On December 5, 2019, ACG National Capital and MITRE will be cosponsoring the Washington Technology Showcase – a half-day event designed to highlight the National Capital area’s culture of technology innovation and leadership.
While many people often think of Northern California when thinking about IT companies and innovation, Silicon Valley doesn’t hold a monopoly on forward-thinking companies. The National Capital region is home to its share of enterprising startups with incredible solutions and established companies investing heavily in the capabilities and technologies of the future.
The Washington Technology Showcase will focus on three key technologies that are capturing the imaginations of companies and government agencies across the country: the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).
The event will feature a number of keynote addresses from thought leaders in the technology industry capable of explaining these technologies and the impact they could have on how people and organizations live and work. More excitingly, the event will also play host to multiple interesting technology companies with products and solutions across these three technologies that have the potential to change the world.
In advance of the Washington Technology Showcase, we’ll be speaking with some of the thought leaders and technology solution providers that will be presenting and speaking at the event. And our first interview subject is truly impressive.
Our first interview subject was Eric Conn, the CEO and Co-Founder of Leverege. We sat down with Eric to talk about the company’s IoT offerings, how IoT is changing the way organizations operate and why large companies choose Leverege to build their IoT programs. We also talked about the National Capital region – why it’s a great place to build a technology company – and what attendees can expect to learn at the upcoming Washington Technology Showcase.
Here is what he had to say:
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): Can you tell our readers a little bit about Leverege? What does the company do, what solutions does it offer?
Eric Conn: Leverege is an IoT software company founded in 2014 that specializes in the development and deployment of connected solutions for enterprise clients. Our solutions enable improved decision making, enhanced operational efficiency, and better customer experience through the power of data.
Our Software-as-a-Service platform and companion system integration services focus on asset tracking and remote monitoring across all industries. Leverege also operates the most popular digital IoT publication on the web called IoT For All to help educate the greater community on the power and challenges of connected technology.
CGCS: Why are IoT solutions so popular today? What different business challenges are companies using the Internet of Things to help solve?
Eric Conn: Companies of all sizes are using connected technology to gain insights into how their business operates. The goals are customer-specific but often include improving margins, automating processes, improving customer experience, and reducing waste.
Asset tracking and remote monitoring are the most popular types of solutions since they span industry sectors and provide a proven return on investment (ROI). The number and type of solutions being deployed is skyrocketing due to a confluence of factors including the proliferation of inexpensive sensors, the availability of low-cost, wide-area connectivity, and decreasing infrastructure costs for cloud computing.
CGCS: Can you give us an example or anecdote of an IoT solution that Leverege has built and how it helped the company that it was created for?
Eric Conn: One of the best examples is parking lot management for Manheim auto auctions. Manheim is one of the largest vehicle wholesalers in the world, and they have nearly 100 massive parking lots that can store between 5,000 to 50,000 cars at a given time. They process close to 10 million cars each year and supply the majority of used car inventory to the US market.
The lifeblood of Manheim’s operation is being able to quickly locate and stage hundreds or thousands of cars for daily auctions. We worked with them to deploy inexpensive, long-lasting battery-powered trackers that could be placed onto vehicles within seconds regardless of weather conditions. The trackers communicate to Leverege’s platform and we expose services such as walking directions to any car based on its VIN or order number, with accuracy of 5 meters or less.
Before we deployed our solution, they had staff members circling the lots in golf carts continuously and manually scanning the vehicles. Not only was this an error-prone and highly inaccurate but it was extremely difficult to perform in adverse weather conditions such as snow or heavy rain. The IoT tracking solution we powered has led to millions of dollars in operational savings for Manheim and has greatly improved customer relations since more cars get to the auction on time.
CGCS: If I’m with a large company, why should I work with a company like Leverege instead of building an IoT solution or program myself?
Eric Conn: Building an IoT solution requires a combination of skills that most companies don’t possess or appreciate. For instance, a company would need to know about device hardware, firmware, microprocessors, wireless communications, cloud software, user interfaces, and numerous protocols such as LoRa, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 5G, and cellular IoT among others.
Recruiting and retaining people who understand the complex world of IoT is what we specialize in and not something that most companies excel at. Because we’re 100% focused on IoT, we can do it better, faster, and less expensively than most companies can do it themselves.
CGCS: Leverege seems like a company that should be based in Silicon Valley. Why build the company here in the National Capital region? What about this area makes it a good fit for Leverege?
Eric Conn: My co-founder, Steven Lee, and I have deep roots in the Baltimore/DC region so the idea of moving to Silicon Valley never really crossed our minds.
This area has all of the ingredients needed for a tech startup – a diverse and highly educated workforce, a vibrant and excellent educational system, physical and digital infrastructure, access to capital, local customers, and large pools of software talent.
Many of our clients and partners are in Silicon Valley, so we visit often but the National Capital region will always be home to us.
CGCS: Leverege will be presenting at the upcoming Washington Technology Showcase (WTS). Why was it important for Leverege to attend this event? What is the company looking to get out of its participation?
Eric Conn: The event focuses on IoT and related technologies such as 5G and AI and machine learning so that is a perfect fit for us. Most of our revenue comes from the commercial enterprise sector so we’re hoping that many of the solutions we’ve built will be applicable to the public sector and US Government officials in attendance.
We have previous experience working with the DoD and Intel communities so we’re familiar with the environment and contracting process. In addition, the showcase provides a great opportunity for us to interact with other local tech companies and share our story with potential investors, corporate leaders and partners.
CGCS: What do you think attendees can expect at the WTS? What types of people and organizations do you think could benefit from attending? What will they get out of it?
Eric Conn: We’re in business to help people reduce inefficiencies and make better decisions through the use of data. Most businesses or government entities have areas that can be innovated or processes that can be improved through the application of IoT technology. We have deployed dozens of connected solutions across industries with proven ROIs, so our hope is attendees will get excited about the possibilities and move forward with a pilot or deployment.
In addition, we have recently achieved product/market fit and our revenues are growing quickly so we are considering our first capital raise in Q2/Q3 of 2020. Discussions with potential investors would be welcome. As we like to say, IoT Changes Everything!