Prior to launching Excelerate Technology, Barbara Steinberg spent a good portion of her career working in the elder care business. After watching an employee perform an extremely manual and repetitive operation, she set out to find a more efficient technology-based solution. She discovered a software company based in the United Kingdom that, not only provided the perfect solution, but also represented a new opportunity for Steinberg.
"The work I was overseeing in the elder care business involved analyzing five years worth of bank statements as part of the application process for Medicaid recipients," she said. "One of our employees was transposing bank statements to Excel and I thought to myself, 'There has to be a better way'. After not really finding anything here in the U.S., I stumbled upon Altia Solutions, based in the U.K. The software converts the bank statements in PDF to Excel and includes an Excel toolbar for doing analysis. Their application fit our needs perfectly."
Steinberg shared that she was so impressed with the technology that she approached Altia about becoming their exclusive U.S. retailer. Their market was primarily law enforcement, but Steinberg saw applications for other industries. At the time, Altia had neither the presence nor the marketing experience necessary to expand into the U.S. The opportunity was a win win for both parties and, in September 2015, Steinberg formed Excelerate Technology to market and manage the distribution of Altia's software solutions.
"Since acquiring the rights to sell the technology, I've sold to law enforcement, attorneys, accountants, state and federal government," she said. "Even though the market and the opportunity is tremendous, there have been a few challenges. First of all, not many people know who Excelerate Technology or Altia is. Education has and will continue to be a focus. Another challenge is the long sales cycle. That's especially true when you get into county governments. They might want it in December, but then they have to wait until October for the funding to be released. Even in the private sector, the sales cycle tends to be long."
Steinberg's growth strategy was initially focused on law enforcement. She then expanded her outreach to include forensic accountants. Through cold calling, emailing and generating leads via LinkedIn, Steinberg gradually built the business and developed a reputation as an expert in financial fraud detection software.
With an absence of any serious competition and a software solution that continues to impress clients, Steinberg's optimistic about the future growth of Excelerate Technology. She would eventually like to sell or retire and pull a steady stream of income from the business.
Steinberg has some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "You need persistence and perseverance," she said. "Success doesn't happen overnight. In fact, you probably won't have traction until year two or three. You also need discipline. That's especially true if you'll be working from home. Lastly, do something you really like and are passionate about and be prepared to fail a few times along the way."