After a long journey for its husband-and-wife team of founders, Docmaster has launched a product that helps small and medium-sized businesses store, sort and retrieve digital files.
Docmaster is a Sydney-based company founded by Mark and Danielle Patterson, a pair of businesspeople whose careers took them from St. John’s to the southern U.S. and many points in between. And in their work, they came to realize that a lot of companies need a cloud-based repository for their digital documents.
“We saw that there was a real gap in the Canadian market for an affordable program in document storage that is compliant with federal and provincial regulations,” said Danielle Patterson during an interview in Cape Breton, where she and her husband have settled. Docmaster adheres to the rules of a federal regulation commonly called PIPEDA and the provincial regulations that fall under it. These rules stipulate how documents can be stored on the cloud, and one service Docmaster provides is educating clients about the legalities of document storage.
The company’s servers are in Canada, which is important, as the U.S. Patriot Act gives the American government potential access to any document stored in U.S.-based servers.
Docmaster can take new digital documents and store them for clients. The company can also bring in a partner to scan existing paper-based documents and store them for clients.
Though there are higher-priced products on the market for large companies, Docmaster aims to court SMEs. The Pattersons said their pricing, which is offered on a per-employee-per-month basis, is far lower than larger competitors. Its target markets initially are healthcare, physiotherapy, lawyers, post-secondary institutions and not-for-profits.
While the initial focus is on Canadian customers, the Pattersons are talking to Nova Scotia Business Inc. about looking at export markets. They said one market that interests them is the European Union.
The company has beta-tested the product with five or six clients in the past few months and Mark Patterson said they believe all will adopt the product going forward. Danielle Patterson said the company has about 30 potential customers in its sales funnel.
Docmaster has raised about $70,000 in equity financing, which it supplemented with grants and loans to bring in a total of about $300,000.
But the team felt the need for more money as it developed the product. When the Pattersons brought their chief technical officer, James MacKinnon on board in the spring, they decided to make money by opening Devantec, a tech consultancy specializing in IT security. In the first three weeks, the new company made $100,000. In the past five months, Devantec has taken on 25 clients.
The Docmaster-Devantec team now employs seven people. They are working in the basement of the Sampson McPhee law firm, which has been providing Sydney startups with office space for several years. It was a base for several startups before the opening of the Navigate Startup House last year and now serves as the Docmaster base.