- Toby Olshanetsky
An Israeli startup called prooV is building what it calls the first “proof of concept” platform, which lets an enterprise test-drive a startup’s technology before they sign a purchase order for it.
Toby Olshanetsky, founder and CEO of prooV, has spent his 20-year career building enterprise software, mostly for startups, he says.
He says the idea came “out of the pain I experienced.”
The process for an enterprise to buy a startup’s technology pretty much goes like this: Startup pitch the tech. If the IT folks like it, they install it on their test/development computers and play with it.
If they think it will work for their company, they install it in a limited fashion in a more realistic way and make it work with other their apps and devices. This is called a “proof of concept” (POC). They might even roll out a POC on their real network to limited employees to give it a bigger test drive, before spending big bucks to buy the app and set up for all employees for real.
It is this POC stage that prooV is trying to simplify. So, it’s not the same thing as a way for developers to test their apps before they release them (aka, a TestFairy or TestFlight). Nor is it a way to set up a cloud-based development/test environment (aka Ravello Systems, acquired by Oracle).
A startup has to have its software far enough along to be sold to an enterprise.
“A startup signing to prooV has to go through a validation process. We want to make sure it can actually do POC,” Olshanetsky says.
The enterprise can then use the prooV service to securely trial the startup’s software on their actual network. And it can be used like a dating service for startups and validated enterprises to find each other.
This is a big, hard problem to solve and prooV is so young, there’s no guarantee it will succeed just yet.
But there are some good signs. For instance, even though the company just came out of stealth this week with $7 million in Series A funding, it’s already gaining a bit of traction, Olshanetsky says. The company has signed up 300 startups and 44 enterprises that are beta testing its platform, running 91 pilot tests, he tells us.
It also has the backing of one Israel’s most innovative VC firms, OurCrowd, which allows average investors to invest in startups at the same terms given to high-end VCs. OurCrowd was founded by one of Israel’s most prominent VCs, Jon Medved.
ProoV is also backed by Luxembourg-based VC Mangrove Capital Partners.