David Johnston is in the process of securing the $500,000 he needs to take his startup into beta.
Engine is one of four companies selected to pitch before the full membership of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN) this Thursday, November 29th. After presenting as one of the top 20, then again as one of the top 10, this is the ﬁnal step before due diligence and term sheet negotiation.
Overwhelmed by your email? Engine connects your different data sources (email, social media, and documents) to show you contextually relevant information, so you can answer questions faster and with less stress. “Just like Rapportive provides social intelligence inside your gmail box,” said Johnston, “Engine provides data intelligence to help solve the problem of information overload.”
Now officing at Tech Ranch, David Johnston credits much of Engine’s success to the partners he met here. “Venture Forth allowed us to meet and work with a lot of technical partners that made this project possible.” He cites partnerships with Mike McNeil from Balderdash – who is building Engine’s front end extension on Chrome – and Patrick McGuiness from Elastic Knowledge – who has helped with the data science, machine learning, and the natural language processing used to analyze and parse email text content. McGuiness just signed on as Engine’s new CTO.
“Normally, I have to attend lots of different meetings with people all over the place,” said Johnston. “With Venture Forth, every Tuesday I got a dozen points of feedback on our product, presentation, and business plan. That, plus the input from advisors like Kevin, Shlok, and Eric really helped shape the company.”
Johnston has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade. As a seasoned entrepreneur, he is quick to say that it can be a fairly lonely road. “I’ve never felt more at home with a group of similar entrepreneurs,” he said, “to be able to so quickly bounce ideas and get resources. Venture Forth was refreshing. I really enjoyed the accelerated entrepreneurial process.”
The number one benefit Johnson experienced from Venture Forth, was being able to speed up his alpha launch by three months. Just in time for Startup Bazaar, an event hosted by Tech Ranch during Austin Startup Week – which in 2012 featured an opportunity to pitch to CTAN.
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