Where it's based: Seattle
When it was founded: 2006
Why it's Fierce: Ford Davidson conceived Dashwire while working on Windows Mobile at Microsoft. During his time there, he witnessed firsthand the challenges mobile workers faced in moving from feature phones to smartphones--and their reliance on IT managers to help them through the process. He realized consumers wouldn't have the benefit of IT support with their own personal smartphones: Thus, the birth of Dashwire, which provides software to ease consumers into the bright new smartphone world.
Funded in part by Trilogy Equity Partners (staffed by many of the visionaries behind McCaw Cellular), Dashwire counts 21 employees, two big customers and expects to reach break-even in the third quarter of 2011. The company's technology addresses a glaring gap in the smartphone market: The need to back up data, and smoothly move information from one phone (a feature phone, for example) to a smartphone (BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and--very soon--Android). Dashwire offers its technologies on a white-label basis, and Best Buy uses Dashwire's offering to power its mIQ service--Dashwire essentially allows players such as Best Buy to maintain a connection with phone users via useful services like online management of the pictures, videos and other content stored on a smartphone. Indeed, Best Buy is offering its mIQ application through BlackBerry App World as a way to prime the pump, with the goal of encouraging users to purchase their next smartphone through Best Buy.
What's next: Dashwire plans to announce its second big customer--a smaller operator--sometime in the third quarter, and this fall the company plans a dramatic expansion of its platform to offer services including ringtone and theme configuration, lost phone location and wiping, and an Apple Genius-style service that can recommend features and functions to make smartphones more useful.