Category: Technology (page 1 of 2)

MeetingPlay’s app brings technology to event and hospitality industries

FREDERICK, MD — Some 25 years ago, Joe Schwinger was pushing his uncle’s lawn mower up and down the major streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Today, however, he is providing technology solutions to major corporations.logo

Mobile event and hospitality technology solutions, to be exact. But what is that, and how did the young entrepreneur make the transition from mowing lawns to providing mobile app platforms?

Schwinger’s company, MeetingPlay, provides both mobile guest engagement platforms and indoor venue wayfinding apps. One of MeetingPlay’s most popular products is its mobile event app platform, designed to build and support event and conference attendee engagement- providing tools such as live audience polling, pre- and on-site event registration, and analytics to track and gauge the success of the event.

Schwinger’s entrepreneurial spirit began blossoming around the age of 12, when he took a summer job working for his Uncle’s recycling company. The early mornings and high temperatures got him thinking that there had to be a better way to make an income.

As the next summer approached, he heard his uncle mention that it had been awhile since he had mowed his lawn. Living in Florida, Schwinger realized most lawns need to be moved twice a week due to heavy rains. It was in that moment that Schwinger started his first business. He offered to mow his uncle’s lawn and then used his mower to find other clients. By the end of the summer, Schwinger had about 70 percent of the neighborhood as clients and was mowing 45 lawns a week.

“I came from an environment where I was never given anything and I had to work hard for what I wanted,” Schwinger said. “This led me to have an entrepreneurial spirit in everything I did.”

A passion for technology

Schwinger began to take an interest in technology in college. He said before and after class he would go to the bookstore and read every book they had on technology, teaching himself the world of design and programming. To pursue his passion, Schwinger left Florida to finish school at George Washington University, where he specialized in design and development.

Schwinger was introduced to Marriott International after graduation, as he was working for one of his professors in the world of technology development. Marriott provided him with an entry point into the hospitality and events industry.

There was no such thing as ecommerce at the time, so he took on a specialist role developing ecommerce solutions for Marriott in 2004. He eventually worked his way up to director of global ecommerce services, in which he his team of 75 individuals oversaw ecommerce in North America.

While working for Marriott, Schwinger saw an opportunity to provide solutions to hospitality providers and other customers in the technology realm. He decided to leave Marriott and start MeetingPlay in 2011.

Using his knowledge of events, hospitality and ecommerce, Schwinger created a mobile event app for the Marriott Corporate Partnership Conference, which showcases hospitality technology and other solutions.

“Marriott continued to invite me back and it was my starting point in getting an opportunity to work with the company,” he said. “I then officially created MeetingPlay as a product and a company, and over the next couple of years we doubled, tripled and continue to multiply.”

The mobile event app focuses on attendee engagement, driving social activity and networking between attendees. It includes features like questions, quizzes and surveys, live polling/ARS and gamification. The app also delivers post conference data that provides clear and concise feedback.

Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Frank Leonard said that while there are about 50 to 100 competitors in the mobile event app space, MeetingPlay is unique in that it transforms its app platform to match each client’s specific needs and personalized brand.

“Most providers don’t customize the app, but we’re solution driven so that our product is very tailored to our client’s needs,” he said. “Client’s like that we are customizable and scalable, we can handle the simplest to the most complex apps.”

Some of MeetingPlay’s customers include PepsiCo, Georgia-Pacific, Marriott International and The Ritz-Carlton. Its products range in price from $2,000 to $40,000.

On Jan. 13, MeetingPlay filed a form D with the Securities and Exchange Commission announcing that it had raised $1.65 million from investors. Leonard said the company is expecting another $350,000 to bring the investment to $2 million total.

“We’ve moved offices and hired seven employees since the raise,” Leonard said. “We now have 30 employees overall, with a goal to have between 45 and 50 by the end of the year.”

From events to navigation

Schwinger said as MeetingPlay is growing as the company is always on the cutting edge of technology, recently introducing tracking capabilities and iBeacon technology to its clients.

On March 7, Gaylord Hotels became the first hospitality brand to introduce MeetingPlay’s AppAtlas across its four resorts. The app utilizes iBeacon technology and indoor 3D mapping to provide guests with directions in navigating the expansive resorts, which range in size from 1,500 to 3,000 guest rooms.

Guests simply download the free Navigate Gaylord Hotels app to find step-by-step directions to their room, fitness center or the nearest restrooms. They can also use the app to find services like restaurants and shops, and to make dining reservations.

“Navigate Gaylord Hotels represents a combination of technology and ease that fits with our goal of providing flawless service to our guests,” said Mike Stengel, senior vice president of Gaylord Hotels. “The app is innovative, interactive and impactful, especially when it comes to enhancing guest satisfaction in getting from point A to point B with ease.”

The future of MeetingPlay

Based on Schwinger’s understanding of events, he knew that MeetingPlay had to take a different approach in getting people excited about attending meetings. Today, the company still faces the challenge of introducing new technology to its customers.

