Greenspring Associates’ Portfolio Impact program is dedicated to leveraging the firm’s network of corporates for the benefit of the funds and companies with which we partner. One of the most impactful ways we effect this effort is through highly curated, intimate events bringing together diverse perspectives – including those of top venture-backed companies and senior executives from corporations. 

Recently, the team co-hosted the latest gathering of Washington’s CTO Roundtable, a network of professionals that meets throughout the year to discuss leading-edge technologies and industry developments. Comprised of Chief Technology Officers, Chief Scientists, Vice Presidents of Research and Development and academics alike, the CTO Roundtable is a premier forum for dialogue between industry and government. Each members-only meeting is individually curated to address specific trends in technology that are shaping the industry’s future. The theme of this month’s meeting was the state of the “Low-Code” space.

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The event had 56 participants from household names such as Capital One, Bank of America, and Cisco, as well as fellow players in the low-code ecosystem like enterprise cloud computing startup Appian and venture studio High Alpha Innovation. Presenting companies Tray.io, backed by True Ventures, Meritech Capital Partners, and Greenspring Associates, and Bryter, backed by Accel Partners, followed an overview of the venture capital perspective on the industry, provided by Accel London’s Luca Bocchio, Partner, and Carlo Giovianni Biggio, VP.

Bocchio addressed the importance of low-code solutions for today’s enterprise, noting that automation is one of Accel’s strongest investment theses in enterprise IT. He and Biggio tactfully explained the different emerging subsectors in the automation ecosystem, especially the wide spectrum that extends between “low-code” and “no code.” The intelligent enterprise, in Accel’s view, must commit to automation in order to save costs, maximize the value of the massive amounts of data available to them and keep up with heightening customer efficiency expectations. Digital transformation is no longer a “nice to have” for businesses, rather it is the key to reliable workflows and process management.

Alistair Russell, Founder and CTO of Tray.io, laid out the company’s underlying framework that allows customers to build personalized, integrated workflows between multiple elements of their tech stack, such as Salesforce, Box, Huddle, or Mailchimp. Tray.io’s technology streamlines the process without requiring any coding knowledge, allowing teams without any IT experience to operate self-sufficiently. Hoon Kim of Airbnb, one of Tray.io’s early customers, was quick to identify how the Company's user-friendly interface empowered his Creative Production team, which is no longer bogged down by administrative processes or menial coordination tasks. He further emphasized that Tray’s modular format makes it easy to adapt integrations as the company’s processes change, which they often do. These improvements freed the IT department to focus on developing proprietary technologies for Airbnb, a far more valuable allocation of their time.

Bryter’s CEO Michael Grupp had a similar story to tell. A former lawyer, Grupp founded Bryter with the goal of automating initial, lower-risk decisions in the legal, compliance and HR departments of larger enterprises. The key pain point in automating this space is that decisions and reasoning are often case-specific and ambiguous. Bryter’s solution is to act as a first step in this potentially complicated process by automating templatized documents, internal policy decisions and communications. This way, human capital (and financial capital) is saved for decisions requiring more involved reasoning. German food processing corporation GEA Group has reaped the rewards of Bryter’s services. General Counsel Stefan Wilke admitted that, as a lawyer by trade, he was meticulous and initially skeptical in his review of Bryter, but has seen clear improvements in the efficiency of the business since adopting it and now an earnest ambassador for the company.

As the intelligent enterprise takes shape, no code and low-code solutions like Tray.io and Bryter will be key to the democratization of software development. What formerly required sophisticated engineering knowledge is now a matter of dragging and dropping. Empowering people of all technological skill levels to automate tedious processes and create intuitive custom workflows will return valuable time to entrepreneurs and employees and accelerate innovation across sectors. Further, with the help of these technologies, businesses will be able to meaningfully aggregate and leverage far more data than before to improve product design and customer experience.

With digital transformation hyper-accelerated due to the pandemic, we believe enterprises will continue to look to innovative, venture-backed technologies as they adapt for the future. Looking forward, Greenspring’s Portfolio Impact team will continue to curate events that provide meaningful opportunities for the stakeholders in the innovation economy to connect and gather insights that are mission-critical to their business, with the mission of creating initial connections that yield valuable customer, partner and prospective acquirer relationships and endure well after the last attendee has gone home (or logged off).

About the Washington Area CTO Roundtable

The Washington Area CTO Roundtable is a vibrant group of over 260 local chief technology officers, chief scientists, vice presidents of research and development and academicians from both industry and government. The Roundtable meets regularly to review and discuss emerging technologies, provide an open and collaborative network of peers and educate others on the use of technology.

If you would like to be notified about future Portfolio Impact events, please reach out to PIEvents@gspring.com.

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