Payroll systems like ADP and Paychex are a necessary business evil; they're difficult to navigate and expensive. Three founders in Silicon Valley have designed a more attractive, cloud-based solution called ZenPayroll and in just eight months, they've seen a lot of traction.
The startup is now processing over $100 million for the businesses that use it.* Its CEO, Joshua Reeves, won't reveal how many companies are using ZenPayroll, but he says "thousands of employees are getting paid through it" and that his biggest customer represents less than 2% of that $100 million milestone.
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The new “champions” were nominated by the public, Forum members, constituents and collaborators for their ability to transform how businesses and society at large operate in the future.
A selection committee that includes Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and Loic Le Meur, CEO of Le Web, then decided the final shortlist.
Krzych built a Krakow, Poland ad network called AdTaily that was purchased in 2009 by the largest media group in the nation. His partner and CTO Lukasz Kostka is a computer scientist with expertise in smart cities and big data.
And it wasn’t that they lacked focus for their idea. Estimote is solving a problem that all retailers face. With so many products available online, customers often visit brick-and-mortar stores to see items in person and try them on, but head home to find a better deal or more options online.
Estimote’s network of wireless sensors on products within a store sense a shopper’s location and populate her smartphone screen with the product, its specs, color choices and sizes. There are deals personalized to the shopper and an option to pay for the item in the app and have it shipped home or delivered at the front of the store (for example, in an Ikea store).
The Bluetooth low-energy technology that makes the sensor operate automatically will be built into Apple’s new iOS 7 coming this fall and to mobile operating systems announced by Google and Nokia.
Prizeo leverages celebrities’ influence to raise awareness and funding for some of the biggest philanthropic causes. Funding is raised by raffling once in a lifetime prizes offered by celebrities. Prizes include a shopping spree with Khloé Kardashian Odom as well as a chance to meet Muhammad Ali. Prizeo has raised $2.5 million in funding and is democratizing fundraising by brilliantly leveraging celebrity power.
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Heap, a company looking to battle the likes of Google and KissMetrics in the analytics space, has raised a seed round of $2M from some of the bigger names in the Valley.
The idea there is that if you need to analyze how well something on your site is working, you don’t have to add any new code or set up a test and wait a few days for the data to come in — you already have that data. Want to check if your users are incorrectly clicking an image expecting it to take them somewhere? Just open up Heap and check the historical data for mouse clicks on that image.
Weebly, the service that lets you, your grandma and anyone else build a website for free, is growing fast. The startup launched out of Y Combinator in 2007 and today hosts over 15 million sites, which together see more than 100 million unique visitors each month. But they also expect this growth to continue, as Weebly co-founder David Rusenko tells us that his company has signed a lease on 36,000-square feet of a historic warehouse in SOMA in downtown San Francisco, which will become its new headquarters.
Not only that, but as the anchor tenant of this new space, the company has the option to expand to 50,000-square-feet, which Rusenko says the company plans to do. As a comparison, Weebly’s new office will be nearly five-times the size of its current space in Pac Heights, which is a puny 11,000-square-feet.
Besides the fact that the warehouse that will play home to their new headquarters is apparently the “last brick-and-timber warehouse in SOMA to be converted to a more modern setup” — and is where many of the grapes would be shipped from Napa to make wine in San Francisco, Rusenko says — the reason for the move is that Weebly plans to hire hundreds of new employees and it’s going to need somewhere to put them.
Weebly plans to move into the new space sometime in early 2014 and over the next couple of years plans to grow to up to 600 employees globally — most of whom will be located in San Francisco, the co-founder tells us. When Weebly moved into their current offices in 2011, the company was just 19 employees, a team which today has grown to 80.
SoundFocus: SoundFocus is “the world’s first music player that tunes to your hearing,” according to its creators, led by SoundFocus CEO Alex Selig, who himself suffers from hearing impairment.First, you test your hearing acuity, roughly speaking, in three zones — lows, mids, and highs. In addition to everything on your phone and in your Apple iTunes Match account (although it can’t apply its EQ to the cloud-stored songs), SoundFocus includes artist radio stations using Spotify’s catalog, if you’re a premium subscriber, programming the artist stations using technology from The Echo Nest (publisher of Evolver.fm). You also get access to all your Spotify on-demand tracks. SoundFocus can work its EQ magic on Spotify songs, just not on iTunes Match songs, so we recommend turning off iTunes Match in your iOS settings if you’re going to use this app as your main player. [Free]
Kamcord, the Y Combinator-backed startup offering a free SDK that makes it easy for iOS devs to offer in-game recording functionality to their users, is today announcing an additional $1M in seed funding and some big updates since the last time we checked in.We spoke with CEO Matt Zitzmann about some new features coming to the service today and he also filled us in on the progress the company has made since rolling out a new voice overlay feature back in June. Not only has the service reached an impressive 1 billion gameplay videos recorded (up from 500 million in June), Zitzmann also tells us the company is experiencing developers switching from rival in-game recording platforms due to a much higher rate of gameplay videos shared to social networks. In-game recording in mobile apps could become a big trend in months to come as Sony and Microsoft move to integrate system-wide recording features in their upcoming next-gen gaming consoles.