NC IDEA announces five North Carolina startups as fall grant winners and recipients of a collective $250,000. This is the first in a series of profiles on the winners.
For hiring managers, there is a universal challenge in getting new employees properly onboarded. The same is true for offboarding old employees.
The challenge involves giving, getting and managing employees’ access to passwords and software tools, and it was one Hersh Tapadia and Jeremy Freeman came across routinely in their careers. While the problem isn’t exclusive to any particular field, the pair began to notice that it was a recurring holdup in software consulting.
Tapadia, a consultant at /ndustrial.io and former co-founder and director of product development at RTP-based CertiRx Corporation, and Freeman, once a programmer and director of research and engineering at CertiRx, often found themselves struggling to get access to the various SaaS (Software as a Service) productivity tools that their clients were using to manage their projects and teams.
Even more debilitating were the many months it often took to get their own employees fully onboarded.
That’s why the pair founded their own software consulting firm Ravioli Labs in March of this year, with the end goal to develop a spin-off product to address these onboarding issues.
That product is Allstacks, a platform with a simple goal—to make managing teams easier. It does so by integrating tools like Dropbox, GitHub, Trello and Salesforce into one place connected to one email address and password. It eliminates the need for multiple administrative access accounts and makes it easier for companies to turn off and on access for new and former employees.
The tool is also important, says Tapadia, because it prevents former team members or service providers from retaining access to information.
He has encountered this issue in the past, which fueled his desire to come up with a fix.
“We realized that this was due to the disaggregated and disparate nature of managing access to cloud-based tools and we could develop a solution to manage it,” Tapadia adds.
Within Allstacks’ platform, companies create profiles for their teams based on their fields and provide access to relevant tools and services, i.e. Salesforce for sales companies.
Allstacks then makes it easy for company leaders to add and remove employees from the team.
The free version is limited to one team, which can hold up to five members. Beyond that, companies must pay $3 per user per month in exchange for unlimited teams, users and tools.
Tapadia and Freeman are signing up customers in preparation for the launch of Allstacks’ beta program in early January. So far, they’ve landed five companies.
While the funding from NC IDEA will be critical to adding more customers to the beta, Tapadia says the grant will also help add key early sales and marketing talent to the team, in an effort to raise a seed round toward the end of 2017’s first quarter. He also expects to add developers in prep for a full launch.
In addition to the new grant from NC IDEA, Allstacks is also benefitting from its spot in the winter 2016 cohort for Groundwork Labs, a mentorship program powered by the NC IDEA Foundation.
Thom Ruhe, NC IDEA’s president and CEO, says the company addresses “all the systems and password management that has to be coordinated—not just email, but access to SaaS platforms,” which can be a burden on a company’s security.
Ruhe says Tapadia is a “rare serial entrepreneur that we have here in the region,” as a now two-time NC IDEA grant winner, previously for CertiRx in 2009.
Allstacks’ “big innovation [helps] medium to large companies when they hire and fire people,” Ruhe adds. “They consolidate that and make it very simple for managers to onboard and offboard.”