“If you don’t push the edge of technology in the events world you lose,” Schwinger said. “Every one of my competitors is moving at 110 miles per hour, so we need to move at 120.”

Schwinger said every other competitor has a cookie cutter approach, that one size fits all.  He believes what wins MeetingPlay the business, and what will perpetuate the company’s success, is when they ask the customer, “What problems do you have that we can solve?” Taking a step back and listening to customers has been an integrative tool to the company’s success, he said.

“MeetingPlay was started out of customer demand for products, nobody specifically said they wanted to use gamification to keep attendees involved in conferences,” Schwinger said. “I see the future where our customers need us the most. Our customers will determine our growth as we will scale to meet their needs.”

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism.

Bethesda-based Bayshore Networks raises $11 million

BETHESDA, MD — An industrial-strength cybersecurity platform company raised $11 million from 14 investors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  bayshore-networks inc

Bayshore Networks Inc. filed the Form D on April 6. The the first sale occurred on April 20, 2016. The company does not expect the offering to last more than one year, and the offering is not being made in connection with a business combination transaction.

The company develops cybersecurity software for the industrial Internet of things. It deploys a cloud-based program, Bayshore IT/OT Gateway, which enables secure transactions in manufacturing operations, robotics automation and M2M communications. Founded in 2012, it has strategic partnerships with companies such as BAE systems, Cisco, SAP and VMware.

Bob Lam, co-founder and vice president of finance and corporate development, signed the Form D on April 6.

The company claimed a Rule 506 exemption for the filing. Companies relying on the Rule 506 exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

TRX Systems raises $400,000 in equity

TRXGREENBELT, MD — A Maryland-based security technology company raised $400,000 in a private equity offering, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

TRX Systems Inc. provides mapping and personnel location in areas where GPS is not available. It is the first company to use sensor fusion and dynamic mapping to pinpoint location indoors.

According to the Form D, proceeds will be used for working capital which will include normal compensation to executive officers and managers.

The offering is not being made in connection with a business combination transaction, and is not intended to last more than one year.

TRX Systems, founded in 2001, is the developer of the NEON Indoor Location Solution and the NEON Personnel Tracker.

On Feb. 27, the company announced in a press release that the NEON Personnel Tracker application was used by the Houston Police to help ensure public safety in NRG Stadium for Super Bowl LI.

The company has a large portfolio including 12 patents issued in the U.S., 15 internationally and 24 pending.

The company claimed a Rule 506 (b) exemption for the filing. Companies relying on the Rule 506 exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

 This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

D.C.-area tech startup Weather Analytics raises $17 million

Weather AnalyticsSILVER SPRING, MD – Weather Analytics LLC, a Washington D.C.-area technology startup, has raised $17 million in a private equity offering, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Form D, signed by Weather Analytics President Chris Skarinka, disclosed that the $17 million offering’s first sale occurred on Feb. 22 and garnered funds from two investors, who received equity in the form of both common shares and Series B preferred shares.

Silver Spring-based Weather Analytics mines, stores and analyzes atmospheric data to build predictive weathers models, which it then uses to create risk-assessment products it markets to private-sector clients, as well as the U.S. government.

In April 2013 Weather Analytics announced an investment partnership with the non-profit venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, which was chartered by the CIA in 1999.

Based on previous regulatory filings, Weather Analytics has raised at least $33 million since it was founded in 2012 by Chief Executive Bill Pardue, a former president and chief executive of online information provider LexisNexis.

The company did not disclose revenue, nor did it say what it intends to do with proceeds from the offering, but it did disclose that none of the money raised will go toward executive payments.

The company claimed a Rule 506 (b) exemption for the filing. Companies relying on the Rule 506 exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

The filing can be found here.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Bethesda-based Aledade raises an additional $20 million

Aledade-logoBETHESDA, MD A Bethesda-based health care company raised an additional $20 million from the $20 million that it raised in January, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Aledade Inc. filed the first Form D on Jan .12, which stated $19,999,997 was raised by lead investor Biomatics Capital, with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures), Maryland Venture Fund, Venrock and ARCH Venture Partners.

On March 8, the company raised another $20,249,999 in equity, according to the amended filing.

None of the money raised will go toward executive salary.

Aledade, founded in 2014, focuses on providing a new model of primary care by partnering with physicians to build and lead accountable care organizations (ACOs) that enable doctors to stay independent.

Aledade’s primary goal is to provide opportunities for small and solo practices to establish “value-based contracts with some of the largest payers in the health care system.”

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Hybrent raises $1.5 million from three investors

ANNAPOLIS, MD—An inventory management software company has raised $1.5 million from three investors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Hybrent logo

Hybrent Inc. filed the Form D on March 8. The first sale occurred on March 6. The offering is not being made in connection with a business combination transaction, and is not expected to last more than one year. The minimum investment accepted from any outside investors was $250,000.

