From coffee-soaked idea to acquisition
The road to success started on a napkin, at a golf course, in a smoky bar…
Generate is one of those happy-ending startup stories Dan just loves to tell. Dan met twin entrepreneurs Tom and Darr Aley at a golf course, where a sketch was produced on a napkin. It was the basic interface concept behind what would become Generate g2—technology that solved the fundamental challenge of acquiring essential business, profiles, executives and relationships in a single view. G2 was business intelligence on steroids.
So first off, there needed to be some down-and-dirty branding and product front-end development—young Generate’s first suit, tie, and loafers! And Generate’s first corporate logo. Tom was carrying his bag to different venture capitalists to secure seed funding. He needed a basic look for his baby company. And the product interface needed to look professional. All this basic branding and interface design wound up in his PowerPoint presentation for pitching investors.
Dan made the brand green and crisp, like an apple. Generate was positioned as a premium business intelligence service empowered with a social-networking component. Its business intelligence database was real-time. It was like selling organic vegetables—the product had to be fresh to retain maximum value. The color green on white and black was simple, straightforward, and fresh. Organic, crispy intelligence just harvested from rich, black soil!
And Generate got funded!
After initial funding, the first year, Generate was in stealth mode. The team was immersed in building the product, while quietly wooing new customers and investors. Dan worked with the developers to create interface designs that could be built efficiently as scalable CSS templates for future expansion.Generate g2 had deep data on millions of companies and executives—and showed how the customer connected to them. The interface needed to be simple to use while offering business intelligence from our proprietary dynamic business databases.
One year later and Generate g2 was in place. It was time to take it to the stage. CEO Tom Aley began public introductions of Generate g2. Generate was a finalist at the American Business Awards as well as at the SIIA CODiE Awards. This got Dan to change hats at produce promotional materials: banner ads, a landing page, and print advertising. Also, an identity system for a line of data products that was evolving. And of course, alongside the product website, the marcom website was designed and built.Generate g2 was marketed across the United States. They were very active at trade events and were getting daily press exposure. There were trade shows to design for, webinars, presentations, animations, collateral, data sheets—the whole nine yards. Dan also was pushing the envelope by researching and developing techniques to visualize connection paths in better ways. And then…
On Thursday, April 17, 2008, 11:00 a.m. Generate Inc. was acquired by Dow Jones and Company.
Success at last! Now the limitations of a startup were removed, and Generate had the resources of a major corporation to promote and develop our technology. It was the best outcome the Generators could hope for.
The acquisition meant that Dan would be part of an established brand and would need to understand it intuitively.
2008 Software and Information Industry Association CODiE Awards:
Best Content Aggregation ServiceBest Content Newcomer
Best Solution Integrating Content into Workflow
Best Business Productivity Solution
Best Online Business Information Service
Best Online News ServiceFinalist, 2008 Red Herring 100 AwardsInterface Design, Dow Jones g2
Finalist, 2008 SoftwareCEO Software Innovation Awards
Finalist, SBANE 2008 Innovation Awards
Finalist, 2008 SoftwareCEO Awards
Second Place, Top Innovator of 2007
2007 Information Today People’s Choice Awards
Second Place, Top Enterprise Application 2007 Information Today People’s Choice Awards
Finalist, 2007 American Business Awards