Many innovators don't have the tools in their toolkit to make their tech dream a reality, but one Houston company might be able to help.
Octaria Software is focused on helping businesses, from the very seedlings of startups to established small and medium-sized ventures, to effectively go digital. Though it may include building an app, CEO and founder Greg Micek II says that isn’t all the only service that Octaria provides. His job, essentially is to supply the advice of a highly technical software architect to non-technical founders.
“There's a lot of outsourcing firms out there that work really well if you already have a tech lead as an employee. What about those people that don't have a CTO? What do they do? And so I realized there was a place in the market to give them a little bit of help, and really support them and kind of help build and grow from there,” Micek tells InnovationMap.
As he puts it, he can step in as a fractional CTO for companies who aren’t yet ready to make a full-time hire. A year and a half ago, Micek moved Octaria Software to The Cannon Downtown, but his 15-person distributed team also included director of product management Matthew Lowinger, based in the Washington, DC area. Last month, Lowinger helped to open Octaria’s second physical office in Tysons Corner, Virginia, (with an official address of McLean, Virginia) about half an hour outside the bigger city.
“There are so many startups emerging there,” Lowinger says. “There is a reason that Tysons Corner is considered the tech capital of DC. There's so many companies that are headquartered and launched right in our backyard. There's some really cool expansion opportunities where we can help out more founders, more entrepreneurs, more small- to medium-sized businesses than ever before.”
One example of a business that benefited from working with Octaria Software is an app called Lokum. Founder Joy Ademuyewo is a Houston-based certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Realizing that staffing was still decidedly twentieth-century, Ademuyewo took it upon herself to create a company that would spawn an app to streamline hiring for hospitals in need of experts like her.
“When she came to us initially, she had some UI and UX designs, but she didn't have any software at that point in time,” recalls Micek. “We've been able to work with her to release a web and mobile application and it's just been really great working with her and seeing her get her initial customers and help her grow from there.”
But not every founder comes to Micek and his team as well prepared as Ademuyewo did. Some just have an idea, in which case, Lowinger says they start with a product management sprint that will validate assumptions that the company will be building the right thing for its potential customers.
From there, they go into facets of design before approaching the build of the app. It’s a financially conservative way to do business that favors the needs of the founder, but is still focused on making headway. Micek says that they have taken products to market in as little as three months, though he admits, “It varies wildly.”
For nontechnical founders who are ready to test their ideas, Octaria hopes to provide a supportive means to make their dream an app.