Spring 2017 AFRL Commercialization Academy Series: Indago Innovations
Kevin Clayton is the founder of Indago Innovations, a mobile document scanning and processing platform that replaces manual data entry. The platform uses a smartphone to scan and process documents, extracting the contents using computer vision and optical character recognition, and uploads the resulting information into a business’ backend system.
What is your background in the tech/startup industry?
I’ve known that I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was eight years old. After I graduated from high school, I enrolled in State University of New York College at Plattsburgh for their entrepreneurship program. Then I went to Clarkson University to get my MBA, with a focus in Innovation and New Venture Management.
I never built a company before. I’ve released various apps and pitched in many business plan competitions as an undergraduate and in graduate school, but this is my first official startup.
How would you describe your experience as a first-time founder?
It’s been as stressful as I expected it to be. Studying and knowing entrepreneurship theory versus being there in the moment is very different. My education prepared me well for being a startup founder, and it’s what I expected it to be; but there are certain aspects of being a founder that I was not prepared for at the same time.
Why did you create Indago Innovations?
In the summer of 2014, I was an intern at the office of a local councilman in Suffolk County. I anticipated going into meetings, learning in-depth details about the political system, and learning skills that I could use in the workplace in the future.
What I didn’t expect was to spend the entire time behind a desk. We had a mailing to send to everyone in the zip code we represented. Another office at the town hall had the information we needed, but they wouldn’t give it to us as a soft copy. We could only access the information in hard copy form.
Because I was the intern, I spent a week typing all that information into Excel so that we could do a mail merge to print the envelopes. As frustrating as that was, what annoyed me more as I was typing was the thought, “How is it that in this day and age we’re still doing data entry manually? There are amazing software systems, technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, and yet we’re still doing data entry by hand”.
I thought that there had to be a better way, so I kept building upon the idea. I did research over the years. Then I was accepted into the AFRL Commercialization Academy, which gave me access to the IP I needed to turn my idea into reality.
What does “indago” mean?
It’s a Latin word. It means to “hunt” or “encircle”. Besides the pleasant alliteration, I named my company Indago Innovations to underscore our efforts to pursue innovation.
How did you hear about the AFRL Commercialization Academy?
I heard about it during my junior year of college, shortly after the internship that sparked the idea to build Indago Innovations. One of the judges for a business plan competition that I was in introduced me to the academy. Then I met Wasabi Ventures’ founder TK Kuegler, and I was eventually accepted into the program.
Besides the IP technology, what else attracted you to the AFRL Commercialization Academy?
I’m a huge believer in bootstrapping, so being provided with resources that are not coming out of my own pocket is appealing. The funds that have been provided through the academy will allow me to go further than if I was funding the startup by myself.
As I mentioned, this is my first startup, and I’m transitioning from a classroom setting to fully being an entrepreneur. It’s been nice to have the guidance from TK Kuegler and Wasabi Ventures Academy Associate Dean Michele Pesula-Kuegler to help me through that transition.
What are you looking forward to at the Spring 2017 AFRL Commercialization Academy Demo Day?
I’m looking forward to networking at the event. I’m local to New York and live fairly close to the Mohawk Valley. spent all my undergrad years in the North Country in the cities of Plattsburgh and Potsdam. Currently, I live on Long Island. In a couple months, I’m going to move even closer to the Mohawk Valley, probably an hour so away. So, the people that I meet at the event will be part of my startup ecosystem, which is valuable.
I’m also excited to spread awareness about the app I’ve been working on. It’s acting as a minimum viable product for my B2B application, and I think Demo Day will be a great opportunity to recruit people to test it.
Are there any companies that you’d be interested in collaborating with?
It would be amazing to partner with a large back-end platform provider, such as Google or Oracle. I’m also interested in open-source packages, such as MySQL. I’d like to partner with companies in Upstate New York as well.
Is your business interested in technology that’s transforming the data entry process? Meet Indago Innovations at the Spring 2017 AFRL Commercialization Academy Demo Day on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Then watch them pitch to compete for the chance to win either the Judges’ Vote of $15,000 or the live Audience Vote of $5,000 at Mohawk Valley Community College’s new campus at 1101 Floyd Avenue, in Rome, New York!