LIA Raises $400K for Mobile App Targeting Enterprise-Scale Customers
After a period of relatively rapid software development, San Diego-based LIA has raised $400,000 in seed financing to extend development of its mobile app and secure, Web-based platform for enterprise-scale customers.
The convertible loan from two San Diego investors, Analytics Ventures and La Costa Investment Group, will be used to fund another round of software development at LIA, said CEO David Warren, who founded the startup last year. Both funds are boutique firms making seed stage investments.
LIA provides its software as a service to help big organizations with global operations unify the work done by different groups in far-flung corners of the world. “What we built is a software platform for tablets that helps sales people in the field sell faster and sell better, and it helps that marketing person control the message in a better way,” Warren said.
The year-old startup was known as Liberated Intelligence and Analytics in December, when it won the most innovative new product award for best mobile app from Connect, the San Diego non-profit group supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. Since then, Warren said he’s decided to dispense with the long business name for the company, and just use the shorter and catchier LIA.
“We used 2012 to validate the business, and answer the question whether more Fortune 500 companies will buy this,” Warren said. The LIA platform enables a corporate customer to securely publish its business intelligence and other relevant internal information in any language to its sales personnel, business development executives, tradeshow employees, and other authorized users. LIA’s technology can be integrated with Microsoft SharePoint, which is traditionally used by companies to manage documents and content stored on internal networks. LIA provides a user name and password to each authorized user, who can download the LIA mobile app from the Apple Store or Android Market.
“We got buy-in from three Fortune 500 companies last year,” Warren said, enabling LIA to book $1.2 million in revenue during its first year.
LIA’s Web-based technology reflects lessons Warren said he absorbed as the head of Gray Suit Marketing, a San Diego agency he founded in 2002 to help major technology companies serve their business customers. In particular, Warren said he often saw a yawning divide between the sales and marketing teams, even though sales and marketing are supposed to be closely coordinated corporate functions.
With LIA, Warren said a company could ensure that its senior executives, sales teams, engineering groups, and others are all relying on the same marketing documents. “We lock down the content” for mobile users, Warren added. “We don’t let them alter it and we don’t let them share it [with others].”
For example, a company attending a major industry conference in Europe or Asia could publish the conference agenda, information on breakout sessions, meeting schedules, and thousands of related documents to the secure LIA website for access in real time by authorized employees. Schedule changes and other website content can be regularly updated. The technology enables a company to also tailor its information, so a business development executive based in Brazil doesn’t get the public affairs information intended for the team from Germany.
“LIA routes the correct content and user interface to that user,” Warren said.
LIA also enables customers to analyze how their workforce is using the data, Warren said. The analytics technology enables big companies to identify the information that is being accessed most often, where users are looking for information, and the extent of their searches. That can be useful for supervisors who want to assess their employees’ performance, Warren said.