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Startup profile: Protopia, helping organizations find expertise across membership

Sep, 15 2017, 3:25 PM

Here's a question to ponder if your organization is having trouble finding expertise across its membership:

"Why is it not as easy as Uber to give and get advice from someone in your startup organization, alumni network, or professional association? Where’s the button to send that bat signal into the sky, and have relevant, willing and available experts rally to your help?"

Protopia says it has an answer.

"We want to make it so easy, fast, and efficient that you’ll laugh at LinkedIn requests. Think artificial intelligence to drive human intelligence," says CEO Max Leisten, a veteran of emerging successful marketing-focused firm Netsertive.

Protopia offers an SaaS solution.

"No fancy mobile app. No logins. No documentation. If you know how to text and send email, you know how to use Protopia," the Cary startup says.

"Our secret sauce is invisible because we focus on a human-to-human experience that is easy, fast, and effective."

Protopia will be demonstrating its capabilities at CED's Tech Venture Conference on Sept. 19-20.

This profile is one in a continuing series written, edited and published by WRAL TechWire in partnership with the CED.


Profile: Protopia

​The Q&A:

SaaS platform for membership organizations.

Tapping organizational expertise is hard. Who has relevant insights or connections? Who’s willing and available to help, right now? How do you engage and motivate experts to help?

Membership communities such as startup organizations, alumni networks, and professional associations measure success based on quantity and quality of engagement. Yet the more successful a community is, the greater the challenge for its members to access the wealth of knowledge “at their fingertips.”

Why is it not as easy as Uber to give and get advice from someone in your startup organization, alumni network, or professional association? Where’s the button to send that bat signal into the sky, and have relevant, willing and available experts rally to your help?

That’s our mission.

We want to make it so easy, fast, and efficient that you’ll laugh at LinkedIn requests. Think artificial intelligence to drive human intelligence.

Unlike traditional membership software solutions that offer rich, searchable directories, Protopia focuses on what’s really hard: finding and asking that relevant, willing, and available member for help.

Members request help through tools they already use (email, SMS, Slack). Protopia’s technology understands the context of the request, matches it to the right experts in the network, and asks potential advisers to assist - as little or as much as they would like to.

We focus on ease-of-use, speed, and relevancy to match members that need assistance with members that desire to help - and build & strengthen meaningful human relationships within the network.

Investors understand better than most professionals that success has many fathers. Startup founders and executive teams need to leverage the resources and connections available in their networks to grow their companies. And there is simply no solution available today that makes asking for and giving help as easy as Lyft.

While we believe there is an unmet need in many industry verticals, our immediate target market are the 50,000+ startup organizations, alumni networks, and professional associations in the United States. These communities have high member affinity that Protopia will leverage to yield significant engagement.

We are developing unique intellectual property and machine-learning infrastructure that will behind an intentional low-tech approach help us scale an unmatched expertise of finding and engaging the needle in the haystack

Max Leisten, CEO of Protopia, has built and marketed complex SaaS solutions to a broad set of industry verticals (including higher education) at venture-backed software companies. Most recently he was the Head of Product at Netsertive in NC.

The company is bootstrapped without external financing.





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