*NEWS: OC-based Microsoft Partner Announces New Software Feature Today in Las Vegas
The voluminous amount of data out there can be as overwhelming for businesses as it is for individuals. What’s a decision maker to do?
The global “datasphere” is expected to reach 163 zettabytes by 2025. Most of this is unstructured data, so its content and insights can’t be gleaned by basic technology.
An entire industry has formed to manage this enormous amount of data, with the goal of making it easier to “capture” and make sense of it. Artificial intelligence (AI) enables and facilitates this.
Ephesoft, with HQ in Irvine, is part of this realm. Its original “Smart Capture” platform uses AI in the form of “supervised machine learning.” That means the software gets smarter over time as it learns the needs of the user.
This enables its business clients to collect data and make sense of it all, with the goal of improving its accuracy, increasing productivity and reducing manual processes. It specifically targets data in documents like PDFs, emails and faxes.
The company announced today the launch of new technology that can integrate with any company’s workflow system, as long as it’s compatible with what’s known as “OpenAPI.” (OpenAPI is a publicly-available programming tool that essentially allows applications to “talk” to each other.)
Ephesoft touts this new feature as being an easier way for businesses to connect with their own workflow system. It allows customers to use “best-of-breed technology (or platforms)” with Ephesoft’s platform.
“Now customers can easily connect (and) integrate Ephesoft with other tools, platforms or software systems using a standard method with OpenAPIs,” Ephesoft sole founder and CEO Ike Kavas said.
Ephesoft made this announcement during Microsoft Inspire 2018, which kicks off today in Las Vegas. Microsoft Inspire is a conference held annually by Microsoft for its partner community.
Ephesoft is a “Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform” partner and built its original platform to capitalize on the benefits of the Azure Cloud infrastructure, “providing a powerful SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offering through its web services,” Kavas said.
Ephesoft also provides scanning, capture and analytics services that integrate with other Microsoft technologies, including SharePoint, Dynamics, SQL Server and Power BI.
“New technology is only as great as its operational flexibility,” Ephesoft founder and CEO Ike Kavas, told OC Startups Now. “Ephesoft prides itself on providing content capture that makes meaning out of unstructured data for decision-makers, but also having widespread compatibility with other innovative technologies.”
Kavas is an immigrant from Turkey who came to the U.S. with $100 in his pocket. He launched Ephesoft in 2010.
He launched three prior companies, two of which were acquired. Those two were a business process outsourcing company and a side business he ran during his time at Kofax as as project manager, senior architect and engineer. The latter, with HQ in Irvine, is a software supplier to businesses for scanning documents. Kofax was acquired last year by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, with HQ in Chicago, according to news reports. That was its third sale in three years, approximated at $1.2 billion, according to those reports.
For the side business, he created an organic mouthwash packet that fit into shirt pockets. It was sold in dental offices.
“Both companies instilled the need for innovation, determination and challenging the status quo,” Kavas told OC Startups Now. “The business process outsourcing (company) provided direct experience for Ephesoft, as it related to capture, and ultimately led me to roles at Kofax ….Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it felt like a stale industry using legacy systems. I knew there was a better way to bring value to customers.”
Ephesoft’s business model is SaaS (software-as-a-service) as well as licensing. Customers it can disclose include Nintendo, the IRS, the U.S. Marines and First Republic Bank.
Last year, the company raised $15 million in a Series A, with Mercato Partners as the lead investor. Joe Kaiser, director at Mercato Partners, with HQ near Salt Lake City, declined to disclose the equity stake. He is on Ephesoft’s board.
Ephesoft used the funds to hire Russ Hubbard as CRO and Naren Goel as CFO. Hubbard has 20 years of experience with SaaS, software technology and content services. Goel also brings nearly 20 years of experience. He provides senior finance leadership to the company, having led a broad range – startups to large corporations, such as VMWare, a subsidiary of Dell Technologies that provides cloud computing and platform virtualization software and services – through various stages of growth.
Ephesoft also used the funds to open a new HQ at 707 Research Drive in Irvine. The former office was about 5,800 square feet. The new office is almost triple the size – at 15,000 square feet.
Marketing is now a top priority as the company looks to continue scaling, Kavas said. Besides its Irvine HQ, it has regional offices throughout Asia and Europe.
The company has been profitable since its second year. It grew about 50% last year in sales and is on target to repeat that this year, Kavas said.
Many of the companies that would appear to be competition are partners, Kavas said. These include Xerox, Kodak, HP and Fujitsu. There is competition in the form of traditional document-scan companies, like Kofax and some regional companies that provide optimal character recognition, (a technology that enables conversion of different types of documents — such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera — into editable and searchable data.) Ephesoft was reportedly one of the first companies to offer its Capture-as-a-Service platform in the cloud.