The company develops technology that aims to improve clinical and operational efficiency of health care facilities, specifically in supply chains. Hybrent’s application assists in ordering and searching distributors and manufacturers for optimal price and availability.

It serves surgery centers, physician centers, hospitals/health systems and specialty centers.

Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Tighe signed the Form D on March 8, which can be found here.

Companies relying on the Rule 506 exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file what’s known as a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Fiber-optic giant Ciena’s stock falls 8.5 percent after missing expectations

HANOVER, MD — Ciena Corp.’s stock fell 8.5 percent in trading Wednesday after reporting first-quarter earnings and revenue that missed Wall Street expectations.

The fiber-optic networking provider said it earned 26 cents per share on revenue of $621.5 millCiena-logoion. Analysts were forecasting revenues of $632.29 million, or 29 cents per share.

Net income for the period ending Jan. 31 was $3.9 million, after reporting a loss of $11.5 million in the same period last year.

“Our overall first quarter performance demonstrates our ability to grow and capture market share across geographies, market segments and product lines, reflecting the investments we’ve made to diversify our business in these areas,” said Gary B. Smith, president and CEO, in a statement.

For the second quarter, Ciena expects revenues of $680 million to $710 million, compared to the $690 million consensus estimate.

Hanover-based Ciena is a global supplier of telecommunications equipment, software and services that support the delivery and transport of voice, video and data service.

Its products are used in networks operated by telecommunications service providers, cable operators, governments and enterprises. Some of the company’s top clients include Verizon, Sprint and Comcast.

Ciena’s shares were trading at $23.95, a loss of $2.22, or 8.5 percent, Wednesday afternoon.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filing can be found here.

This story is from the Maryland News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism.

Bethesda-based Crelate raised $1.7 million

CrelateBETHESDA, MD – A Bethesda, Maryland-based company sold $1.7 million in private equity, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The total filing is for $2.0 million.

Crelate Inc. filed the Form D on Feb. 28. It did not disclose what it would use the proceeds for.

Crelate is a modern talent relationship management company with applicant tracking for recruiters.

Aaron Elder is the CEO of Crelate. Elder served on the board of Celedon Partners before becoming the CEO of Crelate.

Companies relying on a Reg D exemption do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file what’s known as a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

The form can be found here.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Online education platform 2U Inc. bests analyst earnings projections

2ULANHAM, MD – 2U Inc., a Washington, D.C.-area online education company, reported a 33 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue following an increase in online program offerings, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, based out of Prince George County, reported adjusted net income of $2.0 million, or 4 cents per share, in the quarter, compared to an adjusted net loss of $100,000 in the same period a year ago. The figure beat analyst estimates of 3 cents per share.

“Both the fourth quarter and full-year 2016 showed significant year-over-year revenue growth as well as continued margin progress in each of our earnings measures,” said Chip Paucek, 2U’s chief executive and co-founder. “2016 was the year that the first of our three earnings measures turned positive.”

2U’s fourth-quarter revenue totaled $57.4 million, up from $43.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The company said its courses enrolled nearly 22,000 students across its clients’ programs in the fourth quarter, up 31 percent year over year and 13 percent on a quarterly basis.

The company also issued earnings guidance for the first quarter and its fiscal-year 2017. 2U said it expects revenues to total between $267.6 million and $269.8 million in 2017, which falls on the lower end of analyst expectations. 2U’s first-quarter revenue expectations are in line with average analyst estimates of $63.95 million.

Shares of 2U stock have fallen 1 percent since the Thursday announcement to $36.48.

Founded in 2008, 2U provides an integrated online platform for schools to acquire, educate and support students globally. The company’s current roster of university partners includes Georgetown University, New York University, Simmons College, Yale University, the University of Southern California and UNC-Chapel Hill, among others.

The filing can be found here.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

Potomac-based Venuetize raises $4.2 million from six investors

POTOMAC, MD —A mobile-first platform as a service company raised $4.2 million from six investors, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Venuetize

Venuetize LLC filed the Form Ds on Feb. 27, 2017. The first sale occurred on Feb. 13, 2017. The offering was not made in connection with a business combination transaction. The company hopes to raise an additional $1.76 million.

Venuetize develops a mobile-first, platform-as-a-service that connects personalized data, marketing analytics, content and interactive technologies to acquire, retain and monetize fan bases for sports businesses. Founded in 2014, the company creates and manages social media marketing campaigns that leverage fans’ social media channels.

It announced on Feb. 27  that it acquired the intellectual property assets of eMbience Inc., a mobile software developer with expertise in proximity marketing and targeted advertising.

Companies relying on a Reg D exemption such as click notices do not have to register their offering of securities with the SEC, but they must file what is known as a Form D electronically with the SEC after they first sell their securities.

The Form Ds can be found here and here. They were both signed by Karri Zaremba, chief operating officer of Venuetize.

This story is from the Maryland Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism

 

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