare organizations reduce admissions and increase patient satisfaction. Connect ensures healthcare organizations are engaging patients in an informed way about individual preferences, needs, risks, and experiences.
When NRC determined it needed to quickly enhance and expand the scope of Connect, they approached Nebraska Global to assist with the development.
“With the technology and innovation background of the Nebraska Global team, we knew they would be a perfect fit,” said Andy Monnich, Connect Managing Director. “The unique competencies of Nebraska Global and NRC will quickly bring to market our innovative platform and suite of programs.”
This partnership enables NRC to merge their market knowledge and relationships with Nebraska Global’s technology and innovation background to create a state-of-the-art platform that helps improve patient care.
The Connect team from NRC joins Nebraska Global in their offices in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket District.
Monnich added, “We also recognized that the only way this collaboration would be truly effective was if we were working together at the same location. With Nebraska Global’s great space in the Haymarket, co-location of the Connect team was an easy decision.”
“What is not to like about this? It’s an opportunity to partner with great domain and market expertise,” said Patrick Smith, Principal and co-founder of Nebraska Global. “Combining that opportunity with excellent management, a growing customer base, and our team who can build the right software at the right pace will provide better support for both Connect and their customers. This partnership is in our sweet spot and we look forward to seeing where this ends up over the next few years.”
Learn more information about Connect, visit http://nrcconnect.nationalresearch.com/.
In keeping with its mission of establishing long-term economic development in the State of Nebraska though software companies, Nebraska Global is pleased to announce its investment in group travel planner Travefy.
Travefy remedies the challenges of group travel planning. Through Travefy, a user can invite friends to travel, poll dates and locations, collaborate on details, book hotels, and manage expenses.
“Group travel can be complicated and at times completely frustrating,” said David Chait, co-founder and CEO of Travefy. “With Travefy, we’ve built a solution that addresses the pain points of group travel on one simple and appealing platform.”
The beta version of Travefy’s expense management tool was recently released and allows trip participants to track and settle group expenses. Upon completion of a trip, Travefy will send all trip participants who owe money a simple balance for payment - those who are owed funds are then paid back in real time. This tool was built in partnership with SlidePay, and a mobile companion is due Fall 2013.
Nebraska Global’s investment will help support the scaling and commercialization of Travefy’s group traveling platform.
“David and Chris epitomize what we like to see in a founder group, bolstered by David moving from New York to Nebraska to make Travefy a reality. We look forward to seeing their continued progression of Travefy,” said Patrick Smith, co-founder and COO of Nebraska Global.
The Travefy team is located in the Nebraska Global offices in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket District.
Learn more at www.travefy.com.
Nebraska Global continues to develop and fund viable, long-term businesses in Nebraska with the announcement of its latest investment, Nebraska Global Health Ventures.
Nebraska Global Health Ventures (NGHV) aims to revolutionize in-room patient monitoring in the health care industry with solutions that increase the level of care and efficiency of providers and improves the outcomes of patients. At the core of the NGHV solutions is proprietary and patent-pending 3D camera technology developed by Nebraska Global's R&D arm, Don't Panic Labs. The core of this unique technology has been in use for nearly two years by a separate Nebraska Global company, EliteForm, and its PowerTracker sports science system, which is implemented by top colleges, professional sports teams, and military Special Forces around the world.
"We are building an entire longitudinal platform, not just a single application. Just like health care itself, there are a lot of varied-yet-connected parts and Nebraska Global Health Ventures is putting them together into a one-of-a-kind, world-class solution," said Steve Kiene, Nebraska Global Managing Principal.
The first specific area being addressed by NGHV involves patient-directed physical rehabilitation and acute patient care. The solution allows patients to initiate their physical therapy at any time and acts as a virtual therapist to guide the patient through the proper range of motion and movements that are tailored specifically to their rehabilitation plan. Clinicians can review patient progress at any time and make adjustments based on data from the patient. NGHV has been conducting clinical trials with Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln to fine-tune the solution in a real-world environment.
A second application is already in early development: patient fall prediction. Patients fall in almost all care environments. These falls can lead to serious injury and even death, costing the healthcare industry over $30 billion annually.
