Acceleprise, a San Francisco-based accelerator for enterprise tech and software-as-a-service startups, held a Demo Day for its third cohort of companies today.
The accelerator invests $50,000 into each startup admitted to its program via convertible note financing, taking approximately a 5 percent stake under a $1 million cap.
It admits 8-12 companies per cohort, and invests out of a $3.5 million pre-seed fund anchored by Employ Insight CEO Sean Glass.
During its program, Acceleprise helps startups hone their apps and business models, strike relationships with early pilot or paying customers and officially launch a product.
After they leave the nest, partners at Acceleprise work in an advisory capacity with startups in their portfolio to help them become seed- or even Series A-ready.
Acceleprise Managing Director Michael Cardamone said that the fundraising environment has become more challenging for SaaS businesses of late.
Venture investors with institutional firms that do early-stage deals now want to see software-as-a-service startups making $1.5 million in annual recurring revenue with significant traction in their respective markets before they will sign a term sheet, Cardamone said.
That’s a higher bar than business-to-business software startups faced just three years ago.
Cardamone said selling into enterprises has become more competitive, as well.
“The people who set tech policies and make purchasing decisions within large or fast-growing companies, and that’s usually a Chief Information Officer, are using tens of different apps, and many I’ve met will be using over 100 different apps to keep their businesses running,” Cardamone said.
That means SaaS companies can’t offer something that’s only a slightly better tool than what’s out there and expect to win customers over, even for a limited trial run.
Back in the day when juggernauts of enterprise tech were ramping up, like Salesforce or Amazon Web Services, the market wasn’t nearly as cluttered.
Companies in Acceleprise’s latest batch were equally split between those focused on a particular industry, from agriculture (Skycision) to mobile telecoms (MobilePhire), and those offering “horizontal” solutions that could help businesses in any industry manage travel and expenses (TripCloud) or deliver customer service via popular messaging platforms from SMS to Facebook Messenger or Slack (Lifecycle.io).
A new trend among applicants, Cardamone noticed, was the implementation of advanced machine learning, analytics and chat bots to solve the needs of workers or their employers.
A full list of the 8 companies in the most recent cohort at Acceleprise follows below, with links and descriptions supplied by the accelerator.
Baloonr: Anonymously surface and prioritize information for any group.
CareerLark: Next generation performance management and employee feedback platform.
ContextSmith: Turns distributed emails with customers into actionable data.
Glowfish.io: Industrial IoT enhanced asset monitoring and early warning as a service.
Lifecycle.io: The simplest way for businesses to create intelligent conversations over mobile messaging channels.
MobilePhire: Analytics and control for corporate mobile data usage.
Skycision: Image-based crop management software for the global agriculture industry.
TripCloud: Free travel management solution for small- to medium-sized businesses.