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Apptegic, deciphering how customers interact with Web-based apps, attracts angel funding from Netezza founder Jit Saxena

Posted by Scott Kirsner  June 9, 2011 08:05 AM

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Does anyone really know what users are doing with software-as-a-service applications? Apptegic, a new Boston start-up, believes that most companies that build them are flying blind. So Apptegic is developing a set of tools, now in private beta, to better gauge how people use Web-based apps.

And the company has attracted about $250,000 in angel funding from Netezza founder Jit Saxena; his publicly-held data warehousing company was acquired by IBM last year for $1.7 billion.

"The big vision is that we think most businesses' relationships with their customers and partners is mediated through software," says co-founder and CEO Karl Wirth. "That is true today, and it's only getting more true." While IT staffers are responsible for making sure those customer-facing applications are up and running, executives in marketing or product management don't have much insight into what customers are actually doing with them. Wirth says, "If you imagine a SaaS application, you want to know what features people are using; who's uploading documents and how often; who's sharing stuff; what problems people are having. You can start exploring ways to improve customers' experience, and do things like figure out who might be good candidates for an up-sell."

He says Apptegic has about a dozen companies participating in its beta test, including one Fortune 100 company. "We've talked to more than 70 SaaS companies since November, and they all get the importance of what we call 'application usage analytics,' but a lot of them have been trying to solve it themselves. So you have the engineers who are busy building the SaaS application also trying to solve this problem. We are working on a way for them to buy the solution, rather than build it," Wirth says.

Apptegic co-founders Karl Wirth and Greg Hinkle met while working for RedHat, the open source biggie, in Westford; Wirth had earlier been at RSA Security, and Hinkle at JBoss. The four-person company doesn't yet have an office, and Wirth says they're currently out trying to raise additional funding.

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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.

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