Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CED TVC2012 Demo Company DealCloud Makes Investing in Private Companies More Efficient

Ahead of the CED Tech Venture Conference 2012, we sat down with a few of the executives that will be presenting as Demo Companies to find out what makes them tick…

This interview is with Ben Harrison, President of DealCloud, a Charlotte-based startup psyched to be a Demo Company at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2012. Interview conducted by Ann Revall-Pechar, who serves on the CED PR/Marketing Committee.

Ann: Ben – we’re really excited to have you take the stage at the CED Tech Venture Conference this year. You’re coming off of a series of incredible announcements over the past six months!

Ben: Thanks, Ann – I couldn’t be more excited to have a chance to spread the word about DealCloud at a conference that is bound to be filled with our target audience!

Ann: Well, in case your audience needs some convincing to come, tell us more. What is DealCloud?

Ben: DealCloud is a software platform that makes marketing, selling, buying or investing in private companies easier and more efficient. Essentially, it’s Salesforce.com meets LinkedIn meets ShareFile. It’s designed to help professionals engaged in mergers and acquisitions and capital raising projects work more efficiently and get more deals done. Essentially, it manages everything from industry data and relationship to execution work flow. Of course, it’s completely secure and confidential, so investment bankers and deal advisors are in full control of their process and can manage information and activity as they see fit.

Ann: Wow, that is cool. I’d never thought about an interactive platform for managing the formation of private capital. Who came up with this idea?

Ben: The idea was incubated at a Charlotte-based private equity firm I worked with for a couple years. We would spend hours talking about the best way to address inherent inefficiencies in a relationship-heavy market – like the “M&A” market. We took the plunge and incorporated an independent company in late 2010, and in 2011, I left the firm to focus my full time and attention on DealCloud.

My colleague Rob Cummings, who has already run and sold a couple technology companies, oversees our product.  Rob’s experience building software allowed us to quickly develop a scalable, enterprise platform. We’re also really proud of our Advisory Board, which includes Hugh McColl, the former Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and Marc Oken, the former Chief Financial Officer of Bank of America and Managing Partner of Falfurrias Capital Partners.

Ann: So, at what stage would you say the company is right now?

Ben: Well we have been having amazing success and hit some key milestones this year. In fact, we just hit the 3,500 users mark! This indicates that we’re building something the market’s ready for and is embracing. Here are a few key dates:

April 2012: DealCloud is named the IT and Informatics and People’s Choice category winner at the 2012 Charlotte Venture Challenge, which won us some nice prize money and in-kind services.

June 2012: DealCloud is a Spring 2012 NC Idea Grant Winner – one of five they honored, out of 184 applicants.

July 2012: This was our "WOW month," where we realized that over the past six months, the DealCloud platform was leveraged to execute nearly 100 Mergers and Acquisitions, worth more than $2.5 Billion.

August 2012: We just closed our second round of capital which included a few new investors that will be influential in our next stage of growth. With the additional capital we will be able to market more aggressively.

So, I’d say we’re in growth mode!

Ann: That is really exciting. Sounds like you guys are working hard! So – where do you do all that work?

Ben: We have employees across the globe, but our headquarters is in Charlotte –  in Packard Place, specifically. We’re surrounded by entrepreneurs in this new incubator and it has great energy.

But make no mistake about it: We’re a North Carolina company, through and through. All of our investors are here. Being in Charlotte is especially helpful because of its strength in the sector we serve: financial services. People in North Carolina are early adopters, especially in finance-related industries. That’s a big advantage for us. We sure are looking forward to presenting in Raleigh in September!

The CED Tech Venture Conference showcases more than 70 of North Carolina's top startups and growth-stage companies. The full conference agenda gives each Demo Company the opportunity to pitch their business and their product(s) in front of an audience of more than 600 tech investors, executives, entrepreneurs and professionals. Early registration ends Friday, August 10, so act now – you could save up to $125. 

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