“Increased demands on nurses and reduced staffing levels that come with cost containment put hospitals and patients at increased risk. No longer is it viable to detect that a patient has already fallen. Nurses have told us they need a solution that alerts them well before a patient is getting out of bed. We believe this solution will not only improve outcomes while reducing costs, but will save lives,” said Kiene.
By working closely with Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and their researchers within the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering, NGHV is showing how its solutions can improve patient care and that this technology can be used to address a myriad of needs in the health care industry.
Learn more at www.nghealthventures.com.
Nebraska Global is pleased to announce Boutique Window as its latest investment. Founded by Ella Wirtz and Courtney Rodgers, Boutique Window provides an online platform that helps independent retailers connect with their shoppers online, driving foot traffic and sales in-store. Nebraska Global joins Nelnet in this round of funding for the Lincoln, Nebraska-based startup.
Boutique Window will use this funding to make new hires and ramp up sales and marketing efforts. New hires will include additions to the development team and a sales and marketing specialist.
“The funding will let us build on the momentum we’ve been able to create over the last few months. We just came out of our private beta a week ago and we’re excited to start ramping up our sales and marketing efforts. Initially, we’re going to be focusing our efforts on cities in the midwest,” explains Wirtz.
“Ella and Courtney epitomize what we look for as they are tenacious, very mindful and focused on what they want to accomplish and complementary to our expertise. This allows us to share experience in software and make a partnership more than just investment dollars,” said Nebraska Global COO, Patrick Smith.
The Boutique Window team is currently located in the Nebraska Global offices in Lincoln's Historic Haymarket District.
Learn more at www.boutiquewindow.com.
On April 25th, Volunteer Partners held their Celebrating People in Action event where Nebraska Global was presented the Recognition of Corporate Community Service award for its volunteer work in 2012.
As part of National Volunteer Week (April 21-26), Volunteer Partners awarded various individuals, groups, and companies for their service to Lincoln and Lancaster County. Nebraska Global was recognized for their massive number of volunteer hours donated across the city by their employees, their advocacy of volunteerism that has led to achieving 100% participation in their Employee Volunteer Program, and their work in launching the Nebraska Global Fund for Nonprofit Technology.
Julie Smith, Executive Director of Volunteer Partners, spoke to Nebraska Global's dedication to volunteerism, "As a tough economy puts increasing pressure on nonprofits to do more with less, Nebraska Global finds solutions and connects employees with opportunities to use their skills in helping these organizations accomplish their goals."
"This is a great tribute to the passion our employees have for giving back to the community. 100% participation is the result because they choose to volunteer their time," said Nebraska Global Principal and CTO Doug Durham.
On April 17th, Nebraska Global was announced as one of the top three medium-sized businesses recognized for the 2013 Lincoln's Best Places to Work award. Sponsored by the Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln Human Resource Management Association, and Woods & Aiken LLP, this award recognizes the best workplaces in Lincoln based on employee surveys.
Almost 100 companies were nominated by employees for the award, and winners were picked from nearly 4,200 employee surveys that were conducted earlier this year.
"We are very honored by this recognition," said Nebraska Global Principal and CTO Doug Durham. "We have always felt that one of the keys to realizing our vision was to hire great people who share our values and understand the culture we feel is necessary to be successful. Our employees started the nomination process of their own accord, which tells me we are on the right path."
Beehive Industries, a leading developer of asset and infrastructure management software, is pleased to announce a newly launched partner company, mySalesman, to develop web-based software that will revolutionize how the fence industry qualifies potential customers.
As part of the fence industry for over six years, mySalesman founder Matt Warner frequently dealt with the struggles mySalesman was invented to alleviate.
"As a salesman and branch manager in Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the biggest challenges was determining whether a customer wanted a fence now or just needed a budget for the future," said Warner. "Our employees spent many hours meeting with customers that ended up being dead-end leads. After adding up the expenses of fuel and time spent on these unsuccessful leads, I wanted to develop a way for customers to get a budget on their own and have a 24/7, real-time self-service tool to satisfy all of their fence inquiries using a simple online pseudo-shopping experience."
Beehive Industries is helping bring his idea for this industry-changing software to life.
