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High Alpha Studio launches software-tracking startup

June 30, 2016

Last fall, High Alpha Studio LLC Managing Partner Scott Dorsey said he envisioned launching "eight to 10 companies over the next three to four years."

On Thursday morning, the Indianapolis-based venture studio announced the launch of its second startup in less than a month—a software firm called Zylo.

Zylo is a software-as-a-service, or SaaS, company that helps enterprises manage their SaaS subscriptions. Many businesses these days spend thousands or millions of dollars annually on a variety of software applications, Zylo co-founder and CEO Eric Christopher said, in areas including HR, content creation and marketing. Zylo says it gives a holistic view of them all.

"What we're really trying to do is be one central view of everything that's happening with all your SaaS providers," Christopher said. "If you're an organization that manages hundreds of subscriptions—which is a norm at big companies—you have so many different people involved, renewal cycle dates, all of that."

Yes, Zylo even tracks itself.

Christopher, 37, was a business development manager at ExactTarget from 2002 to 2010. He spent the next six years in Chicago leading sales teams at Shoutlet and Sprout Social Inc., and began molding the idea for Zylo last fall with the former ExactTarget executives who now run High Alpha.

Christopher joined the year-old venture studio in March and nabbed other ExactTarget and Salesforce alums for his new startup, including former director of product management Ben Pippenger and former procurement director Cory Wheeler.

Zylo is intended to be a home base for chief financial officers, chief information officers and other senior executives. The application does three main things: tracks spending, assesses utilization and gauges user sentiment.

Its insights could guide companies to increase investments on some services, Christopher said, cut spending on others, and even eliminate redundant subscriptions by two or more unaware departments.

Christopher said it competes in some ways with other procurement- or vendor-management applications, but it specializes in the nuances of SaaS subscriptions.

"These subscriptions are definitely underestimated," Christopher said, giving an an example of companies guessing the number of software subscriptions they have. "They'll say 20 or 30 ... then we'll look across the business and come back and it's actually 50 or 60."

Zylo has a few beta customers so far, including locally based Interactive Intelligence Inc. and Appirio Inc., and New York-based Return Path Inc.—which has an Indianapolis office.

It has five employees, including Christopher, and four job openings.

Earlier this month High Alpha launched ClearScholar, an education-tech startup that aims to better connect universities to their student populations.
 

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