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Barrett's Q&A at Venture 2005:
Mi-Co Introduces Solutions for mobile Data Capture 

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Special To LocalTechWire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK- Mi-Co says it’s saving enterprises money by improving communication.

The six-year-old firm provides software for the digital conversion of information- whether digital or handwritten. Mi-Forms, the company’s proprietary software, supports the use of digital ink on several platforms: Tablet PCs, Digital Pens, Pocket PCs and signature capture devices.

“It can be extremely painful for an enterprise to capture data in a mobile environment and then get that data to the back end systems and databases,” explains Barrett Joyner, Mi-Co senior vice president of sales and marketing, is a recent Q&A. “We assess an organization's current mobile data capture processes and see if the use of digital handwriting for the capture, conversion and communication of information will save them money and increase the quality of the data.”

Below is the full Q&A with Joyner:

The momentum has picked up over the past year in many segments of venture capital. Are you finding more interest among potential investors? Please explain why or why not.


There is no question that investors are coming off the sidelines. Both the deals and buzz about deals has picked up when you compare the general interest from a year ago for example. The buzz is back!  

Even in a better investment climate, VCs are more demanding than ever in terms of due diligence. Why should investors be interested in your firm?


Mi-Co has a validated model for generating software revenue, a recurring revenue stream and we are making a profit. We have real customers and we have solved real mobile data capture problems for these clients. We need investment to scale and turn the crank.  


What's your "elevator pitch" in a paragraph or a few sentences?


Mi-Co, the enterprise mobile data capture company, puts handwriting to work by providing Mi-Forms software that converts digital ink into machine readable form. This forms automation software enables an enterprise to implement a money saving process for capturing, recognizing and communicating information. Mi-Forms supports the use of digital ink on several platforms: Tablet PCs, Digital Pens, Pocket PCs and signature capture devices. Mi-Forms Software has proven capabilities for handwriting interpretation, verification and validation of forms-based data that will save an enterprise time and money. If you want to capture data in a mobile environment, get accurate data into your systems and want to use handwriting then Mi-Forms Software is just the ticket.  

What is the "pain point" (or points) you address for your customers?


It can be extremely painful for an enterprise to capture data in a mobile environment and then get that data to the back end systems and databases. We assess an organization's current mobile data capture processes (pen, paper and keying; pen, paper and scanning; PDA/Pocket PC input and see if the use of digital handwriting for the capture, conversion and communication of information will save them money and increase the quality of the data. Often, Mi-Forms eliminates several steps in the process. As the Director of Home Health in Wilson County said, "With Mi-Forms we spend less time on paperwork and more time with our patients."

What makes your company unique? Do you have a proprietary and/or a patented technology? Please explain why it is unique and what the status is of any patent filings.


Mi-Co has proprietary and patented technology for handwriting recognition and mobile data capture that works within the requirements of large enterprises—it is standards based and integrates with existing processes and systems. Our interface is designed for business users collecting data and our architecture is designed so that IT will have an easy time implementing.

What makes your product(s) and/or services unique vs. your competition? (Who is your competition, and what do they offer?) If you have no competition, why not?


Most of Mi-Co's competition focused on "handwriting conversion" from a consumer oriented or single hardware platform point of view. Mi-Co has focused on mobile data capture for multiple platforms to provide the flexibility needed at the enterprise level. Mi-Forms Software provides solutions for any mobile data application, any form, any platform, and any database communication required.  

Does your company already generate revenue? If so, how much? Are you cash flow positive?

We have generated revenue ($1.3 Million in 2004)--now we are investing in additional resources to build out our marketing, sales and support infrastructure.


What is your target market? What is the size of that market in terms of dollars? What share of that market do you believe you can win?


Mi-Co's target market is mobile data capture--the latest numbers from IDC and Gartner estimate the mobile applications market to be $150 Billion with a percentage of that being mobile data capture. Submarkets of mobile data capture include Home Health (7000 agencies in the US), hospitals (5700 in the US ) and organizations conducting building inspections (4000 in the US) . We expect to be number one in our market place which generally means at least a 40 percent share.

What will you do with the invested funds? What is the timeline for product delivery? If you have existing products and services, how will additional funding help you expand your company, if that is the intention, or will you develop new products?


Since Mi-Co has fifth generation software in the field, the invested funds will focus on building out the marketing and sales infrastructure and indirect channel development. We want feet on the street to turn the crank.  
  

What do you want from an investor other than money?


The Mi-Co team understands enterprise software applications and how to generate substantial revenues from enterprise software and having an investor with strong financial and operational resources and understanding would be a plus.

Why will investors be impressed with your management team? Include a brief background about key executives.


The Mi-Co management team has individuals with proven track records of running hardware and software businesses, selling and supporting enterprise software, plus unique expertise in mobile data capture and handwriting conversion software. Jim Clary, CEO, has over 35 years of hardware and software experience having served as Vice President of Electronics and Systems for the Research Triangle Institute and was with AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories. Dr. Greg Clary, CTO, was with the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center for five years working on handwriting recognition and pen input systems.  He holds four U.S. patents in the real-time pen-on-paper capture area and has six other patents pending.  I serve as Senior VP of Marketing and Sales Strategy, and have over 20 years of experience doing my best to build successful organizations in selling and supporting enterprise software (including 16 years at SAS Institute).

What is the exit strategy for the investor from your company? Are there potential strategic alliances with larger companies? Do you wish to take the company public? Or do you wish to grow the company and either sell it or acquire other companies?

 

The biggest alliances we currently have are with Microsoft, Logitech and HP and there are a number of others we are looking to sign in the coming months.  

As far as our exit strategy is concerned, that is quite simple. When a company is generating revenue, satisfying customers and demonstrating the ability to turn a profit, then virtually any exit strategy can be pursued.