By partnering with local fence companies across the globe, mySalesman will streamline how customers interact with local fence companies. Prospective customers access a co-branded mySalesman-powered website that features a powerful interactive map to find their parcel, and plot the basic dimensions and location of their fence. Customers can then explore various design options from a catalog customized by the local company and generate a quote before they ever meet with a salesperson. This provides superior service to customers and save fence contractor's time by only involving a salesperson when the customer is ready to move forward with their project.
Nebraska Global Principal and COO Patrick Smith sees the benefit in partnering two different sets of expertise to build a new kind of solution. Smith explained, “Beehive is a powerful platform that provided mySalesman with immediate access to a sophisticated platform. Matt and the mySalesman team have all of the expertise and firsthand experience in the industry to ensure the mySalesman solution solved the problem in their industry, and did so effectively to immediately benefit their fence company clients. The team’s domain expertise combined with our software expertise has provided software that has gained immediate traction. We look forward to the future with mySalesman.”
Learn more at mySalesman's website, www.mysalesman.com.
Nebraska Global continues investing in and providing assistance to new and early-stage software companies. The latest company to emerge from this mission is Locabal, an online marketplace that connects producers of hand-crafted items with buyers both globally and locally.
Locabal was founded by Neema Bahramzad and Caitlin Bales, both of whom are students of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. Their approach to providing artisans another way to reach consumers is more than simply providing an online storefront.
"We want to create a relationship between the buyer and the seller that doesn’t end at the point of purchase. We want the buyer to come back multiple times," explained Bahramzad. "By applying machine learning algorithms to analyze how buyers interact with the website, we are able display items that match their preferences. In the end, Locabal wants to completely change the way products make their way to consumers."
"Neema and Caitlin have incredible initiative and passion for their company," said Steve Kiene, Managing Principal of Nebraska Global. "When they approached us for seed funding I was immediately impressed with their knowledge of both the business side and the technical aspects of their idea. Not many students have the confidence to come pitch their idea and they walked away from our meeting with their funding. Their mindset of building customer relationships resonated with me and I was happy to engage with them."
Bahramzad and Bales assembled a team of fellow students who were pursuing degrees in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Business Management, and Supply Chain Management to help bring their idea to life as quickly as possible. They felt this combination of various studies gave the team a unique combination of perspectives that would prove essential to the company's success.
"The way we see it, the combination of youthful optimism, familiarity with the latest technologies, and our unique education makes us the perfect team for enabling entrepreneurs across the world to sell their passion to buyers regardless of location," said Bahramzad.
Learn more at Locabal's website, www.locabal.com
Nebraska Global Managing Principal Steve Kiene and Vice President Tom Chapman traveled to Washington D.C. on February 5 to attend the Startup America Partnership meeting with various White House officials.
Kiene and Chapman were invited as representatives of Startup Nebraska, along with Startup America representatives from nine other states, to present their strategies, needs, and concerns about improving small business and entrepreneurial environments. Representatives met with Karen Gordon Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration; Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer; Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.
Kiene and Chapman discussed how Nebraska is focused on creating statewide partners to strengthen businesses from traditional sectors (such as agriculture and transportation), and help get startup businesses in non-traditional sectors (like software and technology) off the ground.
"Face time with senior White House officials gave us a great opportunity to express the challenges Nebraskans face in building new companies. We discussed needed improvements to financing, reform of US patent law, changes in education, and our strategies for building companies the Nebraskan way," said Kiene.
The trip also afforded opportunities to not only share what's happening in Nebraska, but to learn about the challenges and successes experienced by others from across the country.
"Going to Washington, D.C. is always interesting because you get the opportunity to hear about what is happening both in the political sphere and also, through Startup America, in so many other regions within the country," said Chapman. "I think that both Steve and I were excited to hear about the efforts around the country particularly in Indiana and Iowa – the other two Midwestern states that presented."
Chapman added, "It was wonderful to meet so many of our country’s leaders from Karen Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration to Steve Case, the founder of AOL, and his wife Jean, the CEO of the Case Foundation. These leaders provide such tremendous insight and access to opportunities for Nebraska Global and its companies."
Follow-up discussions are taking place in the near future and the response from the White House has been encouraging.
