InSilico: Software tool for scientific collaboration.
Byline: Elon Glucklich blue chip
Over the past four years, Eugene software developers Doug Yook, Dan Keith and Graham Jones have created computer programs to help businesses communicate with their clients, organize presentations and build smartphone applications.
But years of doing other people's work got them thinking about taking their company, InSilico Inc., to the next level with a product of their own, different than the contract work they'd built their business around.
Dozens of interactions with companies, many in the Portland area, made them realize that many people lacked the tools - beyond email - to communicate and collaborate on projects.
So the team put in countless hours Web coding and experimenting to develop a new technical collaboration software program, called SCAPE. The idea is to give businesses a one-stop shop where workers across different locations can offer their input on a report, website or other project in its draft stage, before it's published.
Yook, who founded InSilico with Keith, said he thinks SCAPE can replace existing services like Google's email and document programs, which let multiple people communicate and give feedback on projects. Their program would go further, building around the concept of large teams communicating within the project itself, instead of sending emails or setting up meetings to discuss it.
"Many of the projects we've worked on in the past were for complex companies with multiple parts, people working in different locations at different times," Yook said of InSilico's previous work with clients. "Coming up with a solution for that was what we were working on as the genesis of the SCAPE idea."
The InSilico team has spent the last year tweaking and improving SCAPE, and has a prototype they want to market to companies.
But the determination of exactly who could best benefit from the software eluded the programmers before they had a chance to meet with local business leaders and mentors in the 12-week program that is part of the Eugene Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network.
"When we entered RAIN, we had a prototype ready, and ideas of what we wanted," Yook said. "But RAIN helped us really target scientific research and design teams as our target market."
With tips the InSilico team got from RAIN's team of business mentors, Yook said, they can now refine improvements to the SCAPE program to cater to the needs of scientific research teams, working together on new inventions or innovations.
It's too early to say just when the SCAPE program will be available commercially, the company founders said. But Yook said the InSilico team is far closer to that date and more confident about its product than it would have been without the RAIN program.
"We just got a lot of information on how to pitch our products, how to define our message and just built up a lot of contacts," Yook said.
Founders: Doug Yook and Dan Keith