Austin’s Thinktiv in the News
Great article in the Statesman on Sunday about Thinktiv, by perhaps Austin’s best connected tech reporter, Lori Hawkins. It centers on how Thinktiv is revising the startup process for their customers:
“I knew exactly what the software would do and who I would sell it to,” said Wesbecher, who at the time was vice president of strategic accounts and emerging markets at Jive Software. “But I’m not a product designer, I’m not a product marketer and I’m not a developer.”
Then he connected with Thinktiv, an Austin-based technology accelerator started by four veterans of Trilogy Inc. Since its founding in 2007, Thinktiv has assembled a 50-person team that basically parachutes in and supplies the expertise needed to quickly get a product built and launched.
Thinktiv’s business model is different – they’re not just investors. They’re not just designers. They’re not just developers. They are a one-stop shop for getting a new business idea off the ground. As Lori puts it:
Thinktiv’s model is unusual — it operates partly as a services provider and partly an investment firm. Sometimes it charges outright for its services. Sometimes it invests money it has raised from a network of 60 wealthy individuals. It acquires equity stakes in about 20 percent of its portfolio companies.
We look at their business all the time and love what we see. In fact, we’ve had their assistance in refining the ideas in BP Mobility, and for the BP3 brand. They did an amazing job re-imagining BP3 branding in a way that really supports both our mission and our image. And they immediately understood what we’re trying to accomplish with BPM and Mobile – and were able to help us refine the ideas, challenge assumptions, etc.
So we’re happy Thinktiv customers, despite the fact that we don’t fit neatly into the “startup” box as most people think of it, just as they don’t fit into the “investor”, “accelerator”, or “product design” boxes as most people think of those categories.
In a place like Austin, you have some random coincidences. Turns out the principals at Thinktiv and I all came to Austin to work with Trilogy in the 90’s. The day that they were moving into their office for the first time on San Jacinto, our family just happened to be walking past, on our way to one of Austin’s many outdoor festivals downtown. They’ve been heavily involved in the Austin startup community – such as Capital Factory and SXSW.
One of the things we’ve always liked about their business is that they bring a multi-disciplinary approach to startups. We bring a multi-disciplinary approach to BPM – but we started with 2 disciplines – and we’ve added to our arsenal over time as we’ve scaled our business. When I think where BP3 started, it is amazing to me that we can now offer services across a good spectrum:
- BPM Implementation services – our bread and butter
- BPM and Process Improvement – also bread and butter
- BP Strategy – a new offering
- Mobile applications and BPM – new as of 2012, and we have the capability not just to do the process work to support it, but also the mobile apps that interact with the process.
- UI/UX design for BPM and Mobile apps – a capability we needed to add to improve on our value proposition to customers, it has helped create real advocates for process within our customer base
- Cloud deployment offerings for customers who want to outsource management of these BPM infrastructure resources
- Development capabilities to augment our service and product offerings via BP Labs.
We had to acquire and learn a lot of new skills to bring this multi-disciplinary approach to the table, but in the end it was the right thing to do to see our vision for customer service through to the end.