Featured Startup Pitch: clearCi is focused on remedying the lack of reliable, actionable competitive intelligence for enterprises

By Editor May 7, 2013
Joe Levy, clearCi

clearCi logoCompany: clearCi

Website: www.clearci.com

Founders: Joe Levy (CEO), Tomer Sofinzon (corporate development), Kfir Sasson (CTO), Michael Clews (director of sales), Ron Oz (developer)

Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Year Founded: 2011

Employees: 15

Investors: Bootstrapped

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/clearci

Brief Company Description: clearCi helps companies of all sizes compete by turning information into actionable insights, contributing to better strategic decisions.

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Joe Levy, clearCiBy Joe Levy, co-founder and CEO

Product Overview

clearCi’s technology informs users when content changes on key websites, online databases, and social media sources like YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Our application helps analysts, researchers, and intelligence professionals spend more time analyzing information to form accurate conclusions about their market and competition.

Our software works as an automated CI [competitive intelligence] informant hired to monitor any competitor webpage or data source covering product, industry, market, customer, vendor and even key partner information. Users have found that clearCi helps them cope with information overload and presents information in a way that can be quickly understood. Relevant data is stored into an online portal, which automatically organizes the information into related topics, channels, sharable folders, and reports. Users can detect and gather modifications or updates with change alerts that are sent via email.

Founders’ Story

When Tomer Sofinzon and I decided to go into business, we didn’t know which product or service to sell so we applied our previous venture capital experience in our search. We analyzed many startups and industries to find an attractive opportunity; a market ripe for disruption. Ironically, we realized competitive intelligence, as an organized function, was missing a dominant player. We saw tremendous growth potential in enterprise intelligence, and the shifting market dynamics needed to be addressed, so we committed to it. We partnered with developers Kfir Sasson and Ron Oz, who had experience in CI to create a technology solution that could turn data into actionable intelligence.

Our backgrounds in sales, software development, military intelligence, corporate strategy and drive, gave us a head start. After about a year of research and development, we launched our competitive intelligence software in 2011. Shortly afterwards, I teamed up with former Meltwater colleague Michael Clews in South Florida to begin marketing and selling the product to mid-and-large sized global enterprises. By the end of 2012, our application was recognized as Best Business Intelligence/Analytics Solution and Best Industry Application at an UpStart Cloud Competition in Silicon Valley.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Aside from expanding our product features and capabilities, we spent a lot of energy educating the market about enterprise intelligence and innovative CI techniques. A direct sales model and integrated customer support function allows us to provide value to organizations of all sizes, at a competitive cost.

By working with Fortune 100 companies, clearCi is able to share powerful techniques and methods with companies that have less mature intelligence practices, but similar needs. Building strategic relationships to expand clearCi’s user base is always a priority.

Market Opportunity

The competitive intelligence software market includes consultants who offer software, niche software providers, strategic agencies and market research firms. According to Fuld & Company, a market research firm, 10 percent of all intelligence budgets in North America are over $1 million a year. Fuld also predicted that Fortune 1000 companies would spend $10 billion on staff and activities associated with competitive intelligence in 2012. Executives in strategic planning, competitive and market intelligence, market research, and corporate development rely on competitive insights to be effective in their roles.

Companies that do not use enterprise intelligence software struggle with collecting, organizing and constantly monitoring changing information available online. They realize that plenty of insight can be found on the Internet, but without a technology like clearCi, companies cannot obtain the visibility and clarity they need to turn that information into better decisions and strategic know-how.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

clearCi offers users CI techniques as part of the subscription, which most competitors do not include. This kind of insight allows users to maximize the value and ROI from the competitive intelligence solution. Users like this kind of support because it aligns with their changing information needs, especially as pressing projects or initiatives arise. We provide users with an affordable software alternative, while including strategic support and distinct capabilities competitors currently do not offer.

When a client joins clearCi, he or she is personally guided to ensure optimal use and results over time. Each account is quickly configured through a collaborative effort to identify pressing challenges, topics of concern, and strategic initiatives. Once an account is configured, weekly touchpoints are scheduled for follow up, coaching and guidance. Our consultants help users customize CI searches, manage smart folders, obtain price and page alerts, archive sensitive reports, and distribute data to key players across the company.

Our culture is very unique. The executive team invests in young professionals demonstrating potential and passion. clearCi promotes a set of core values to consistently provide clients with unmatched service, and strategic support. The selection process is based on these core values.

I encourage everyone to ‘work hard, and play harder.’ In the office, it’s common to play ping-pong, darts, or go on a yacht ride through Ft. Lauderdale’s beautiful waterways. It’s a great way to ensure employees keep ideas flowing and never conform to routines. In the end, users experience a light and friendly approach to customer service, making it an immediate differentiator to the competition.

Business Model

clearCi offers annual subscriptions with prices depending on the services, features and number of users on the account. With over 70 clients spanning various industries and countries, this model has proven to be successful and allowed for the bootstrapped growth of the company thus far.

Current Needs

As with any technology startup, innovative and hard-working minds drive the company’s success every day. For that reason, the sales and marketing department has grown with immediate plans to hire more people as demand increases. We are working towards raising a Series A round, so I spent a good portion of my time meeting with potential investors to showcase clearCi’s tremendous growth potential.

ClearCi – www.clearci.com