[quote style=”boxed”]Collaborate. Great ideas may happen in a vacuum but it definitely requires others to bring them to life.[/quote]
Ed is the co-Founder and President of Kevy. Kevy offers a platform that makes it simple for companies to connect and integrate data across their cloud-based business applications.
Ed is a serial entrepreneur serving as co-Founder and CEO of EzGov, SparkIP and InterArch Technologies. EzGov, a pioneering e-government company with 180 people across four global offices, was acquired by CACI in 2009. Ed began his career at Accenture and also ran global marketing for PGI, one of Atlanta’s largest technology companies (NYSE: PGI).
Ed has received multiple awards recognizing his business success including Ernst and Young Technology Executive of the Year and Duke University’s Distinguished Young Alumnus. Ed is a graduate of Duke University. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and three sons.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working with Co-founder David Cummings on Kevy. Kevy is a new software company that makes it simple to integrate cloud-based applications (email, eCommerce, CRM, Marketing Automation, etc). Kevy uses a unique plug-and-play platform that allows data to sync back and forth between your cloud apps.
Where did the idea for Kevy come from?
The number of business cloud apps has exploded over the past several years. Forrester predicts that the market for SaaS and Cloud Apps will be $123 billion market in 2014 alone. But as great as these apps are, we quickly realized they exist in silos from each other. Companies were having difficulties passing data between them and it’s often very difficult and expensive to integrate their cloud apps. It’s a big pain point that is only getting bigger. So the idea for Kevy came out of a desire to help companies solve this growing issue. Our goal was to make integration simple and painless. At Kevy, a non-technical person can literally set up an integration in under 10 minutes.
How do you make money?
We charge a monthly fee that is based on the amount of data moving between the systems. There is no long-term customer commitment or contract. So basically, we have to prove the value of our service every month. It’s a model that our customers like.
What does your typical day look like?
I spend the first half of the morning catching up on emails, twitter, and blogs. We have a 15 minute team stand-up every day at 10:20 so we can stay connected, have accountability for our work and highlight any roadblocks. The rest of the day is a mix of partner and customer calls, sales meetings, product meetings, interviews — basically whatever it takes to keep the company moving forward. I try to go out for lunch if I can squeeze it in. That’s my time to stay connected with the broader Atlanta tech community.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to bounce ideas off other people. Collaborate. Great ideas may happen in a vacuum but it definitely requires others to bring them to life.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The API Economy. As savvy engineers and entrepreneurs create more and more niche business applications in the market, companies are being forced to open up their products through APIs. The days of “trapping customers” inside an isolated system are over. As this happens, more value shifts to products like Kevy that enable integration.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked for a large consultancy firm coming out of college. Overall it was a good experience, but I got assigned to a series of projects setting up systems in hospitals around the country. It wasn’t very challenging work…basically I was bored. But, from that experience I learned quickly that if I wasn’t building or creating something new, then I wouldn’t be happy in my work.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would stay even closer to the world of technology, to where real innovation takes place.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Stay sharp on trends and technologies. Identify people you admire, that you can learn from, and invest in those relationships.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I started a company with the grand vision of funding social causes through product recommendations. Long story short…it didn’t work. So I did what most serial-entrepreneurs have done at some point in their careers. Lick your wounds and get back to work.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Salespeople are increasingly abandoning their desktops and living on smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, CRM and other systems that salespeople are in every day were built for the desktop and not mobile devices. If someone could build a suite of mobile sales tools that allowed you to place leads in from your mobile phone and also incorporated social intelligence from Twitter, Linkedin, and other sources, they could create the next five billion dollar software company.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Wow – where to begin? The problems of the world can be so overwhelming. I am drawn to causes that help the most innocent among us, our children. My wife is on the board of a great organization that is fighting child sex trafficking, www.youth-spark.org. It also troubles me that in a world where many of us have more than we need, there are so many children (even in the US) who go to bed hungry at night. If I could focus on this problem full-time, I would attempt to innovate an awareness-building, fundraising, and service delivery organization, similar to what charity:water has been able to do in delivering clean drinking water around the world.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I went bungee jumping one time to try to conquer my fear of heights. Let’s just say… I still fear heights.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. But it keeps me in the know.
My business partner’s daily blog on startups — 10,000 Startup Hours — is an awesome resource for entrepreneurs.
I’m a regular at RealClearPolitics.com. It’s the best site I’ve found for staying up on all viewpoints on a given issue.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
‘Good to Great‘ by Jim Collins. It’s a classic on what sets great companies and great leaders apart.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@billgates To be cliche – He’s walking the walk.
@ATLTechVillage The Atlanta tech community is unbelievable – perfect for staying updated on the world of tech.
@tinybuddha Daily pearls of wisdom – not just for Buddhists.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Almost every day and almost always my six year old son.
Who is your hero, and why?
I admire Abraham Lincoln more than anyone. I still haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve read a couple of his biographies over the past year. He was such a complex and interesting person. His speeches were poetic and powerful. The weight of the country was literally on his shoulders. He stuck to his principles, stood up to injustice and adversaries all around him, and created a better country for all of us, losing his life in the process.
What are your dreams for Kevy?
I want Kevy to be the de facto choice in the future as companies integrate their cloud apps. I want Kevy to be the next great Atlanta tech company. I want to have fun every day in the office solving problems and breaking new ground with an awesome team of colleagues.
What’s for dinner tonight?
Grilled burgers, I hope.
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