The three Austin tech companies below have been busy. From recently going public to landing full integrations with Google and Microsoft to winning over 160,000 clients, Hyliion, LumApps and EZ Texting are reaping the benefits of the hard work their teams are putting in, and they have a lot to celebrate.
We did a deep dive into some of the recent developments, technology offerings and case studies these tech companies have that are worth paying attention to.
What they do: Hyliion is a provider of electric powertrain solutions for Class 8 long-haul semitrailers. The company aims to decrease carbon emissions in logistics by offering a fully electric powertrain system — the Hypertruck ERX — and conversion kits to transform standard diesel-powered trucks into hybrids.
Trading trucks: Hyliion Founder and CEO Thomas Healy rang the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) bell earlier this month to celebrate the closing of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with Tortoise Acquisition Corp. The business combination granted the now-public company — formally known as “Hyliion Holdings Corp” — with $560 million in capital to spark the commercialization and mass production of the all-electric Hypertruck ERX vehicle and continue development on existing hybrid powertrain solutions.
Healy told Transport Topics that his team wanted to pursue a SPAC rather than a more conventional initial public offering (IPO) because they appreciated that the former was more of a negotiation rather than a “roadshow for an IPO that may — or may not — be successful.”
Electric shipping: Hyliion’s business model is driven by updating existing trucks with more sustainable solutions rather than building entirely new vehicles from scratch. The company combines its proprietary batteries, software and analytics with electric motors and other machinery. The Hypertruck ERX system will replace diesel engines with a bank of electric batteries charged by onboard generators that are powered by compressed natural gas. The system will offer more power and torque than traditional trucks, with a range up to 1,300 miles carrying an 80,000-pound load.
Hybrid conversions can be fitted to most of the popular truck brands today and feature an electric axle, battery pack and improved aerodynamics. They also feature algorithm-based control units that analyze the upcoming topography of the road and adjust outputs to deliver more efficient power and fuel management.
What they do: LumApps is an intranet, employee engagement and workflow consolidation suite that houses many of a business’s digital tools in one place. Employees can see their emails, tasks, meetings, favorite Slack channels and more on a centralized dashboard.
Google and Microsoft integration: Earlier this month, LumApps was officially added to Google Cloud Marketplace. Companies can now adopt the platform — which was built natively on Google Cloud and fully integrated with Google Workspace — as their social intranet and digital workplace of choice easier than ever. That integration positions LumApps as the only enterprise intranet that Google explicitly recommends.
In February, LumApps also announced a full integration with Microsoft Office’s 365 suite. The customizable dashboard can manage all Microsoft’s tools — SharePoint Online, Outlook, Teams and more — that teams can access at any time from their mobile devices. The integration was built off the success of LumApps joining the Microsoft Partner eXperience program (PAX) in October 2019, which enabled LumApps’ product and development teams to work in close collaboration with Microsoft on new initiatives.
Finish Line partner: In 2018, box-store shoe retailer Finish Line migrated its 14,000-person corporate and in-store workforce to LumApps’ Google integration. The company needed a united digital workplace and communication portal to connect staff in its Indiana-based headquarters with employees across its nationwide storefronts, which total almost 1,000 in number. According to Finish Line VP of Technology and Operations Solutions Warren Lenard, collaboration was inefficient across the entire organization. For instance, one document that employees were building together could take 60 emails to generate and could have different versions split between various locations. And uploading files to previous internal servers “would take forever,” he told Computer World.
Over a two month period, Finish Line migrated to LumApps’ G Suite solution to create a new company intranet and improved their efficiency dramatically. Lenard said in the first year, teams uploaded over 2 million documents to Google Drive, emails between executive teams and in-store staff reduced by 90 percent, and there was a huge overall cost savings.
What they do: EZ Texting helps businesses of all kinds connect with their intended audiences through a text-based marketing platform. The platform helps clients reach goals like win customers, improve brand awareness, manage events more efficiently and more.
Cross-industry solutions: There are more than 26 billion text messages sent every day in the U.S. as of June 2017, according to Statistic Brain. EZ Texting reports that texts have a 98 percent open rate and that 75 percent of people prefer to receive marketing messages via text as opposed to other mobile messaging systems. Based on this principle of high usage, EZ Texting is currently helping over 160,000 businesses across more than a dozen verticals — including hotels, schools, government, gyms and religious organizations — use text-based solutions to meet their needs.
Marketing tools like personalized texts, drip campaigns and text-to-win promotions help clients connect with consumers. While tools like mass texts, custom toll-free numbers, one-on-one direct messages and an analytics suite help drive efficiency and improve sales.
Domino’s Pizza case study: A Domino’s franchise near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte that serves 25,000 students wanted to boost RIO from its roughly minute-long TV and video ads during the school’s basketball games. Area Director Ryan Swanson wanted to use the ads to increase engagement on the franchise’s Facebook page where it could host promotions and sell more pies. However, previous attempts had prompted students to type in the page’s web address, which led to lower engagement rates.
“Most students are not going to jot down a website during a basketball game,” Swanson told EZ Texting. “But taking a couple of seconds to send and receive a text with the URL of the group makes sense.”
Swanson employed EZ Texting’s keyword and common-use short code during ads, which offered free pizzas to those that joined the Facebook group. The promotional texts averaged around 25 percent redemption rates, drove many new students to the Facebook page and boosted profits significantly. Over that semester, the franchise’s cost per acquisition was only 15 cents and it added 850 text message marketing subscribers.