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Editor’s Note: The Raleigh Innovators Program is a three-month lean startup and design-thinking accelerator that aims to cultivate breakthrough mobile, cloud, and collaboration technologies. Supported by a coalition of organizations including Citrix Startup Accelerator, Red Hat, Cherokee, HQ Raleigh, and the City of Raleigh, there are 12 teams participating in this year’s program. Of those teams, four are “intrapreneurial” teams from Red Hat and Citrix, three are clean tech teams supported by Cherokee, and the rest are early-stage technology startups. This blog series takes a closer look at the 2015 cohort.

With the proliferation of accelerators in recent years, it can be difficult for these accelerators to differentiate themselves and build a strong profile. Successful accelerators tend to be laser focused on specific subject matter expertise. The Citrix Startup Accelerator has carved out a niche in corporate innovation and enterprise technology since it launched in 2011. One differentiator that the Innovators Program offers is a blended cohort that takes external startups from each region and puts them alongside Intrapreneurs from Citrix and its corporate partners. Today, we take a look at the four Intrapreneur teams from Citrix and Red Hat - Addo, Coco, Collider, and Para.

Citrix Team Addo
Online training is usually delivered through one of two mediums: recorded asynchronous video through a learning management system (LMS) or live, instructor-led trainings through an online product. Addo, developed by Hudson Haines and Sujan Abraham from Citrix, is a product aimed at disrupting the traditional training space.  

The team’s product combines two of the most widely used delivery methods into a single, simple interface to offer a different style of online learning. Hudson and Sujan came up with the idea after competing in the Citrix Hack Week challenge. Since developing the original concept, the idea has been shaped through speaking with customers and gaining a better understanding of their pain points.

Citrix Team Coco
Citrix colleagues Anuja Gogate, Ryan Morton, and John Totten are creating Coco, a tool to help teams get the context they need to accelerate decision-making. The team recognized that people are under a constant barrage of emails, texts, invites, and notifications. Further, people use several tools to manage all of these types of communications. This approach leads to constantly switching between tools, which can make decision-making complicated and slow. Coco aims to bring all messaging, file sharing, and meeting tools together in one easy-to-use platform.  

With fierce competition, the team is interested in gaining an understanding of how to communicate the value of their idea and bring it to market. They have gained so much from the Innovators Program and credit the program with pushing them to maintain momentum.  

While the team is seeking to grow their business, they have a positive attitude and believe the lean, iterative, and user-centered approach obtained from participating in this project will help them with their goal of making the best products possible.

Red Hat Team Collider
Red Hatters Lincoln Baxter, III; Ian Hands; Jozef Hartinger; and Josh Kinlaw are working to enhance developers’ awareness of projects and help them collaborate with other developers. Across the industry, developers spend hours trying to address problems that may have already been solved. By bringing the right answers to the right people at the right time, the team believes they can help developers save time and get un-stuck. The app can connect developers with others around the world, or locally on their team, who may have already experienced a similar issue. As such, it encourages collaboration and productivity by helping individuals make connections with their peers.

As part of the Innovator's Program, the team has been learning how to engage customers and validate an idea. The first step of the process is discovery – speaking with and interviewing industry developers. These conversations with developers has helped the team to hone their vision for Collider.

Citrix Team Para
Team members Virginia Moundous, Kevin Tuttle, and Kelley Allen believe that seven out of 10 people check their phones while driving, presenting significant safety issues. After extensive testing, the team believes that many apps claiming to be safer solutions or that use hands-free voice recognition to perform tasks were not always reliable and could leave the end-user hanging.

They began working on Para, a mobile app designed to help busy professionals stay productive and connected when on the go. The app is designed to be simple and easy-to-use and relies on an innovative gesture and voice interface. Using only four main gestures, people can have the app speak to them as they navigate. The goal is to meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards and have most of the tasks performed on the app to rank at a two or lower according to the AAA distracted driving study.

So far the team has found that the biggest obstacle to bringing their product to market is time, but they are also excited by how much they are learning from the Innovators Program. They’ve learned how important it is to have a more holistic view of the business and bigger appreciation for all moving parts.

All teams will present their businesses to the Raleigh innovation community Tuesday, December 8th, at Market Hall in Downtown Raleigh. For tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/innovators-program-raleigh-demo-day-tickets-19371678211

This post was authored by the Red Hat team with assistance from Citrix and the featured teams. For more information on the Innovators Program, please visit www.citrixstartupaccelerator.com/raleigh.