The Nebraska Global Fund for Nonprofit Technology, in partnership with the Lincoln Community Foundation, recently completed a project for the Clyde Malone Community Center by matching skills-based volunteers with grant funds. This project used donated hardware and discounted software to provide the Malone Center with 24 laptops to be used in community outreach activities.
The project case study is available for download here.
Nebraska Global continues to foster the growth of the technology environment in Nebraska with the announcement of an expanded mission for its research and development arm, Don't Panic Labs.
The vision of Don’t Panic Labs is growing to help other regional businesses grow more rapidly by providing software development resources to other companies and expanding the talent available to these companies. Don’t Panic Labs’ expertise is solving challenging problems with limited oversight on a compressed timeline. By using best-in-class professionals, Don’t Panic Labs is uniquely positioned to build incredible solutions at an aggressive pace.
Nebraska Global is opening Don’t Panic Labs to a broader public mission because it recognizes some key and persistent problems affecting the region’s software ecosystem: the availability of talent, elasticity of resources, and tactical application. Through continual inquiries, Nebraska Global discovered that both larger companies and some funded startups share very similar challenges. However, most companies simply are not adequately staffed to solve these challenges or have the skills and flexibility to do so. Don’t Panic Labs built a robust team of software experts to address these types of situations. From applied math and big data architecture to user experience and mobile development, Don’t Panic Labs has a dynamic group of professionals who offer creative solutions that couple flexible staffing with timely results.
Don't Panic Labs operates out of Nebraska Global’s headquarters in Lincoln's Historic Haymarket District. For more information, visit the Don’t Panic Lab’s website at www.dontpaniclabs.com. The company can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Nebraska Global is pleased to announce it has closed its sixth investment by adding Lincoln-based 42 (formerly Roundscapes) to its company portfolio. Nebraska Global's multi-year, $1.5 million round of funding with co-investor Nelnet will enable 42 to scale development of a revolutionary approach to augmented reality and next-generation digital experiences.
Steve Kiene, Managing Principal of Nebraska Global, described the investment as groundbreaking for its fund, which has made five prior investments in other Nebraska-based software companies. “Nebraska Global normally invests in pure software companies at early growth stages, and 42 is an interesting opportunity to add velocity to the software side of a more diverse digital business,” said Kiene. “We’re excited about the new software products being produced at 42 and have great faith in their team and mission.”
Christopher Kingsley, founder and CEO of 42, said, “42 is really fortunate to partner with Nebraska Global. They’ve been so awesome and are always ready to rock when we need them. They’re entrepreneurs at their core with tons of experience across a lot of technical fields and we’re so grateful to have them on our team,” Kingsley said. “This is exactly the kind of partnership we were looking for and their people have made all the difference.”
42 will continue to maintain offices in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska and in San Francisco, California.
Nebraska Global continues to develop viable, long-term software companies in Nebraska with the announcement of its fifth investment, EliteForm.
EliteForm was founded on the belief that integrated technology provides the next competitive edge in athletic strength training, competition, and sports science. EliteForm's goal is to provide seamlessly integrated products to assist athletes in discovering and reaching their maximum potential.
EliteForm is launching with two product offerings. StrengthPlanner is a strength training management system that enables coaches to design workouts, track an athlete's training development, and generate personalized strength cards – three of the most time-consuming coaching duties. StrengthPlanner's mission is to get coaches out from behind the computer and in front of their athletes.
EliteForm's PowerTracker solution uses patent pending algorithms and the latest in 3D computer vision to track the movement of athletes during strength exercises without the use of wired attachments. A touchscreen interface at the lifting station gives athletes real time feedback on their workout, providing guidance that normally happens only when a coach is present.
StrengthPlanner and PowerTracker can be used together for a full end-to-end training and management solution designed to be used at all levels of organized athletics. The experience is designed to motivate athletes, increase team competitiveness, and capture objective metrics that were previously lost in order to more intelligently train athletes.
Brian Zimmer, General Manager at EliteForm, stated, "Living and growing inside Don't Panic Labs allowed our team to develop the talent and experience necessary to identify and solve an incredibly complex technical challenge. Together we've produced a solution where many others have failed, and we've taken a substantial step towards building the next competitive edge within athletes. The resources at Nebraska Global allowed us to move faster, make fewer mistakes, and get access to people in the sports industry that would have otherwise been out of reach."
