The BizSpark startup of the day is Solvate, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Michael Paolucci, Founder and CEO of Solvate. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the founder and CEO of Solvate. Since 2004 I have operated primarily from a remote office on a dirt road in Connecticut with broadband and a barn full of sheep, chickens and a goat named Woodbury. From that vantage point I saw an opportunity to displace the importance of location in work, by connecting talented independent professionals through the wire to work for companies without the usual overhead and personnel issues.
As cloud collaboration tools have become widely promulgated in the last few years, I have witnessed a growing trend among successful professionals who are choosing to work off the corporate grid--early adopters who believe they can have it all; a thriving practice and preferred lifestyle. I believe that companies of every size can take advantage of the productivity gains inherent in tapping an on-demand workforce in the cloud--the Human Cloud--if it is organized in a way that makes it safe and efficient to find and engage people to work from afar. Solvate was created with this in mind--to remove the risk so our clients and talent members can work effectively together, no matter where they choose to live.
What did you do before creating your company?
Starting in 1993, I have founded startups in the New York area, including Interactive Imaginations and 24/7 Real Media, Inc (TFSM), which sold to WPP Group for $650 million. During that time I pioneered the interstitial ad and the first demographically targeted internet ad format. I founded Slooh.com, a worldwide community of people peering into space together. I hold patent US 7,194,146 B2, a method for computer image processing of telescope-received camera images of celestial objects. In 2007 I founded the Startup Exchange, where founders of venture-backed startups can pool equity to diversify their equity holdings. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in economics.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It is gratifying for Solvate to be recognized by a world class organization like Microsoft. It proves that working through the wire is no longer a vision of the future but here today and ready to scale as a business practice for every size organization.
What is your company’s mission?
Solvate’s mission is to make it easy for people to work productively together in the cloud. Our dream is to make the American labor economy more efficient. We believe that you build trust through transparency and accountability, that time is precious--make the most of every hour, and that autonomy gives rise to great work.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
Solvate.com is a platform that helps employers and independent professionals find each other and work together in the cloud.
How did you get the idea for your company?
I founded and operated a company, Slooh.com, which was totally virtual—no HQ, no employees, only contractors, and no overhead with talent plugging in from all over the world to build a network of telescopes connected to the internet. I believed all companies could benefit from such a configuration.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
Solvate has raised $6.3m to date from New York venture capitalists RRE Ventures and DFJ Gotham.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
Solvate has 15 full time employees and 5 developers operating from our office in NYC, but we have tapped over 100 independent professionals from our network to support our growth, for services like SaaS configuration, PR, website design, video creation, sales support, PowerPoint design, market research and more.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
We are hiring sales and marketing professionals with experience selling HR and contingent workforce solutions to corporations.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We are building on top of leading SaaS platforms, such as Microsoft Office Live, to facilitate collaboration between professionals in the cloud.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
I see massive potential in tools that help people collaborate from afar. With the rise of services from Microsoft Office Live, to Yammer and Chatter, people no longer need to be in the same office to work together effectively. But those services support work among people who already know each other. Solvate facilitates work between people who heretofore have not met; we’re the trusted middleware between such parties to work from afar.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
BizSpark is an amazing way for organizations to find each other and share best practices. BizSpark companies are exactly the kind of early adopters we want to reach—innovative companies don’t just build new things, they are also quick to adopt new technology that makes them operate more effectively.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Stay focused. Most code winds up in the junkyard because it tries to do too many things. Determine the one thing your software will do better than anyone else’s and don’t get distracted. That also means keeping your core team small and tight, and outsourcing all the non-essentials to the periphery (self serving, I know, but true nonetheless.)
Who’s your role model?
My dad—he taught me that trust in business is paramount; always take the high road, and good things follow.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
Technology is rapidly changing the way organizations should configure themselves to achieve maximum productivity. In order to remain competitive, it is essential to move your work flow to the cloud and configure your workforce accordingly.