The upgraded software, which will work with both iPad and iPhone, will reflect the new brand and features users have deemed a “must,” such as secure file management synchronization and a pixel-perfect PDF reader, said Kuznetsova, who is also a lawyer.
“We have also begun building out our cloud-based back-end to the system and are looking to partner ... with document management companies that need a mobile platform,” she said. ESENEM’s system can work alone or latch onto whatever document management system a law firm might be using to give it full mobile functionality. We can work with a firm’s IT department so the process is seamless.”
The team, which includes Chief Technology Officer Sean McNamara, organized an Early Access Program that lets early adopters use the software for free or a reduced rate and give feedback. “This is key because we don’t want to just build any software, we want to build the right software for our users,” Kuznetsova said. Those interested in the program can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESENEM has also been heavily involved in promoting the Miami tech startup scene and was the local organizer for two AT&T Mobile App Hackathons, which attracted record-setting participation. ESENEM was also chosen as a presenting company at FIU’s Americas Venture Capital Conference, and Kuznetsova, an FIU business alum, was honored by the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center.
The company plans to grow its team of four: It’s looking to hire a back-end developer, a front-end developer and a designer. ESENEM also plans to add Compliant Ethics Certification and IT consulting services for law firms.
Of course the road hasn’t always been smooth, and securing funding continues to be a challenge, Kuznetsova said. “A line from one of my favorite bands, Coldplay, comes to mind: ‘Nobody said it was easy; no one ever said it would be this hard.’ ”
Alan S. Macken, a developer, contractor, investor and entrepreneur, set out to develop a more efficient way of bidding on construction projects.
First he researched and built a business plan for his idea: BidThatProject.com, a website application to help homeowners and project owners locate, evaluate and potentially hire the most qualified contractors for their home improvement or construction-related projects at the best available price, all from the comfort of their home or office. The plan won third place in the Business Plan Challenge FIU track last year.
Then came the tougher part: building the actual company. Macken reports that it’s all going by plan. Exceeding plan, actually.
“Since winning the Business Plan Challenge, we have entertained a variety of investors, and recently completed the significant milestone of completing the site. We are entrenched in beta testing the site and look forward to the opportunities ahead,” said Macken, who is a principal in Macken Realty and other firms.
Developing a site that meets the demands of today’s customers while keeping an eye on what’s ahead has been a challenge for the team of four. In addition to the testing and tweaking, Macken is adding talent to the team. “We are bringing in younger blood to provide a fresh perspective.”
Macken said he has also been evaluating a variety of potential relationships, including with some big industry players he wouldn’t divulge. “Once we think we have the right [relationship], we are going to move as aggressively as we always do and take it to fruition.”
BidThatProject even caught the attention of ABC’s Shark Tank, which invited Macken onto the popular primetime TV show. But after evaluating the terms, Macken said it didn’t make business sense. “I turned them down, but I have an open invitation... We recognize these opportunities as a confirmation that what we have is ripe with potential and opportunity.”
Macken sees another positive indicator for BidThatProject. “I’m thrilled to report that our industry is rebounding. People are seeing the values coming back into their properties and they are ready to do projects.”