(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third article in a five-part series profiling the start-ups that are participating in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s inaugural “CodeWorks” accelerator. “Demo Day” for the six teams in the event is this Thursday, December 17.)
Eric Willingham is a Programmer/Analyst, while his partner – Kris Hogrefe – is a Senior Account Executive. Their start-up is named DuoLogix.
How did you come-up with the name? We wanted to call our product Duologue (def: a conversation between two or more persons, a dialogue), but the Domain Name was already taken, so we decided to take the Logue (def: communication of thought by words; talk; conversation and combine with Stack, because each Project that a company will have with their client could have a stack of conversations.) The name for our company, DuoLogix, seemed to be a smart play on words utilizing the duologue that we were looking to create, and the logical need for our product . . . thus DuoLogix.
What is the problem you are trying to solve or opportunity on which you are trying to capitalize? We are trying to help companies manage the transfer of data to and from themselves and their clients. This transfer of data between company and client needs to be simple, organized, and extremely secure. Right now, there are not options available that accomplish these three key components.
When did you first start thinking that your idea might warrant starting a company? Two years ago. Kris was opening a mortgage company and was talking to Eric about the need for a secure platform that I could use to communicate with my clients. Eric started working on this for Kris, and it didn’t take long for both to realize that they had something that many people needed.
What motivated you to apply for “CodeWorks”? Eric attended CodeStock 2015 and met Jim Biggs at a break-out session. They were very close to having their Minimal Viable Product (MVP) done and were hoping to learn more about how to be entrepreneurs.
At this stage, what has been your biggest aha event where your eyes were opened to something that you had not considered? Recently, both partners were meeting with Shawn from Tech2020 when he helped them realize the thing that they were focusing on was just our best feature, but that companies were not likely to pay for our service if that was all it was. They thought their product was secure data communication, but it really is Digital Asset Management (simplicity and organization) with Secure Communications (safety/security).
What do you hope to achieve/where do you hope your company is when the 12-week accelerator ends? Clarity and direction for moving our idea into a marketable MVP, and then developing it into a company that can provide our product to our market.