Steve Kiene, Managing Principal at Nebraska Global, added, "EliteForm is exciting to Nebraska Global because they have managed to develop some incredibly leading-edge technology and evolve it into a large market opportunity where the technology itself is invisible to the customer. The solutions they have developed are simple, elegant, and cost-effective. We're pleased to have invested in such a talented group of young Nebraskans, and feel very fortunate to have five of them come from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management."
EliteForm has partnered with the University of Nebraska Athletic Department in the development of StrengthPlanner and PowerTracker. UNL is the first customer for the system and is currently using a prototype system in the Ndamukong Suh Strength Complex and the Hawks Championship Center.
“Working with EliteForm allows the Huskers to utilize leading-edge technology in strength and conditioning. We are very pleased to be involved with the innovative people at EliteForm,” commented UNL Athletic Director Tom Osborne.
Learn more at www.eliteform.com.
Nebraska Global continues to foster the development of an influential technology environment in Nebraska with the announcement of Beehive Industries. This is the fourth deal announced by the Lincoln, Nebraska-based software investment fund.
Beehive Industries has developed a software suite and framework for managing assets and infrastructure of any kind, with the initial focus on local government and public utilities. The Beehive suite was specifically designed to make complex processes as simple as possible for users while exceeding the quality and capabilities expected in an asset management suite.
Initial modules cover management of several utilities, including wastewater, water, and storm water. In addition, Beehive has created a dynamic public portal as part of our Self Service Government initiative.
Bill Sheldon, President of Beehive Industries, notes, “We are using today’s technologies to deliver a comprehensive solution that feels good to use. The incredible resources that Nebraska Global brings have allowed us to quickly build a game-changer in the infrastructure management industry.”
"Beehive is an excellent fit for us as the teams can really leverage veteran technology with deep domain expertise to create an entire asset management platform that makes competitive options look generally bloated at best; in price, licensing terms, and lagging technology,” states Patrick Smith, Principal and COO of Nebraska Global. “Beehive will be a major player in a very short period of time and we look forward to the continued success and journey with the team."
Beehive plans for sixteen additional modules to become available in the following months. Learn more at www.beehiveindustries.com.
Nebraska Global today announced that it has completed the capital raise portion of its Nebraska Global Investment Fund at $37.3 million. The fund is one of the largest software investment funds in the Midwest, and has attracted investors drawn to the idea of building sustainable, impactful and globally competitive technology companies through the cultivation of local talent.
The fund was oversubscribed – closing at $37.3 million, far exceeding the original target of $30 million. Ultimately, the fund turned away an additional $10 million to ensure a strategic fit with its investment approach.
Steve Kiene, co-founder of Nebraska Global, noted, “We are extremely pleased to have not only completed our funding, but to have far exceeded our goal and expectations in both dollars and quality of investors. To have key foundational Nebraskans as investors in addition to well-known technology entrepreneurs is a testament to the strength and quality of Nebraska and of our strategy to create long term sustainable value within Nebraska and the Midwest.”
Investors in the Nebraska Global Investment Fund include Capricorn Investment Group, the investment arm of Jeff Skoll (former President of eBay), the University of Nebraska Foundation, Jeffrey S. Raikes, Nelnet, co-founder Kiene and approximately ten others. All of the investors have Nebraska ties and have expressed a commitment to growing software businesses in the region.
Capricorn Chief Investment Officer, Stephen George, commented, “As a Nebraska native and resident, I believe the next decade in technology development can include great innovative business success from Nebraska and the heartland. The region has a unique pioneering and hard-working spirit, is strong in math and science, and the Internet provides a mechanism for companies here to compete on a global basis. Capricorn is excited to be an investor in Nebraska Global and it will be an important capital and operational engine for terrific entrepreneurship here.”
With regards to the other investors, Kiene explained, “We have a group of investors who have built or run world-class businesses and who invested because they understand and agree with our approach of building sustainable businesses, long term.”
