I didn’t always code for America. In fact, I am not sure I even knew it was an option. Like many start ups, I started SeamlessDocs by accident. I had a 65 person outsource paralegal processing center and was infuriated dealing with the inefficiencies of paper.
A typical government form took 4 people, 74 sheets of paper, 1 industrial strength printer, 2 eFax numbers, 6 phone calls, 5 revisions, and 6 weeks (at best) just to get submitted to the government. And thats where the “fun” part started…
“You sent to the old fax number,” “I know you have been waiting a month but you put ‘NY’ instead of spelling out the state so you need to resubmit.” “I am not showing record that you spoke to Jenny and she told you something totally different.”
I knew there had to be a better way so I set out with my trusty co-founder to build it. We weren’t specifically innovating for the government, we just set out to build a better PDF. What Google Docs did for Microsoft Word, we were going to do for Adobe. My instinct and flashbacks of filling out state tax forms and waiting on the line at the DMV made it seem obvious to steer far, far away from government.
So we started with small businesses and built a product focused on design to make it easy enough for my Grandmother to use (love you, Grandma). Then as word got out, enterprise requests slowly started rolling in. We immediately knew that the SeamlessDocs platform had found its product market fit. Not just the needs of Enterprise, but the sheer volume of forms and processing times made our software invaluable.
Well, at least we thought we had found our home — until one day at 8:45 p.m. when the phone rang. The rest of the team had left but I was still in the office, so I picked up the phone expecting to help one of our customers. It turns out it was Garry from a state government agency on the west coast; he had heard about us through one of our partners and was intrigued.
After an enthusiastic 20 minute chat I found myself sending him a screen share link. An hour and a half later we were shoulder deep into an intensive demo. He could not get enough; so much so that the very next day Garry set up an 8 person web demo with his entire team. They were ecstatic at how our solution would let them keep their existing PDFs while at the same time bring the process online!
Their reaction was too potent to ignore. This time I managed to suppress my bad memories of government forms enough to consider whether maybe government was actually a viable market for SeamlessDocs. The complexity of government forms actually made us the perfect solution.
After discussing with some of my trusted advisors, we took a huge leap of faith and called a team meeting to announce our new focus. Months later, with more than 50 governments on board and hundreds in the works, I have never been happier about the fateful late night call from Garry.
In a short time, I have changed my perspective about working with government. Rather than feeling frustrated, I am feeling challenged; rather than feeling exhausted, I am feeling inspired.
With each call we make, each form we convert, each person we educate, we make our little difference. Now more than ever I am committed to creating the new standard in government forms.
As our team doubled in size four times in the past six months, there is one adjective that we all share; pride. While I never saw it coming, today I am proud to code for America, as is my co-founder and our team. Together, we are proud to be part of this new wave of government innovation; we are proud to be a part of the Govtech Movement.