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How New York Start-Ups (Smartling) Weathered the Hurricane

October 31, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy swept New York this week, it flooded the city’s transit systems, closed schools, and left millions without power, phone or Internet access.

In a characteristic fashion, start-ups in the city tried to work throughout, with many running fully, or close to it, by Tuesday.

The three-person team at Peaberry, better known as Customer.io, took up residence at the apartment of their founder and chief executive Colin Nederkoorn in Williamsburg. His Brooklyn neighborhood, the CEO said, never lost power or Web access beyond a few flickers.

Nederkoorn rented a vehicle (from Zipcar ZIP +0.77%) to pick up his colleagues Tuesday, after a day of pings sent by text and iPhone messages, to locate them in Manhattan. Tuesday evening found the trio safely “co-working on air mattresses,” the CEO quipped.

Customer.io–which previously raised $250,000 in angel funding from 10 investors including TechStars founder David Cohen–provides business analytics and customer relationship management tools online. Namely, it helps app makers send automatic notifications to their users, based on what they are doing, or what they aren’t doing with those apps.

The CEO knew his systems would be employed by his clients to notify app users of the storm, and ask for their patience in case of any problems. It wasn’t just Customer.io’s business on the line if delays and errors were caused by the storm, Nederkoorn felt.

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Lora Kolodny, Wall Street Journal Blog, October 31, 2012

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