Nebraska Global intends to invest its funds in multiple companies with target investments from $100,000 to $5 million. Nebraska Global has already invested in three companies — Don’t Panic Labs, EC3H and ICORA, and is currently working on finalizing three others. One investment is an outside deal and the other two are internal ideas. In order to invest in and create great software companies, the company will leverage its technical aptitude, particularly on Microsoft platforms.
The company is seeking new ideas and projects to start and in which to invest. “We are actively looking for solid business ideas, great employees, and determined entrepreneurs,” Kiene said. With the size of the fund, Nebraska Global believes that it will be able to create a lasting impact on Nebraska and its technology landscape.
At the 15th annual Celebrate Business Awards, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce presented Nebraska Global with the award for Entrepreneurial Spirit. This award recognizes a person or company that has exemplified creativity in the development of enterprise in the City of Lincoln.
The award recognizes that Nebraska Global is delivering what it was founded upon, “When nerds and money meet, amazing things can happen.” This foundation has already led to the public launch of three companies: Don’t Panic Labs, ICORA and EC3H, with three more in the works. These companies have created over 50 new high paying jobs, including many young, talented people who may have otherwise left the state.
In addition, the commitment to service in the community has been steadfast despite being a “start-up” with the employees of Nebraska Global logging over 3,000 hours in community service in the last year. This activity is key to the economic vitality for current and future generations in Lincoln and the State of Nebraska.
Nebraska Global hosted an end of the summer showcase featuring projects completed by the inaugural class of summer interns with Don’t Panic Labs. Twenty-four University of Nebraska-Lincoln students worked on four product teams, which were created to simulate the experience of working at a software start-up.
All teams explored different types of technology to solve a real world problem with a technology solution. The projects exposed them to everything from machine learning, to video processing, to interfacing with popular web services. At the showcase, teams detailed the future viability for their products based on investment and resources needs, market opportunity and other challenges facing their product going to market. Other elements of the projects may be incorporated into products developed by Nebraska Global companies.
- Moriarty developed software using motion capture technology with the Microsoft Kinect.
- GeekSeeq created a mobile and web-based application that utilizes Bluetooth technology to find the physical location of people in the office.
- Carnac uses live video from a webcam to locate available street-level parking.
- PlanHandler built a web platform for organizing, collaborating and publicizing events.
Steve Kiene remarked at the showcase, “Our intern program was meant to have a selfish impact on getting kids to stay in Nebraska after graduation.” Kiene continued “The quality of the alpha versions these young folks created rival many of the products and companies seeking funding today. Impressive given they had ten weeks to get it completed.” Nebraska Global will consider small seed rounds of funding on these projects as appropriate and is further committed to continue to evolve the program into the future and is already making plans for the 2012 summer internship program.
Alec Johnston, a member of the PlanHandler team, commented on his experience, “One of the things I like the best about the internship is that I get the chance to work with a lot of really smart people. In our groups we have been assigned two mentors that work on their own projects are also available for us to go and consult if we need help and that is a really great resource and something I haven’t had experience with having before.”
Video profiles of the intern teams and their projects can be found on the Don’t Panic Labs YouTube channel .
ICORA, a Nebraska Global company, has achieved Silver Competency through Microsoft as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV). This achievement came just one week following the general release of its first product, Mako XRM, which delivers a visual user interface for customization and implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Microsoft offers the Silver designation to ISV partners that “have demonstrated high-level expertise and a specialized, proven skill set in a given technology or service area.”
Nebraska Global is pleased that the timeline from idea to product launch was less than five months and followed an idea first developed in Don’t Panic Labs. Doug Durham, Nebraska Global Principal and CTO, remarked, “By using some of the talented individuals from inside Don’t Panic Labs and bringing in the necessary talent to help drive the company, we were able to not only launch a company and get its first product released in less than five months, but to achieve a Silver Competency immediately upon release…I can’t think of too many places where that can happen.”
ICORA, established as a Nebraska Global company in 2011, is a Microsoft Dynamics Independent Software Vendor (ISV) based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The primary mission of ICORA is to deliver game-changing solutions that enable Microsoft Dynamics Partners and products to compete and win while evolving the user experience.
