High Alpha works with other startups
By Terri Horvath
In venture-capital lingo, alpha refers to the excess in a return delivered by a fund over a set benchmark. One Indianapolis startup confidently proclaims that objective in its name — High Alpha.
The company focuses on finding high-tech ideas or existing entities and building their operations. To achieve this mission, the enterprise is divided into two separate operations: High Alpha Studio, which helps conceive, launch and scale companies involved with enterprise technology; and High Alpha Capital, which provides early-stage venture funding for both High Alpha Studio companies and outside entrepreneurs.
The founding partners bring varied experience as leaders in technology-based companies: Scott Dorsey was former chairman, CEO and co-founder of ExactTarget; Mike Fitzgerald, former executive vice president of corporate development at ExactTarget and co-founder of Gravity Ventures; Eric Tobias, founder and CEO of iGoDigital; and Kristian Andersen, founder of Studio Science and co-founder of Gravity Ventures. “Two critical components for a great software business are to solve a real problem in a big market. What is even more important than the idea is identifying the right problem and the right market — the idea will fall out of that. Nothing is worse than having a great ‘solution’ in search of a problem,” said Andersen.
High Alpha was founded with an eye on the great potential in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market, which is projected to grow from $49 billion in 2015 to $67 billion in 2018, according to company promotional material. High Alpha wants to be part of “building this next generation cloud software.”
Andersen explained some major considerations in their investments. “Another big component to a successful business is having a talented leader to run the business. If we have a big problem, in a big market, with a great leader, we can pretty much figure everything else out.”
Other investors agree. Working with High Alpha Studio are San Francisco-based Emergence Capital and Chicago-based Hyde Park Venture Partners. On the side of High Alpha Capital are Maryland-based Greenspring Associates and others.
Companies in High Alpha Studio portfolio include:
- ClearScholar, designed to improve the higher education of students by personalized mobile engagement.
- Doxly, a legal transaction platform to improve how attorneys manage and close deals.
- Lesson.ly, which provides learning automation software. An example would be training software for an HR department.
- Octiv (formerly known as Tinderbox), which produces products specifically to help in the sales process.
- Sigstr, which works primarily with projects involving email. An example is a marketing campaign sent via email.
- Visible, a platform designed to capture key performance data to share with stakeholders.
- Zylo, a platform involving software licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted.
High Alpha Capital has also invested in outside companies — including DroneDeploy, with a product that allows the user to automate drone flight and explore map data directly, and TINYpulse, with an employee engagement platform covering surveys, peer recognition and performance reviews.