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Paper Act – Electronic Filing Cabinet, Online Filing Solution: Start-up Profiles
By Michelle Hammond
PaperAct – Electronic Filing Cabinet is an online filing solution that lets users store, organise and access documents from any device anywhere in the world.
The Melbourne-based business was founded in 2009 by Gil Hidas. It appeals to a wide range of users including medical practitioners, dentists, bookkeepers and real estate agencies.
Hidas talks to StartupSmart about creating an alternative to physical filing cabinets.
What niche did you identify with PaperAct?
PaperAct EFC is a plug-and-play appliance that can replace tens of fully populated physical four-drawer filing cabinets, saving considerable floor space, filing time and money.
Personal scanners are not being utilised the way that they were designed. This is due to the cumbersome process of scanning a document.
You need a computer, operating system, drivers and programs, and then you have to direct the scanned image to a folder, email address, etc.
There are over 200 million personal scanners in the world and not many are being used properly. Moreover, consumers and SMBs are getting more and more documents digitally.
We have at least three filing systems: physical filing systems, electronic and our email system, which was designed as a communication system but became a document burial system.
Consolidating your online and offline filing systems, PaperAct EFC incorporates everything from your paper documents to your important emails, attachments and faxes, securely filing all your documents in the cloud.
While [large] enterprises have the access, skills and knowledge to this sort of system, SMBs, SOHOs and consumers do not.
With PaperAct, there is no need to worry about servers, operating systems, drivers, antivirus [software], infrastructure management, etc. It’s a plug-n-play appliance, similar to your printer.
How long did you work on the business before you launched it?
PaperAct officially launched to the market around 12 months ago, with an impressive line-up of beta sites running for over 24 months now, with hundreds of thousands of documents processed in the bigger sites.
How did you fund the business?
As the entrepreneur behind the business, I’ve personally invested heavily into the product.
Several months ago, I did a round of investment from highly regarded individuals in the local IT community, which enables us to take the product to market.
How many staff do you have?
We now have seven people working in PaperAct.
How do you promote the business?
Our customers are our best promotional tool. Getting referrals from existing customers is very powerful and cost-effective. Industry shows and newsletters are also good tools.
What are your points of difference?
We don’t sell a piece of software. We sell a solution.
PaperAct is an appliance-based solution that doesn’t require installing any software. You access your filing cabinet the same way as you access Google.com using your browser.
All documents are searchable using a Google-like search engine (for both paper-based and electronic documents).
You can access your documents from a mobile device. You can use your Android/iPhone/webOS phone to capture a document using the camera and save to your appliance or cloud account.
You can remotely scan from satellite offices or locations in your appliance or the cloud using your browser.
You can consolidate your online and offline files into one centralised, intelligent solution, and you can scan and file documents directly into your EFC using any PC-connected scanner.
You can use your smart phone to file photos or documents directly to your EFC, and print and share your documents from the EFC directly.
All documents are scanned with intelligent character recognition and PDF conversion software, so you can search for words within your files.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Getting in front of small to medium sized business owners and professionals is challenging – they are busy people and they don’t think they need an electronic filing cabinet.
However, demonstrating PaperAct is very powerful. People love it and want one the minute they see and understand it. Demo is the key for us.
What’s the biggest risk you face?
Big multinationals are watching us and the space. We have to keep ahead of the game with innovation.
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