For more information about ICORA or Mako XRM, go to www.ICORA.com
Nebraska Global is pleased to announce it has closed its third investment by adding Lincoln-based EC3H to its partner company portfolio. EC3H is an existing technology company that helps to solve complex decedent debt challenges for creditors throughout the US. The $1.5 million investment also includes technical resources to help EC3H accelerate its growth and market penetration with the needed scale and technical disciplines.
Major creditors issue in excess of $5.5 trillion in debt every year, with a portion of that debt remaining unpaid upon death. This leaves creditors mired down in the complex world of claims, probate and ever changing statutes in order to recover owed amounts from estates. EC3H’s platform enables creditors to offload that burden in order to maximize recovered amounts and focus on their core business.
Patrick Smith, Nebraska Global COO, says “The investment in EC3H represents a strategic addition to our family of portfolio companies and fits nicely where we love to operate, leveraging technology to solve complex problems to generate real value for our customers. The EC3H team has identified a great niche and we look forward to contributing to their success.”
“On behalf of my partners at EC3H, we want to thank Nebraska Global for their commitment to help grow this business and keep technology jobs here in Nebraska,” stated Tony Reiling, Co-Founder of EC3H. “We believe the combination of talent and experience from both companies positions EC3H to dominate this industry for many years to come.”
EC3H will join Nebraska Global at its headquarters in the Haymarket later this summer.
Nebraska Global is the winner of the 2011 Walter Scott Entrepreneurship Award presented by University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken. This award, given annually to a Nebraska-based business that creates partnerships and links with the University of Nebraska, is accompanied by $10,000 that can be used for the promotion or creation of student work experiences in the fields of information science, technology, and engineering.
Each week, Nebraska Global is actively involved with UNL students and the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science & Management. Nebraska Global team members teach classes and mentor college students in software architecture, database design, and the overall disciple of software engineering. Nebraska Global also sponsors Design Studio projects in partnership with Raikes School, and provides resources and workspace at the Nebraska Global offices to help students complete their projects. Since the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year, Nebraska Global has volunteered over 250 hours of service to the Raikes School.
The Walter Scott prize will be used to support Nebraska Global’s summer internship program, which will integrate 22 University of Nebraska students into the Nebraska Global team and provide real-life involvement in the software development and venture capital experience. The internship program also provides the opportunity for interns to develop a software business that will be seed funded by the Walter Scott prize.
Nebraska Global will be honored during a luncheon later in the spring.
Amanda Garner, Director of Community Outreach for Nebraska Global, is the recipient of the 2011 Community Volunteerism Advocate Award. This award is given annually by Volunteer Partners to recognize a person who has promoted, supported and encouraged others to volunteer, as well as spoken out on the importance of volunteering.
Amanda was nominated by Ruthi Thompson of CEDARS Youth Services in Lincoln. Ruthi stated in the nomination, “Amanda and all of the Nebraska Global staff recognize the importance of getting involved in helping those in the local community, and so many individuals have benefited from their generosity and ‘can do’ attitude. Their staff is patient, dedicated and not afraid to work with a population that some in the community shy away from because they are troubled teens.”
Since May 2010, Nebraska Global has volunteered over 2,000 hours at community organizations with an estimated $160,000 impact from their volunteer hours and donation of in-kind technology services. Volunteer Partners is an organization that helps match volunteers with non-profit organizations in the Lincoln and Lancaster County area.
ICORA is the second company funded by Nebraska Global. ICORA operate as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) developing product solutions for the Microsoft Dynamics market. The initial product was hatched out of R&D from Don’t Panic Labs, Nebraska Global’s first company. The Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem represents an expansive, high growth market with the Software as a Service (SaaS) market share projected to be in excess of $15 billion by the end of 2011.
The first product developed by ICORA, Mako XRM will streamline the customization process and allow customers to increase line of business efficiencies and deliver a rich user experience. The product is set for general release early Summer 2011.
“ICORA represents an ideal opportunity for our company. One of the young developers operating within our R&D and people incubator, Don’t Panic Labs, had the freedom and opportunity to pursue a hunch and produce a working prototype to solve a difficult problem,” stated Patrick Smith, Nebraska Global’s COO. “As we validated the opportunity, we teamed youthful energy with solid domain expertise and attracted Allison Jensen from Microsoft to move to our community to run ICORA. New company, new jobs, great imported talent, and high expectations…this epitomizes what Nebraska Global set out to do.”
