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Pulse of the Alley – Kindling. A Software That Helps Ideas Catch Fire

 

Ideas are a dime a dozen, but in this day and age, they could potentially be worth billions.  With Kindling, you can pose questions to any subset of your organization, evaluate the responses, and promote the best ideas for further conversation, iteration, and actualization. Kindling helps you engage employees, ask the right questions, solve problems and deliver new products to market. It’s also optimized for smart phones and tablets, since you never know where or when an idea will hit you.  Founder and CEO Timothy Meaney is here to tell us more about how Kindling is firing up the enterprise space.

kindling-devicesTell us about the product.

Kindling makes innovation software that people enjoy using. Companies all around the world use Kindling to find, share, evaluate, and decide on ideas that solve their most pressing challenges – and realize their most significant opportunities.

How is it different?

Going against the grain of decades of enterprise software, Kindling is designed to be enjoyable to use. We find that our customers’ employees engage with the software and contribute more frequently, and their continued engagement and contributions produce more meaningful results for our customers. And we provide our software fully enabled—no surprises or additional fees.
Our care for our customers extends throughout our company—every customer gets a dedicated account manager, and access to our rapid and friendly support. A human is there to help our customers succeed.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

Narrowly —the innovation software market is still young and growing rapidly. We see an opportunity to help companies manage their ideas better, whether they currently use a suggestion box, an annual innovation day, another software product, or no system at all.  Any company that has ideas has a need for our software, and our market is growing every day. More broadly—our plan is to continue to build modern software for the enterprise, which is a tremendously big market.

What is the Kindling business model?

2013-09-20_17-30-54_221 - Version 2

Timothy Meaney
Kindling
Founder and CEO

We sell software (annual per-seat subscriptions)! Our subscriptions include all features of the software, unlimited use, a dedicated account manager, and support. We pride ourselves on a product that is user-friendly and have therefore made our pricing model similarly friendly, and we maintain one of the highest renewal rates in the industry.

Why is your team the right one to get the job done?

Kindling’s team includes passionate designers, engineers, product specialists, and sales and customer success experts, all of whom love their work. This passion feeds our development of the product, and our interactions with customers who, in turn, become invested in Kindling. And our management team has decades of experience building software and software businesses. Most importantly, we’re a company of designers who all buy into the design-driven mission.

The enterprise space is on fire right now? Where do you see it going?

It’s an awesome time to be building software for the enterprise. The market is entering a new era, which we see as an overturning of old assumptions and an opportunity to modernize work around a simple principle: enjoyment. Contemporary consumers are accustomed to software that’s clean, usable, and enjoyable, and enterprise software is making this shift. The way we see it, it has to. People in the enterprise will be increasingly more likely to adopt and engage with software that is clear, coherent, easy to use, and enjoyable—and the work of enterprise will be more successful because people will enjoy doing it. There are numerous other relevant trends converging as well—employees entering the workforce with no exposure to legacy complex enterprise systems, people bringing their own devices to work and procuring their own tools with a swipe of their corporate card, and perhaps most importantly, the buyer being one in the same as the user of enterprise software. And this a market where you can charge money—no ad-supported or in-app purchases required!

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?

We have big plans for 2014.

We are currently at work reimagining an integral part of Kindling: the evaluation of ideas. I don’t want to give away too much yet, but I can tell you that the new evaluations functionality will provide tremendous benefits to all Kindling users.

To support existing customers with this transition and new customers who are using Kindling for the first time, we’ve been building a new and improved customer onboarding program and a new set of best practices resources.

We’re also contemplating building adjacent products and new integrations, leveraging our existing installed customer base.

You have raised several rounds of funding. Do you have any advice to offer earlier stage companies?

ABR—always be raising and always be recruiting. An investor told me that the most important role of the Founder & CEO is to keep the company capitalized. And fund-raising activities can take you out of your comfort zone (which for me was designing and building product). But keep at it: conversations tend to create other conversations. And don’t get discouraged, you only need one investor, you don’t need to be loved by everyone.

How many times have you pivoted?

Kindling started as a Lab project in the well-known design studio Arc90 in NYC, in order to meet the internal needs of managing the ideas and creativity of the people in a progressive company, and then quickly spun out into its own venture. We remain nimble and adaptive every day, but have never truly wavered from our original idea of a platform to share and discuss ideas.

Where is the best pizza in New York?

Keste on Bleecker Street in the Village.  Motorino in the East Village. And in New Jersey.

Why did you launch in New York?

Aside from our roots in the area and the experience founding our first company, Arc90 (now an SFX company) in New York, we’re here because New York is the perfect place for a startup. New York is filled with optimism, choice, chaos, talent, and smart people, all of which we believe are the right ingredients for a successful startup. Plus we all love it here (click here to see the people behind Kindling and read about our favorite places in the city).

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