WisBusiness: EnaCloud aims to help preserve customers’ legacies after death
By Sarah Kutz
For most people who have lost a loved one, going through their belongings is not only painful but stressful, especially when trying to access electronic-based information.
EnaCloud, a start-up company run by Jason Sevener of Shorewood, is developing secured servers to hold information, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and many other files. The files are guaranteed to be stored in case of theft, computer failure or damage, and also will be distributed and accessible according to the customer’s last wishes described in their will.
“Right now, our customers have three options when dealing with their digital assets,” Sevener said. “One option is that they can store assets through services like Dropbox or Carbonite that do not have a digital inheritance option, but provide a larger storage amount. The second option is to use LifeEnsured or Entrustet (recently sold to SecureSafe), which provide the digital inheritance option, but have a limited storage space to keep their assets. The final option is to leave files on your computer and do nothing with them.”
With EnaCloud, customers will have more than 100 gigabytes of space to store their assets, and have the digital inheritance option for free.
Sevener, the company’s founder, was inspired to create this company by his father, an electrical engineer and fellow entrepreneur. His father built a prototype that allowed fire departments across the nation to have quicker response times through automation, and it was getting good responses from departments when tragedy struck.
“About a week after my father got back from pitching to a department in Florida, he had a heart attack and passed away,” explained Sevener.
Unfortunately, Sevener’s family could not access his father’s computer files because of unknown passwords, and privacy issues in relation to his work’s computer. His father’s project ended up not taking off, and Sevener was motivated to create a business to make sure this would not happen to other families across the world.
“Had he had EnaCloud, perhaps this small portion of his legacy would have prospered into something more,” Sevener said. “With a service like EnaCloud, my father would have had the chance to both store all of his work on our servers through the cloud, and have the chance to assign a specific beneficiary to this work as well.”
Initially, Sevener started working towards this goal alone, but soon realized it was going to take more than he originally had expected. It caused him to set out and find help, which lead him to get in touch with a program called the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
SCORE is a non-profit association that helps small businesses start, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. They link entrepreneurs such as Sevener with retired executives and business people who wish to be involved in helping startup companies grow.
That led him to enter the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which is sponsored by the Wisconsin Technology Council. It is a contest that has the contestants engage in mentoring from judges on their business plans, and leads to valuable exposure for the new companies.
When asked how the contest has helped him, Sevener responded by saying, “The boot camp that was provided (in March 2012) showed me that I need to work on my elevator pitch.”
“It was also very informative in showing what investors look for in your executive summaries. This contest also limits the amount of words that can be written in each phase. This really gets you to focus on the concept and eliminate a lot of the fluff that goes on in writing,” he said.
All of this is going to come in handy when getting his company started. Sevener is investing personal funds, but will be pitching to angel investors. In doing this, he is hoping to gain the expertise, experience, and connections the investors will bring to the table.
Sevener has come a long way already, but it is just the beginning. He hopes to be both the “go-to” company for digital inheritance, and to be a profitable company.
“I don’t want to take over the world,” he said, ”I’m just looking to keep a small portion of one’s legacy alive.”
-- Kutz is a student majoring in Life Sciences Communications and English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.