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Traackr, a Boston-area B2B Web search
engine start-up with 12 employees, needed
additional capital to grow its business. Company leaders were on a mission to find new
“For us, it was important,” said Pierre Loic Assayag, Traackr founder and CEO. “We had
been bootstrapping Traackr for three years and managed to validate the business and
gained traction with revenue,” said Assayag, “but we felt an inflection point in our market
and decided to raise money to accelerate our growth.”
Fortunately for Traackr, they were invited last October to the “Connecting
Companies with Capital” event, co-sponsored by IBM and Accounting Management
Solutions (AMS), a Boston-area-based resource for outsourced accounting and finance
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Angels for Startups
“Connecting Companies with Capital” is a series of events, hosted by IBM and AMS, at
the Waltham IBM Innovation
Center, which brings together venture capitalists, angel
investors, industry experts, start-up companies and early-stage entrepreneurs to drive
business formation and job creation.
Over the summer of 2010, Traackr put funding together with Boston-based investors
that fell apart at the 11th hour, Assayag explained. He then agreed on funding terms
with West Coast investors around the time he attended the “Connecting Companies”
event. “I showed up at the event with little expectation based on my earlier exposure to
the Boston fund-raising scene,” Assayag said.
However, this Boston-area event worked out for Traackr and the rest they say is
history… “I was very happily surprised on both accounts,” Assayag said, noting the
“innovative format of the event (investor speed dating)” as well as the “attendees who
created an interesting and efficient way to do elevator pitches.”
Speed Dating Success
Assayag and his Traackr team connected during speed dating with Tollman Capital
Partners, Boxford, MA. Tollman, a micro VC, can provide $25,000 to $100,000, in
funding. Tollman would not specify the amount it eventually funded Traackr, said Kyle
Fugere, Business Development Associate, Tollman Capital. Tollman usually can make
a five-year investment followed by an exit strategy, in compliance with SEC regulations.
Tollman met with eight companies during Connecting Companies speed dating and
reviewed other candidates’ backgrounds, but chose Traackr and
credits the “Connecting Companies” format as a key engine in its decision-making.
“If you invest money, you want to get face to face before making that decision,” Fugere
said. The Connecting Companies event format, “was perfect for us,” he
Traackr’s Assayag found the opportunity to meet with multiple potential partners in a
short time period beneficial. “It is really helpful for us entrepreneurs in understanding the
mindset of the investors,” he said. Traackr received a call from Tollman Capital the day
after the Connecting Companies event and agreed on terms just three weeks later.
Waltham IBM Innovation Center Connects Companies
In May 2011, IBM, AMS and MassEcon co-hosted the third in the Connecting
Companies series. “Connecting Companies with Capital-Driving Job Growth Through
Innovation,” which brought almost 200 attendees into the Waltham IBM
Innovation Center to hear from investors, business experts and public officials, including
Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.
Bialecki spoke on job growth and innovation in the public sector.
Speed dating again was popular. Industry thought leaders, IBM executives, VCs and entrepreneurs
discussed how to fund healthcare, technology and energy innovation. “These events are essential,”
said one attendee. “Too many good job producing ideas are going to waste for lack of funding. IBM
and AMS deserve public recognition.”
The IBM team is working to schedule another "Connection Companies with Capital" in the fall. Check back here in a few weeks for updated information!
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