A local innovator who says he has entrepreneurship in his blood has developed a document management system specifically for startups — and he’s giving it away for free to young companies in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, at least for now.
The system, Secure Startup, manages documents and tracks investor activity, said Art Fyvolent, Secure Startup founder.
It’s more sophisticated than Dropbox or iCloud, which offer cloud storage, but not as complex as SharePoint, a web-based collaborative platform.
“Startups need something simple and easy to use,” Fyvolent said. “Secure Startup collects files like Dropbox or iCloud but there’s an actual process built in for the exchange of information and communication with investors, which neither one of those has.”
Fyvolent developed Secure Startup while working on another venture, Hyperponic, a cannabis indoor grow system. He had collected hundreds of documents related to term sheets and business plans and proposals to investors, all in folders on his computer, but they were difficult to manage.
“I created Secure Startup for myself, to manage documents and investor communications and to have real-time tracking for all the activity that happened on the site,” he said. “All the documents are organized by type and uploaded to the cloud. Then there’s an invitation system that sends out an invitation to a potential investor who fills out a small form and it auto-populates an NDA [non-disclosure agreement], which the investor digitally signs to get access to the documents.”
Investors have to be invited in order to get access to the documents, and the startup can limit the documentation it wants to show to an investor.
Secure Startup launched in April, and Fyvolent rolled out an updated 2.0 version in June, based on feedback from the first users.
“I invited all the startups in the Tampa Bay area to use it for free,” he said. “At some point down the road, we’ll probably start charging a minimum fee, based on the amount of data stored in the cloud. But for now I wanted to do it as a giveback to the Tampa Bay startup community.”
Fyvolent said he enjoys seeing the local community rally around innovation.
“I love helping startups get to where they need to go,” he said. “I’m not at a point where I can throw tens or hundreds or millions of dollars at deals, but if I can help in my own little way, by giving them a process and a platform that makes their life easier and moves them along a little bit further, I’m really happy to do that.”
Fyvolent is a 30-year veteran of the advertising, marketing and web development industries who said he always dreamed of creating new ventures from scratch.
Hyperponic started seven years ago, initially as an outdoor food desert solutions company, and it evolved into an automated indoor grow system. It’s one of several ventures Fyvolent is working on.
He also founded Squirrel Ventures, which he described as a “mutual fund for ideas and ventures.” It offers a tested process for startups, from beginning to launch to scale.
“My part of the process is to take an idea, do the research, get the financials done, get it tested in the marketplace, and then turn it over to people who know how to run businesses,” he said.
Secure Startup is part of Squirrel Ventures. So is iGrew!, a social media platform for parents to share and save their child’s life story. Parents pay a small membership fee and have total control over the data, with no ads on the site. Haneke Design in Tampa is building a prototype, which should be ready in 60 days, Fyvolent said. He plans to offer a seed round to investors at that time, with a full version of the platform complete by late this year or early next year.
Another Squirrel Ventures company is Jonny Strawz, a proposed double-drive-thru, drinks-only touchless and automation-powered restaurant. Customers would choose drink options on their phones, selecting from hundreds of ingredients. Computers would generate the drink, and geo-fencing would alert the restaurant to when the customer is about to arrive at the site and pick up their order.
While Jonny Strawz still is early in the development process and would require significant investment, once it is done there are many potential applications for the technology, ranging from a brick and mortar store to a food truck, hospital or stadium, Fyvolent said.
He’s using Secure Startup for both iGrew! and for Jonny Strawz.
Startups that are interested in using the platform can go to securestartup.com, fill out a registration form and upload their logo and documents, including word documents, powerpoints, pdf’s, jpg’s and videos.
They can check boxes indicating which documents they want to share with invited investors and can change those settings as needed.
Fyvolent also created TampaBayBuilt, which aggregates local startup networks in a single site.