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Customer service is one area where small businesses can beat big-box competitors
Entrepreneur: Kabir Shahani, 26
Funding: Self-funded, with $4,000
Appature's health-care marketing software balances two opposing needs. It's simple enough to let marketers at such companies as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Microsoft (MSFT) pitch medical devices and health-record software to consumers, yet sophisticated enough to obscure sensitive medical data. "Marketers are always the last group to adopt new technology," says co-founder and CEO Shahani. Two years after shipping its first product, Appature is profitable and on track to book several million dollars in revenue this year, Shahani says.
Lessons learned: "Work with your customers to meet their evolving business needs," Shahani says. "Every one of our customers is taking a different approach to managing limited budgets. We need to be able to support that with our technology."