Paul Ruderman, UpdateZenBy Paul Ruderman, UpdateZen founder and CEO

ELEVATOR PITCH

UpdateZen is a simple status-reporting solution designed for executives and managers who prefer short updates from their people, consolidated and presented in one simple interface. We limit updates to 250 characters so that managers only see what is absolutely essential for them to know.

PRODUCT/SERVICE DESCRIPTION

UpdateZen is a simple status-reporting solution designed for executives and managers who prefer short updates from their people. We limit updates to 250 characters so that managers only see what is absolutely essential for them to know. We cut down information overload for executives and their teams, and in so doing we save them hours each week. UpdateZen is available as a gorgeous web application and iPhone app.

FOUNDER’S STORY

This is my second startup. My first, LiveProcess, was/is a healthcare software company and is still going strong. I started UpdateZen this year because I wanted to solve a very particular pain that I experienced while managing several people at my last company—that being information overload from the people who report to me. I knew there was a better way to manage it, and that’s why I created UpdateZen. Our entire product is based on uber-simplicity in design and usability. Simple design and an emphasis on brevity—thus the 250 character limit on updates.

Prior to UpdateZen, I had a successful independent music career, and traveled the states for the better part of ten years before turning to my second love, technology.

MARKETING/PROMOTION STRATEGY

UpdateZen has been following a very specific strategy for organic growth. Ours is a B2B SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product. We are not expecting tens-of-thousands overnight because of a TechCrunch article. We are providing a real solution to a real problem in the enterprise, across virtually every company in the country. And we are pursuing growth through early adopter evangelism and word-of-mouth, through content marketing, through social media, through conference attendance, through networking, and our latest successful channel, targeted Facebook dark posts. We have had great success organically growing our user base and customer enthusiasm.

Updatezen Interface

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

We are in the B2B SaaS space, within the productivity niche. Our initial market is companies with ten-to-250 employees. Our target user is the CEO, executive, manager or business owner in these companies.

We compete with Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Jira and Slack. However, we have a particular niche that they don’t. Executives do NOT like to go into those complex team communication and team collaboration tools. They’re too involved. UpdateZen sits as a layer ON TOP of these complex tools. UpdateZen differentiates itself in its simplicity, LACK of features, focus on design and minimalism. We provide only what’s essential. We see a $4 billion-plus market for our product, based on current market data and competitor pricing.

HOW WE DIFFERENTIATE FROM THE COMPETITION

UpdateZen is designed to be simple and easy-to-use, accessible via mobile and the web. We stand out in our extreme simplicity and clean design. But we also stand out because we limit updates to 250 characters. Our goal is to reduce information overload for executives. And every other project management and team collaboration solution adds complexity and adds information to an executive’s already busy workload.

We are the antithesis of solutions like Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Jira and Trello. With UpdateZen, less is more. We give you only what you absolutely need to know. Short, concise updates from your people on everything they’re working on so you don’t have to dig through complex solutions and documents and never-ending emails to find what you need. It’s all in UpdateZen.

BUSINESS MODEL

We have a SaaS model. Pricing starts at $19/month or $199/year, and ONLY the team lead is charged. The team lead may add as many team members as she wants at no additional cost. We offer a 30-day free trial followed by the monthly or annual plan.

CURRENT NEEDS

We are always looking for talented developers and marketers. We are looking to raise an Angel or Seed round in the next few months. And we are looking to launch publicly (out of beta) within weeks. Therefore, we’re on a customer acquisition journey right now!

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UpdateZen logoHEADQUARTERS: Montclair, New Jersey

WEBSITE: www.updatezen.com

FOUNDER: Paul Ruderman

INVESTORS: Angel funding (amount undisclosed)

YEAR FOUNDED: 2014

ANGELLIST: angel.co/updatezen

TWITTER: @UpdateZen

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/updatezen

CRUNCHBASE: crunchbase.com/organization/updatezen