Jan 25, 2017

Meet the Jacksonville company that beat thousands of competitors to grab a spot at one of the largest startup conferences

Via. Jensen Werley, Jacksonville Business Journal

Mary Lee Weir CEO and Founder of RealComm Global

Mary Lee Weir CEO and Founder of RealComm Global

A Jacksonville tech company is one of 100 companies out of some tens of thousands of applicants to be selected to participate and compete in Startup Grind, a global conference for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

RealComm Global is the only company attending from Jacksonville, and will have the chance to present its one-minute pitch in front of the world’s top investors and innovators from Feb. 21 to 22.

RealComm has created a customizable platform for translation software for businesses: Companies can use their secure, cloud-based system to have video conferences with real-time translation using voice recognition and subtitles. It recognizes 100 languages and can provide voice translation for 60 of them, it’s also compliant with all finance and healthcare security laws, including HIPAA.

CEO Mary Lee Weir said it’s ideal for use in finance, healthcare, tech support and education and can be customer-facing or be used internally, especially for companies that are international. The more its used, the more its machine-learning can recognize the phrases and terminology of a company, as well as the facial and tonal expressions of those who are using it.

“Companies all over the world need to be able to communicate more efficiently,” Weir said, standing inside the space RealComm Global uses at PS27 Ventures, the accelerator it’s part of. “We provide what scientists were dreaming of 30 years ago, but now we can deliver it.”

Weir said the idea started when she was creating a front-end app for psychologists and online therapy. The app used Web RTC, or real time communication, in its early days; web RTC is now the foundation of RealComm Global’s product.

When she was having trouble growing her online therapy product customer by customer, she met with an adviser, Tom Rossi, who helped her create a suite of more sophisticated code that could be sold to developers: That set of code developed into the totally customizable platform she has today, which can be sold to developers and integrated into a company’s larger pantheon of software.

To participate in Startup Grind, Weir was one of thousands who filled out a form online, then got a callback with an interview asking specifics about her company. When she got the offer to participate, she was given 72 hours to make a decision on whether she would come; she said it took her about four to get her affairs in order and confirm she would be there.

Moving ahead, Weir is trying to get into the top 50 presenters, which means she’ll be able to stand on-stage and present to the ground. RealComm Global is also trying to get to VIP status, which means they’ll get face-to-face time with individual investors and help them get to their goal of $1.7 million and a group of pilot customers.

Part of getting to that top status includes a community support component — much like One Spark or Dancing with the Stars, Jacksonville can voice their support for RealComm Global by entering a sweepstakes following their customized link, which can help propel them into the top presenters.

RealComm Global is the first company from PS27 Ventures to make it to Startup Grind, said Jim Stallings, founder of the Jacksonville-based accelerator.

“It’s a phenomenal accomplishment already,” Stallings told the Business Journal. “It’s two days in Silicon Valley. We’ve never had anybody at this level of competition. They’ll be up in front of a group full of other startups and will have the chance to meet the superstars of Silicon Valley, like Google, the founder of Netscape, Y Combinator, Facebook. This is the place startups want to go to.”

For Weir, who will bring her team of four with her to Startup Grind to have all-hands on deck, she said going to the conference is a chance to really show what PS27 and Jacksonville have to offer.

“There is a lot going on in Jacksonville,” she said. “Between the robotics work of Mark McCombs and all these companies in the field, there is a nice talent pool in Jacksonville. There is an ecosystem to support companies like ours and we want to how companies like ours can come out of Jacksonville.”

Jensen covers technology, retail and entrepreneurship.

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