On Innovation Night, the first night of the two-day Nebraska Center of Entrepreneurship event, Steve Kiene was one of five recipients of the 2011 Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. This award was given to recognize lifetime achievement in the area of Nebraska entrepreneurship and reflects Steve’s historical commitment to creating successful software companies here in Lincoln dating back to his days in high school.
On December 27, 2010 Nebraska Global hosted a video game and pizza party for youth who were currently placed at the CEDARS Emergency Shelter or Boys Group Home at the Nebraska Global offices. The purpose was to offer the kids a night of fun that would give them a change of scenery.
CEDARS staff attended the event and were kind enough to nominate Nebraska Global for the Advocate of the Quarter award. This award is given to an external group or individual that has done something to make a difference in the lives and families served by CEDARS. In the nomination by the CEDARS Emergency Shelter Staff they noted, “This event will undoubtedly be engrained in the minds of the youth for many years to come.” “Funny the staff is appreciative as it is our community that needs to be appreciative of them and places like Cedars,” stated Patrick Smith of the Nebraska Global team. “We look forward to seeing the kids again.”
Technology presents unique opportunities for non-profits to build their capacity in delivering their core services to the clients they serve. Child Advocacy Center serves the most vulnerable in our community, child victims of physical and sexual abuse. Nebraska Global is fortunate to be part of an important milestone in the history of the Child Advocacy Center by providing in-kind technology services and consulting to help them transition into a new chapter.
The greatest asset that Nebraska Global has is contained in its talented workforce. By leveraging this resource Nebraska Global is able to offer Child Advocacy Center access to resources that will allow them to harness the greatest capabilities that technology can offer while they serve their mission of offering a safe, child-friendly environment for child victims of abuse and their families. In addition, Nebraska Global is committed to keeping watch over the investment of time and assists Child Advocacy Center in system maintenance and support.
Having served with other Nebraska Global team members as an adjunct instructor and volunteering in numerous hours to help the school, Kiene was officially welcomed as the newest member of the Advisory Board at the Raikes School during the Fall ’10 board meeting.
The vision has always been that the Raikes School provides opportunities for students to gain a balanced education that combines the technology curriculum with an innovative program that allows students to become leaders for tomorrow’s technology industry. They achieve this vision through a corporate partner program that includes an Advisory Board led by Jeff Raikes. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this board and continue to work to advance the overall success of the Raikes School program and enhance the opportunities that are available to its graduates”, Kiene stated.
Don’t Panic Labs was launched by Nebraska Global to incorporate in-house development capabilities and to serve as a “people incubator” for talented individuals who want to become key difference-makers at great software companies. Its goal is to provide an environment where young aspiring people can get training, advice, and lessons on how to start their own software companies.
Don’t Panic Labs also provides significant R&D capabilities to companies funded by Nebraska Global and serves as an incubator for new ideas before they get funding. It offers inside access to Nebraska Global for funding, business advice, and community networking. Doug Durham, one of Nebraska Global’s founders states, “One of our primary missions at Nebraska Global is to serve as a talent incubator for young aspiring software entrepreneurs. Don't Panic Labs is unique in that not only does it provide a source of marketable products, it also provides the environment that allows us to integrate recent graduates into product teams with seasoned veterans, places them in leadership roles, provides them opportunities to mentor existing students and assists experienced individuals who are interested in starting their own companies.”
Nebraska Global assembled three teams consisting of Nebraska Global employees and students from the Raikes School for a day of competition and fun. Many teams consisting of over 100 individual participants competed with Nebraska Global finishing 2nd, 3rd and 6th. The Amazing Chase is an annual event held by St. Monica’s, an organization working to address the challenges of substance abuse in women. In its 5th year, this event has proven to give the local non-profit greater awareness in the community and continues to grow in popularity. We look forward to the 2011 Amazing Chase.
Nebraska Global closed initial funding to fulfill the mission to establish a globally competitive, vibrant, and impactful high tech environment creating sustainable long term economic development in the State of Nebraska via the creation of multiple for-profit companies.