Blaze Software is a start-up obsessed with speed — and the company has been setting some new speed records in its first few months of existence.
Michael Weider left his job at IBM in late August, started raising money for Blaze at the beginning of September, and "we had it sewn up by the end of the month," he says. His Ottawa-based company just raised just over $1 million in seed capital from individuals and organizations like Lexington-based CommonAngels and Boston Seed Capital, a new firm in Wellesley run by Nicole Stata.
Blaze was created to help customers make their Web sites zippier — when viewed on PCs, mobile phones, or tablets. "With poor site performance, you lose people," Weider says. "It used to be your pages could load in five seconds, but people are now looking for two seconds or less. There's a growing correlation between how fast a site is and its business success." And if your site is slow, that can hurt its ranking on Google, Weider adds. (Here's a sample analysis the company did on my personal Web site, http://scottkirsner.com.)
Weider says that Blaze's software automagically optimizes a Web site's performance for various desktop and mobile browsers, "without having to change any of your code." The start-up had a beta version of the software, and was able to show investors before-and-after examples of how it improved sites' performance.
Also helpful, Weider acknowledges, is that his last start-up, Watchfire Corp., was acquired by IBM in 2007, for an undisclosed sum. Three Watchfire veterans are working alongside him at Blaze. "People want to invest in teams that have done it before," he acknowledges.
Though Weider only left IBM at the end of August, several other engineers had been laying the groundwork for Blaze's product for several months, including co-founder and CTO Guy Podjarny, another Watchfire vet who left IBM back in January.
Blaze now has a six-person engineering team in Ottawa, but Weider says "we'll probably open up an office in Boston for sales and marketing as we get further along."
Here's a video explainer of how the technology works. It was produced by Blaze, which has several others on its Vimeo channel:
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About Scott Kirsner Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
May 22: MIT Sloan CIO Symposium
Chief information officers from Guess, Haemonetics, Intel and other companies talk discuss "architecting the enterprise of the future."
June 3: MITX Innovation Awards
Economist & blogger Jodi Beggs hosts at the Westin Copley.
June 25: TEDxBoston
The oldest and biggest of the locally-organized TED events is back, at the Seaport World Trade Center. Tickets are free, but tough to get. Also streams on the web and airs on WBUR.