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Realeflow: Creating order out of chaos

When Greg Clement was involved in real estate sales, he was, by his own admission, disorganized.

“We were a small business operating with papers and folders everywhere and lots of sticky notes,” he recalls. “Trying to keep track of all the moving parts of a real estate transaction was making us crazy. It was completely inefficient, and we wasted a lot of time trying to find stuff when we needed it.”

Clement realized that he needed a system, but discovered that the only effective way to manage things was to “cobble a bunch of different programs together and hope for the best,” he notes.

To salvage the situation, he developed a software system for small business management and hired a programmer to write it.

“It ended up being so helpful to us that we wanted to offer it to others in the real estate industry,” he explains.

He established Realeflow in 2007 to offer the software, which he named OpenRoad.

“OpenRoad is web-based software that provides a comprehensive business management system for people in real estate,” Clement says. “It helps them attract new customers, manage those customers and ensure repeat purchases by those customers.”

The software program is available in both a standard and a professional version, which provides assistance in conducting marketing campaigns, creating legal forms, generating leads, and handling rehab projects.

“As a business management system, OpenRoad pulls everything together -- email, website, social media and video -- and has morphed into one-easy-to-use marketing automation platform,” Clement explains. ”It’s like putting your business on steroids, but without the nasty side effects.”

Realeflow, based in Parma Heights, has grown from just Clement and an assistant to 32 employees.

“As we’ve become proficient at Internet marketing, we’re offering webinars on what we’ve learned,” he says. The company offers on-line courses on “Facebook Domination” and “Smart Internet Marketing Solutions.”

Clement now wants to help businesses beyond the real estate field create order out of chaos.

“We’ll be branching out in 2012 and creating organizational software products for different industries, like restaurants, mortgage companies, small retail stores and construction,” he reports.

Source: Greg Clement, Realeflow
Writer:  Lynne Meyer

Seize the Day gives 21-year-old OSU student first taste of business success

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but too much free time doesn't hurt.

That's how Ben Gilbert, along with business partner Ian Kono, came to launch Functional Delights and their successful iPhone app, Seize the Day.

Gilbert is a 21-year-old computer science major who will graduate from Ohio State University in December. Kono is a UCLA grad working at Cisco Systems. The two met in 2009 while Cisco interns in San Jose, Calif.

"I moved to a new city and didn't know anyone," Gilbert explains. "So, I decided I was going to tackle learning iPhone development. And I did so with my roommate Ian, who would eventually become my co-founder. Once we figured our skills were sufficient, it was like what better way to put them to the test than make something that we need?"

What they needed was a decent mobile "to-do" management solution that didn't cost an arm and a leg.

"Both of us noticed that with the existing solutions in the App Store there was a big divide between really crummy free ones . . . and these enterprise solutions where you end up paying 100 bucks," Gilbert says. "We launched, and within a two-day span we were featured on the front page of the App Store and generating like 10,000 downloads a day."

Seize the Day differs from other to-do apps in its simplicity and ease of use, Gilbert says. Users can choose from a simple task menu marked "today," "upcoming," "at some point" or "view all." Tasks can be tagged for easy searches and marked complete when fulfilled. The app also has a daily reminder that alerts users each morning to the tasks of the day.

Since its launch last July, iPhone users have downloaded nearly 300,000 copies and give it a 4.5-star rating. Revenue from ads are "paying somewhere between beer money and the salary I want to make when I graduate," Gilbert says.

Next to be released is Zero, a paid revenue model that offers users the ability to sync up their iPhone calendar with their computer.

Source: Ben Gilbert, Functional Delights
Writer: Gene Monteith

Wamboo wants to help do-gooders do better

Cincinnati-based Wamboo wants to help do-gooders do better by linking them through social media to those in need.

The idea for the new company, which emerged from beta testing on June 3, stemmed from an accident several years ago that killed two Cincinnati firefighters, says founder and CEO Dori Gehling. After the accident, a bank set up a fund to help their families.

"The news media said stop by the bank and make a donation," Gehling explains. "But I don't bank in person, and I don't bank at (that) bank. And when I talked with a banking person at another bank, they said most of those things never get funded. I thought, that's really too bad, because there has to be an easier way to do it and maybe a more fun way."

Wamboo helps match individuals and families in need with donors. Participation is free, but there are parameters for who is deemed worthy of aid, Gehling says.

"In order to be on the site, they have to be sponsored by a nonprofit in good standing, or a police department or fire department," she says.

So far, 700 individuals -- who are encouraged to share the causes they feel most passionate about using social media tools -- have signed up as members. The going has been slower for sponsoring organizations, or "Champions," who post the critical needs of individuals or families with whom they are familiar.

"That group seems to be a little bit more behind in using social media and embracing ideas of working differently," Gehling says.

As an incentive for both individual donors and companies who want to help those in need, Wamboo has created the Wamboost.

Wamboost allows businesses to incent giving by creating discount coupons tied to causes listed on the site. Wamboo charges busineses $1 a coupon, which is how Gehling is funding the startup.

But Gehling says she's not out to strike it rich.

"I would eventually like to break even and help people," she says.

Source: Dori Gehling, Wamboo
Writer: Gene Monteith

Janova's initial success points to new IT jobs in central Ohio

Software testing for dummies could be the title of a new Software as a Service (SaaS) product from Janova, a Columbus area start-up that could change the way web developers test their sites.

Janova, launched in September 2010, gives its customers the ability to use its cloud-based SaaS to test their web applications using plain English syntax rather than computer code, a breakthrough for such services.

This new technology allows any user, regardless of tech background, to create and automate tests for any web-based application. Until now, such tests were downloaded onto one computer at a time, taking that unit out of commission until the tests were complete. Only computer techs could perform the tests because they were written in computer code, and they were time consuming and expensive.

