The company of the day is Enroute Systems Corporation, based in the US. Enroute’s mission is to first inform businesses how they are shipping and then suggest ways to improve their efficiency. You will find below an interview with Keith A. McCall, Founder of Enroute Systems Corporation. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Keith A. McCall, Founder of Enroute Systems Corporation
Who are you?
I’ve led the development and delivery of enterprise software and software-as-a-service products for over 20 years. Prior to founding Enroute Systems Corporation, I founded and built Azaleos Corporation, a managed service provider for on-premise, remotely managed Microsoft Exchange e-mail. Before Azaleos, I spent 6 years at Microsoft, 2 years at Lotus, and 8 years at IBM in a variety of software development and executive management roles. At IBM, I was the key architect for Net.Commerce, and built the team that delivered IBM’s flagship Internet Commerce product. I was also the architect and developer of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games ticket server, one of the very first systems to sell tickets online, and was instrumental in designing and developing L.L. Bean’s first e-commerce site. I also invented IBM’s Net.Data product, which was the first product to join IBM’s DB2 relational database to Web servers. I earned a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and was recognized by eWeek Magazine in 2008 as one of the Software Industry’s Top 10 "Techies in the Shadows". My wife and two boys are key supporters and help to keep me sane and grounded amidst the roller coaster inherent in bringing new ideas to life.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?
Microsoft works with a very large number of companies so it’s a huge honor for Enroute to be so recognized. Our participation in the BizSpark program has helped accelerate our technology development and really helped attach booster rockets to our growth, but recognition always helps small companies get the word out about their products and services which is just as critical as technology development.
What did you do before creating your company?
I founded and built Azaleos Corporation, a managed service provider for on-premise, remotely managed Microsoft Exchange e-mail, worked at Microsoft for 6 years, Lotus for 2 years, and IBM for 8 years – so jokingly I bleed black, yellow, and blue. I enjoy building software products and taking them to market – I think ShipIt! Analytics was my fourteenth enterprise software product.
How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?
As I drive to work every day I pass either the local Federal Express or the UPS depot and see a constant stream of white or brown trucks starting their deliveries – and both the volume and the impact on the environment struck me as a potential problem. In March of 2008 I decided there must be a better way of optimizing parcel shipments, and started exploring the idea with potential customers including Zumiez, Cutter & Buck, and Renton Western Wear. What I found out was that in the 10 years since I worked on architecting IBM’s Net.Commerce server, the world has changed from one where most packages were delivered between warehouses and brick and mortar stores, which is a somewhat deterministic problem, to a world where a sizeable portion of shipments happen directly to consumers – on different days, in different temperature and weather conditions, to different locations – a completely non-deterministic problem. By using software and business intelligence techniques to collect and aggregate information about package shipments, I believe that we can help reduce costs and improve shipment efficiency and quality, all while lowering the carbon footprint for businesses that ship.
What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?
Enroute’s mission is to first inform businesses how they are shipping and then suggest ways to improve their efficiency by reducing costs, improving shipment reliability and predictability, all while lowering their carbon footprint. With our three tiers of solutions, Enroute can save businesses up to 30% of their parcel shipping costs and improve shipment quality and reliability. Enroute ShipIt! Analytics enables the upload of real data into a web-accessible dashboard, providing customers visual insight into their current shipping process. ShipIt! Portal leverages the data realized in ShipIt! Analytics and delivers an end-to-end solution for selecting the right carrier and right service at the point of shipment – whether shipping across the state or around the world. ShipIt! Platform delivers a complete web services based platform for integrating line of business applications with a robust set of shipping capabilities.
What is your market?
In the US alone, 25 million packages are shipped every day (100M globally) by UPS, Federal Express, and the United States Postal Service. Many businesess do not have competitive solutions to help them optimize their selection of shippers and shipment services across multiple different options, nor are they aware of potential alternatives that reduce cost and improves quality. Enroute offers the attractive solution they seek to make competing effectively against larger shippers possible.
For the over 200,000 small and medium size businesses in the US that comprise the target market, Enroute solutions address the pain of an increasingly frequent and time-consuming struggle to audit and manage their parcel shipments through use of cumbersome spreadsheets and models.
Any clients? References? Partners?
Enroute has over thirty clients to date, and is working with five regional carriers. References can be found at http://www.enroutecorp.com/testimonials.aspx.
Funding history? VCs? BA?
$500k Series A Preferred was completely oversubscribed to $750k as of September 2009 by angel investors. A $3 million Series B round is being opened.
The Series B funding round is targeted at extending Enroute services to Asia, Europe, and South America.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
Enroute has 12 employees, three of which are developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
Enroute is constantly seeking new talent. We look for energy, enthusiasm, and excellence as key attributes of potential employees. To apply for a position, please send email and resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We are building on Microsoft Windows 2008, SQL Server 2008, and .NET with some AJAX thrown in for good measure, as we believe this is the most extensible and scalable solution available to meet our needs. We host our solution on Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing infrastructure.
Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
We have patents filed to protect our software IP in the areas of business intelligence, data aggregation and synthesis as it applies to transportation management.
Who’s your role model?
One of my role models is Ray Ozzie, ex-CEO of Iris Associates, now Chief Software Architect at Microsoft. His ability to combine business and technical skills to create new enterprise software solutions and take them to market is legendary. The other role models are too numerous to mention – I like working with and surrounding myself with great advisors and mentors.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?
Using Cloud Computing to aggregate and synthesize data to solve real world problems for businesses and consumers alike is the area of highest opportunity.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
Having closed Series A, we are now raising a $3 million Series B round to further expansion into international markets.
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
We are members of the BizSpark program, and the software we have access to from this program has spring boarded our efforts in a time where capital is very tight and cash is king.
Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?
I have a mantra of focusing at the early stage of a company on Customers, Contacts, and Capital — in that order. Revenue producing customers and early stage beta customers who are willing to accept mistakes are key to ensuring rapid iteration and delivery of features that make a product attractive and saleable, but even more important than raising capital are the professional contacts that can help open the doors to customers, partners, and investors.