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Grow Your Business Technology

Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud!


The cloud is where all the software application action is today. Whether it's social media like Facebook and Twitter or work productivity applications like Google Apps, Dropbox and Basecamp, the world is decamping to the cloud. But there's an information vacuum of material to help people find these sites and services and learn how to use them. A new company is helping fill it.

These cloud-based sites and services are rapidly becoming the lingua franca for small businesses and their need for flexibility, scalability and cost control.

[Read about the cloud-based apps every SMB should know about . ]

With the installed software applications that people learned on the job or at school in the past, there was a robust support system of help desks and extensive print and online manuals. That's not so much the case with online sites and services. It doesn't make much sense to tell a floundering co-worker to read the manual when there's no manual to begin with.

Jeff Fernandez, Surag Mungekar and Nick Narodny saw that vacuum as a business opportunity. Their solution was Grovo, an online education and training platform they launched last year that helps people find and use online sites and applications

"There was an educational layer missing," Fernandez, the company's CEO, told BusinessNewsDaily. "Everything is moving to the cloud. Digital literacy is so very important. There was no high-quality training on cloudware."

The company produces free and premium paid video tutorials that cover the Web's most popular and useful sites as well as essential cloud services in social media, productivity and online marketing. Applications include Facebook Profile, Advertising and Pages, Google Analytics and Apps, Twitter, Yelp, Basecamp and Linkedin.

The video lessons all produced in-house by Grovo's team of writers, editors and voiceover talent. The videos generally run between one and two minutes and progress from simple introductions and sign-up instructions to advanced use cases. In addition to the video tutorials, Grovo also provides pre-written notes, quizzes and glossary terms.

The company's library now contains more than 600 videos and 20 to 30 new ones are released each week. Users are alerted to new material by email.

Grovo takes a noncommittal approach to the subjects it covers,  Fernandez said.

"We don't endorse sites," he said.

The company makes its decision on what sites and services to create training materials for based on search trends and user requests and looks at what people are using and why.

"We look at what's gaining the most traction," Fernandez said. "And what you should be using that you may not be."

Today the privately held company, headquartered in New York City's Flatiron District, has five full-time workers. Grovo has more than 100 partner sites, including ReTargeter, inDinero , Hy.ly and Aviary, and several Fortune 500 companies use Grovo to train employees.

Fernandez (Harvard '05) came of age with the Web. And that is reflected in his energetic working style. After graduation he became the second employee of Doostang, an invitation-only job site, and then migrated to Clickable, online advertising company.

"I felt at home with that pace," he said. "I always wanted to start a company," Fernandez said. "I like creating things."

Fernandez said he has no exit strategy and is not looking for a second act so far.

"I'm so focused on building a great product," he said. "That's it."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.


Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.