"The underlying advantage is English," says Jeff Lusenhop, founder and CEO. "Everybody understands it. Everybody can communicate across the team."

The other breakthrough is the reduced time required for the tests, says Lusenhop. With the old system of downloading tests, computers could be tied up for hours. Because Janova utilizes the cloud to run the tests, the time is reduced significantly.

"It's brought all of our (beta) clients improved efficiency in their testing. We can run 90 hours of tests a day in three hours and 15 minutes."

Nominated for a TechColumbus award only two months after its founding, Janova has created great excitement for its ease of use and speed. Users can access Janova from anywhere and receive detailed reports in a matter of seconds. The company has received more than 6,000 requests for a free trial of the service.

With 34 employees now, Lusenhop says he expects the company will begin aggressive hiring efforts to add 116 employees in the next three years, bringing its payroll to more than $10 million. Most of these jobs will be in sales and consulting.

Source: Jeff Lusenhopp, Janova
Writer: Val Prevish

JibeCast ready launch new video secuity, tracking capabilities

JibeCast was born of frustration after Mark Ford, the company's president, found few commercial solutions to the challenge of securely distributing training videos to new sales representatives of Qwasi, his previous startup.

"I found myself challenged to not sit on training calls every single day to regurgitate the same information over and over again," Ford says. "I found myself sitting on webinars doing a lot of internal activity versus helping my sales team close big deals. I started to think about how we might be able to leverage online video to basically put myself into a cloning machine so that I could distribute that training message consistently and effectively."

The result is JibeCast, a cloud-based service that allows clients to secure their video content, distribute it easily and track immediately who accesses it. Formed in Dayton last year, the company has distributed the product privately and plans a beta launch in the next few weeks.

"Video presents a unique challenge in that most companies infrastructures aren't well equipped to manage online video," Ford says. "The media streaming and encoding aspects of handling video are totally different than putting up a pdf on your website. And then properly formatting it and being able to secure it online is a challenge for most organizations.

JibeCast is targeting small to midsize businesses that either have a sales focus or heavy training component.

"We also have a focus on healthcare market, where they are constantly being mandated to comply to new government standards and they have to continually audit their employees and teams on process and procedure. So anywhere where there are process and procedure requirements for tracking and auditing are also a sweet spots," Ford says.

Ford lives outside of Philadelphia, but -- with the help of the Dayton Development Coalition and $300,000 in Ohio Third Frontier funds -- established the company in Dayton.

"Dayton provides access to affordable talent," Ford explains. We looked at Ohio, Cincinnati, Dayton, as a great hotbed for technology, and we said there's just a tremendous talent pool here and it comes at a significantly reduced cost."

Source: Mark Ford, JibeCast
Writer: Gene Monteith

HOPS Technology rolls out V3 of team-based communication software

Pamla Winther has spent nearly 16 years teaching teams of workers how to communicate effectively, efficiently and consistently through a method she developed while working in corporate communications and business development.

During that time she's held countless, personal small group seminars detailing her proprietary Hands On Proactive Strategy, or HOPS, method. It, in part, identifies a team's individual strengths in an effort to create and monitor processes that maximize group work.

The method maps out those processes for future use in Workplates, or work templates, that can be used for employee mentoring or work sharing.

Winther has built a successful Blue Ash-based consultancy on her method, which has been used internationally in industries as varied as dry cleaning, architecture, fast food and retail. It's been used by teams in sales, purchasing, human resources and other departments.

"This is about communication not falling through the cracks." Winther explained. "People flap their jaws all day long, what this does is document the key elements of each conversation," and turn them into action.

Winther took her consultancy to the high tech level with investment from Queen City Angles in 2004. That's when she launched HOPS Technology Incorporated to create software based on her method.

"The reason I started the company wasn't because I understand all the technology, it was because every CEO I worked with said we had to get it in a software product," she said.

So that's what she did, with soft rollouts of the two versions. But with a new and improved Version 3 set to debut in the next few weeks, Witham is planning a larger roll out.

The web-based software was developed locally by IntelliTree Solutions and is being hosted by 3Z.net, in Covington.

"Version three is what we are going to blast off with," she said.

Source: Pamla Winther
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

This story originally appeared in hiVelocity's sister publication, Soapbox.

You can follow Feoshia on Twitter

Broadband is backbone of Ohio economic development, job growth

Delaware County's efforts to extend new broadband fiber along a 12-mile corridor are both a reminder of the economic necessity of broadband in Ohio and a cautionary tale for other communities.

The lesson? Be ready when new industry comes calling.

"If there was a crucial moment in Delaware history, it was when we worked on bringing in Motorists," says Gus Comstock, Delaware County's economic development director.

Motorists Insurance Group, which considered several sites late last year for a new $14 million data center, ultimately announced in May that it would locate its center in New Albany.

"We could talk about water, sewer, gas and the benefits of living in Delaware -- but we couldn't provide a good description of the availability of fiber," explains Comstock. "We were caught flat-footed."

As the county now discusses options for installing new fiber to serve growing parts of the U.S. 23 business corridor, the economic reality of broadband in central Ohio reflects the need across the state, says Tom Fritz, executive director of Connect Ohio.

"A seven percent (increase) in residential adoption of broadband means the addition of 96,000 new jobs," he says, quoting a recent economic impact study of the issue. "And companies that use broadband grow at a much faster rate than those who don't use broadband."

Connect Ohio, a public-private partnership focused on broadband access, also found that a 7 percent adoption increase in a stable economy contributes $5 billion annually to the state's economy.

Sources: Gus Comstock, Tom Fritz
Writer: Gene Monteith

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