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Toby Olshanetsky, CEO & Co-Founder; Alexey Sapozhnikov, CTO & Co-Founder or ProoV.(Photo by: PROOV)
ProoV: the start-up that test-drives start-ups for the world’s largest companies
ProoV is the first ever so-called “pilot-as-a-service” company, and the only one in the world currently.
Herzliya-based ProoV decided to revolutionize the way big companies test and acquire software solutions from start-ups by creating a platform that helps independent software vendors (ISVs) provide proof-of-concept quickly and efficiently.   

Today, prooV is the first ever so-called “pilot-as-a-service” company, and according to Gartner, also the only one in the world currently. The platform brings global enterprises and ISVs together to discover, connect and execute proof-of-concept tests through remote and secure testing environments. The mostly cloud-based platform also allows big companies to test-drive multiple start-ups at the same time, a big change to existing practice of testing products one by one.

“We founded this company as a solution to pains that we’ve all been suffering from for more than two decades. Over the years, it becomes more and more easy for us to invent and build new technologies, but once you have a product, how do you convince a big enterprise to open a testing environment for you to do a proof-of-concept and sell your product to that enterprise? This has become the big challenge,” co-founder and CEO of ProoV Toby Olshanetsky told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday.

The pains that Olshanetsky described are the difficulties and high costs that start-ups must overcome on the way to providing proof-of-concept to the big corporations they wish to service. In the past, a fledgling ISV would have to make itself known by any means possible to a target audience and hope to get noticed.

“Sometimes just arriving to the point of starting a proof-of-concept procedure with a company required a lot of waste of resources by the start-up, many start-ups with a good product are simply unable to show their real added-value,” ProoV’s co-founder and CTO Alexey Sapozhnikov told the Post on Sunday.

Big companies, on the other hand, had to figure out, sometimes only by guesswork and risk, which ISV to bank on and set up a testing platform for, which also required time and money. If the proof-of-concept failed and the gamble didn’t pan out, then both the ISV and the enterprise will have lost valuable time and money and have to get back to the drawing board.

“This was a pain that wasn’t just something that we Israeli entrepreneurs are feeling, the problem was on a global scale,” Olshanetsky said.

Olshanetsky and Sapozhnikov have been involved with start-ups for the past 20 years, with experience in Enterprise Software, Big Data, cyber-security and network security, crash prevention technologies and financial technologies. For the two years prior to developing ProoV, they both traveled to tech hubs around the world - from Silicon Valley through Berlin and Israel - and interviewed more than 170 start-ups and big companies in order to shape a product that could help solve the needs of both sides.

The two entrepreneurs then got to work in 2015, and by August of that year, had closed a seed funding round. In September of 2016 ProoV closed its A round fundraising with $7 Million raised from European Mangrove Capital Partners and Jerusalem-based OurCrowd. Following the successful A round, ProoV announced its global launch and sparked international attention when showcasing their platform at the TechCrunch Disrupt. Business Insider called the platform “the best idea we’ve heard in a while.”

“We now already have hundreds of enterprises and start-ups on our platform with very high engagement and high traction. For us, this is a miracle since we are still in ”stealth-mode.” We have not done a hard opening yet, no marketing campaign and we are still running a beta,” Olshanetsky told the Post.

According to ProoV, the big corporations that are already using the platform successfully include Amazon, General Electric, AIG international and NBC’s Comcast.

A start-up that wishes to sign up to prooV has to go through a validation process, since the platform is intended only to match mature and fully developed concepts with big enterprises. The platform it not a testing environment for developers of pre-released products.

“If we had this conversation less than five months ago then I would have told you that all this is still a vision and would have found it hard to come up with proof that this is working. We have one enterprise that is currently running 32 pilots simultaneously and according to that company’s CTO, this is three years worth of traditional work condensed into just a few months,” Olshanetsky told the Post.

The platform now allows enterprises from around the world to connect to ISVs from around the world at minimal cost and resource expenditure. Then run test-drives virtually and securely for as many ISVs as the enterprise wishes in a shortened amount of time. 

What ProoV actually does is construct a cloud-based testing environment for every enterprise that mirrors the company’s architecture and data. Start-ups can then run their testing for proof-of-concept on that virtual platform into which ProoV feeds the appropriate mirrored data in a process they call Smart-Mirroring.  

“One of the biggest and growing sectors on our platform is the financial world, which we didn’t initially expect. The reason for this is that, due to regulations, restrictions and heavy security concerns, financial institutions like banks and insurance companies cannot allow third parties to connect directly to their digital environment. But with our solution, they can open a testing environment that is outside their secure network without risking cyber attack,” Olshanetsky told the Post.
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