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NW Ohio startup Innerapps is the latest to reach global market

Inneraps' Identity Syncronizer.
Inneraps' Identity Syncronizer.
InnerApps is the latest start-up firm from Northwest Ohio to take its unique product to the global market with help from a local venture capital fund.

InnerApps is marketing its Identity Synchronizer, a platform of identity access management known as IDSync, in the rapidly emerging marketplace of Cloud services.  

Toby Miller, lead architect for the Identity Synchronizer platform, established InnerApps, LLC in 2010 as a subsidiary of Tranztec Solutions co-founded in 2001 by Miller and Deborah Gordon in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Tranztec developed an identity access management program for one of their existing customers who had been spending significant IT efforts on managing the identity and password administration issues associated with end-user access to their document management system. 

When companies in other industries showed interest in that program, Miller and Gordon decided to establish the spin-off InnerApps to develop platforms for multiple clients under the IDSync moniker. Miller serves as president and CEO and Gordon as CFO for both companies.

When InnerApps needed capital to fund $3 million in investments it made in the business last year to get it off the ground, they turned to Bob Savage at Savage Consulting to find investors for the spin-off.

Savage introduced them to the folks at Rocket Ventures, the local venture capital firm that later provided $550,000 in funding to help InnerApps market its IDSync platform.

Savage Consulting serves as fund manager for the Rocket Venture Fund, which was established to provide seed capital to early-stage technology companies in Northwest Ohio such as InnerApps.  

Rocket Ventures is a $22.5 million public-private initiative that was established in 2007 as a joint venture by the Regional Growth Partnership of Toledo and University of Toledo Innovation Enterprise.

IT companies comprise about 30 percent of the investment portfolio for the Rocket Ventures Fund, according to Dan Slifko, president of Rocket Ventures.

“IT is such an open field for innovation with so many bright people in it. There are so many opportunities in the (IT) industry that have developed so quickly,” Slifko said.

InnerApps demonstrated its IDSync product live on a national stage at the Parallels Summit Feb. 4-6 in Las Vegas. The summit was billed by Parallel as a “gathering of the brightest and most innovative minds in industry’s entire ecosystem.”

“It’s a very competitive industry with a lot of players and a lot of emerging players like us,” said Marty Rini, vice president of operations for InnerApps. 

Cloud computing is changing the very landscape of IT creating a growing demand for new apps; anywhere, anytime data access; and new in-depth analytical capabilities. Microsoft Cloud provides a consistent platform across all types of clouds—private, public, or service providers such as InnerApps.

”We’re excited to offer our clients a low-cost solution that is easy for our customers to use because it leverages prior investments they have already made in Microsoft technology and skills,” Miller said.

“Customers who use Microsoft servers have been looking for an answer to the identity management problem for many years. And managing access to software applications and data can be very costly for the mid-size firm which is one of the primary reasons for end-user frustration,” Miller concluded. 

IDSync provides password control and identity access management for all user software capabilities. It monitors and audits every chain for every system and who has access to what, Rini explained.

InnerApps is selling its IDSync platform directly to mid-size firms with 100 to 10,000 employees with access to multiple applications. The product helps lower business risks and IT operational costs, while improving data security, according to Rini.

IDSync is also sold indirectly through reseller channels such as Microsoft Exchange and other large hosting companies in the world with 20,000 to 300,000 customers.

Rini said that 2012 was their first full year of efforts to get venture capital, hire a sales force, begin to penetrate large accounts and conduct pilot testing for customers.

“We made big investments in product, sales and marketing. We think these investments will begin to pay off this year, Rini said.

“Bob Savage and Ben Trumbull have been very involved in helping to raise capital for IDSync,” he said.

Trumbull, vice president of Savage Consulting, works closely with the management team at InnerApps to help them make the most of the investments by Rocket Ventures and other investors.

Since it was founded in 2007, the Rocket Ventures Fund has invested $8 million in 17 start-ups in Toledo and the surrounding region.

Rocket Ventures has assisted client companies in achieving over $203 million in investments and other income, $88 million in sales revenue, and creating 310 jobs by providing commercialization services, Slifko said.

InnerApps is an example of the investments in the Rocket Ventures Fund portfolio that ranges from Beyond Gaming with its popular online interactive games to Xunlight producing thin-film solar panels.

Another Rocket Ventures investment, Nextronex, Inc. of Toledo, nearly doubled its sales of solar inverters in 2012 with a 94 percent increase over 2011. Nextronex is a manufacturer of non-residential and utility-scale solar inverter systems for projects of 100 KW and larger.

Greg Knudson, vice president of sales and marketing at Nextronex, reported it provided 40 inverters for seven solar projects in Ohio during the fourth quarter of 2012. In its largest project to date, it supplied 24 inverters for the 3.5 megawatt solar installation developed by American Municipal Power for the City of Napoleon in 2012.

Advanced Battery Concepts, founded three years ago in Toledo, has been developing a new type of lead acid battery. The company expects to begin direct production of batteries in mid-2013.

ABC plans to license its technology to existing sources in the lead acid battery segment starting in the U.S. and ultimately worldwide, according to Don Hobday, vice president of business development for the company. There is growing demand for lead acid batteries in the $32 billion world market, he said.

ABC has a strong launch partner in Crown Battery based in Fremont, Ohio. It is currently in discussions with several other global lead acid battery manufacturers to bring its technology to the global market, Hobday said.

Slifko said Rocket Ventures strives to connect with entrepreneurs and start-up companies in Northwest Ohio to provide early-stage funding and commercialization services.
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