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New Venture Powers Corporate Creativity

batterii "Turns Every Employee and Customer Into an Innovator" (May 11, 2012)

CINCINNATI, OH -- (Marketwire) -- 05/11/12 -- Batterii, a Cincinnati-based open-collaboration innovation software venture, has raised $800,000 in seed-stage funding, hired a seasoned West Coast technology executive as its CEO and added six other key executives to its management team.

Kevin C. Cummins, former chief operating officer of Spigit, a leading Silicon Valley idea management software applications company, has moved to Cincinnati to run batterii. Cummins has invested $250,000, and CincyTech has invested $300,000 as part of a planned $1 million seed-stage round that will help it expand engineering and sales. The batterii executive team has added $150,000, and another $100,000 has been committed by an undisclosed investor.

Batterii is a Web-based SaaS platform that empowers companies to engage their employees, partners and customers to build new ideas, identify new products and drive process improvement to increase top-line revenue. Among its key customers are Nike Inc. and home décor direct-sales company PartyLite. Batterii has 16 full-time employees and plans to grow to 28 by year end.

Joining the management team are Laurie Morse, vice president of global sales; Challis Hodge, executive vice president of customer experience; Joe Messina, executive vice president of strategy; Nick Franceschina, chief technology officer; Tom Brister, vice president of services; and John Auer, vice president. Hamilton Dorian is serving as chief financial officer.

Cincinnati marketing executive Chad Reynolds, batterii's chief creative officer, founded the company after seeing the need for developing new ideas at all levels of a corporation.

"Companies are looking for better ways to be innovative," Reynolds said. "Batterii has developed a next-generation experience for companies, teams and individuals to create that value together. Early clients, such as Nike, have used our platform to create insights, campaign themes and new product ideas. We are removing the barriers for participation."

At Spigit, Cummins was responsible for operations, services and customer support, including community management, client services, and technical services. He has worked as a sales executive at Sun Microsystems, as well as in corporate development. His background includes sales operations and management, global marketing and engineering management. He has a bachelor's of science from Miami University and an M.B.A from University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University.

Morse, who lives in Southern California, has more than 25 years of experience in social media, information technology and media/entertainment. Hodge, formerly vice president of user experience at the Nielsen Co., brings global experience and proven success in driving elegant product design and exceptional customer experience. Brister, who has worked for Spigit and Allstate Insurance, brings both client and provider experience in executing global managed-innovation programs.

Messina and Auer both came from Spigit, where Messina served as vice president of community management and Auer was director of portfolio and platform.

"Batterii is addressing a $6 billion market, and our approach is focused on growing our clients' top-line revenue," said Cummins. "With the security and scalability of the Google Apps-based SaaS platform, our software begins with capturing inspiration and supports the process through the building and analysis of ideas."

Mike Venerable, managing director of digital, information and health tech for CincyTech, says batterii's strong management team, combined with its unique technology platform, made for an attractive investment opportunity.

"Chad is a proven entrepreneur, and Kevin is a technology leader who can take batterii onto a national platform," said Venerable. "Batterii's approach gives companies wanting to innovate an entirely new tool for broad engagement in the development of new products, new markets and improved internal processes."

A Towers Watson report found that companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2 percent year over year while those with low engagement saw a decrease of 32.7percent, he added.

"Allowing innovation to happen at all levels of a company -- and from the outside -- is crucial in creating community, building ideas and gaining insights, ideas and consensus."

Batterii will be exhibiting at Front End Innovation in Orlando, Fla, next week from May 15-17.

Reynolds will be speaking on "Innovating with Three Eyes" on May 15 as part of the CoCreation Track.

About batterii
Batterii is a platform that connects management, coworkers and customers in a real-time experience to collect inspiration and build ideas. Its Guides help individuals build the right skills, its Labs inspire teams through disruptive experiences, and its Platforms connect companies to discover multimillion-dollar opportunities and solve problems. Batterii makes innovation a group participation effort and affordable to manage for companies at all levels.

About CincyTech
CincyTech is a public-private seed-stage investment firm that invests in startup businesses in high-tech industries in Southwest Ohio. With substantial support from Ohio Third Frontier and corporations, foundations, civic organizations and individuals here, it is stimulating the growth of venture-worthy companies in information technology, bioscience and advanced manufacturing.

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