Spotlight on San Mateo Entrepreneurs
Several recent companies featured in the San Francisco Business Times’ “Entrepreneurs” section are based in San Mateo. Coincidence? Not at all. Innovation in business feeds off of its surroundings and entrepreneurs thrive in environments where they rub elbows with other emerging companies.
So let’s take a look at San Mateo’s entrepreneurial culture with two hot startups. Below are excerpts from interviews conducted by the San Francisco Business Times.
What it does: Runs big data analytics for cyber security, in order to detect anomalous behaviors before there is a breach.
Year founded: 2012
Growth: More than 100 percent growth in users just in 2015.
Before founding Fortscale, Idan Tendler was a lead agent of the 8200, a cyberwarfare division of the Israeli Defense Forces. After six years, Tendler transitioned into tech investment before launching Fortscale in Tel Aviv. After the company hit more than 100 percent growth and pulled in a $10 million round of venture money in 2014, Tendler decided to move Fortscale to the Bay Area to create stronger connections with business partners and clients.
Pros/Cons of headquarter location?
Moving the headquarters from Tel Aviv to the Bay Area was a great decision. We are now physically with our customers. The challenge all the time is the competition for talent. That proves harder here, but it will clearly get more challenging.
What problem is Fortscale solving?
We are a user behavior analytics business so we are helping identify suspicious activity. Insider threats and hijacked credentials are two major weak points that almost no company can completely eliminate, so identifying unusual activities is crucial.
What it does: It is a smart device that you can connect to a keychain, backpack or other item and the connected app would be able to locate and ring it.
Year founded: 2012
Growth: In the first two years, Tile shipped more than 2 million units and in the last six months it has exceeded that already. The company also expects to double headcount in 2016 (mostly in design and engineering).
Tile CEO Mike Farley was sick of losing stuff. Relying on his engineering and design background, the first-time entrepreneur decided to solve the near-universal problem of losing important items like keys, phones and wallets. He and a small team worked nights and weekends for nine months to build a sleek prototype of Tile, a device that can be attached to any object and ping a signal to your smartphone to help you find it. After three years, a successful crowdfunding campaign and $16 million in venture capital, Tile is on its second update and can be purchased in Target, Best Buy and the Apple Store.
Trend you find exciting?
The things we interact with are primarily analog and one day will ultimately be connected. Those who are able to envision how that process will happen will have an advantage. We have done that with the analog keychain and now it is attached to the Internet. The Internet of Things space will take shape more like that and solving real problems, not connecting stuff for the sake of it.
Advice to an entrepreneur? Never stop, never give up. You have to drive through.
Businesses expanding or relocating their offices within Silicon Valley, San Francisco or the general Bay Area can look no further. Bay Meadows has 5 brand new office buildings conveniently located on Caltrain; the first building, Station 4, is being leased by SurveyMonkey and will feature floor to ceiling glass, bike storage, expansive floorplates and locker room facilities. Station 3 is now leasing. All of the office buildings will have access to 18 acres of parks, a social street featuring coffee shops, restaurants, a biergardten and plenty of outdoor gathering spaces. The buildings are minutes from the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and proximal to SFO! It’s just 10 minutes to Palo Alto and SFO and 25 minutes to San Francisco!