Interview with Marcy Hoffman – CEO & Founder from i-Lighter
Below is an interview with Marcy Hoffman – CEO & Founder from i-Lighter. We hope you find the interview informative and useful. Please visit their website and check it out! http://www.i-lighter.com/. Also, you can check out their demo at http://www.demo.com/demonstrators/demo2006fall/79828.php.
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
i-Lighter: i-Lighter is a simple, effective tool that allows anyone who uses a browser an easy way to save what is important to them, find it whenever they need it, use it anyway they choose and share it as they wish. We built i-Lighter to serve the needs of a wide range of users, from the sophisticated blogger to the average surfer who, according to PEW, comes online to perform basic functions. i-Lighter is the ‘yellow marker for the web’ that provides a solid web based application that will simplify online life.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?
i-Lighter: Basically, the ease of use. We sought to build a product that would be useful to a wide variety of users; from the ‘early adopters’ to the person who goes online to shop, read email, do some reading and for work. Many other sites focus on the social networking aspect which we have incorporated but it is not our focus. Through our focus groups, we realized that most people want a simple, universal method of saving, using and finding what is important to them and sharing it when and with whom they want.
TechAddress: What are some of the main features?
i-Lighter: Our tag line is Grab It, Use It, Share It and Never Lose It. Grab It: Simultaneous highlighting and saving information to online server. i-Lighter also allows the user to annotate while highlighting. Use It: Click on the i-Lighter icon in the taskbar and the user will see their home page where the information they saved can be found, saved in familiar files and folders. Then ‘use it’ by emailing, inserting into a word document, post it to a blog, print it or send it to a phone. Share it: emailing and searching across shared folders allows for easy sharing and Never Lose It: the information is web based, always available. Now with i-Lighter’s web viewer, users can find their information from any web enabled device.
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
i-Lighter: In truth, anyone who uses a browser. Students, professionals, office workers, researchers and anyone who shops, reads, surfs and spends time online.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
i-Lighter: We are building i-Lighter for PDF, Word, expanding the Share functions and building a developers kit that will provide developers the ability to build niche plug-ins.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
i-Lighter: i-Lighter was designed as a consumer channel and an Enterprise tool, hosted on a client’s server. Within the next 12 months, we envision partnering with a number of key Enterprise clients in the fields of education, publishing, research and financial service. On the consumer side, we will continue to grow our user base and build features that service our users.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
i-Lighter: Interestingly in a Web 2.0 environment, we have heard concerns about information being hosted online. We recognized that certain segments of online users are looking for a higher level of privacy or security than any Web 2.0 company can provide. In an effort to address this concern, we are building a subscription service that will offer encryption services.
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
i-Lighter: To keep the user experience in the forefront of all development. We have brought in testers from temp agencies to try the program and advise us as to what works and what doesn’t. We are driven to listen to and address the needs of our users, whether consumer or Enterprise.
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
i-Lighter: The mission; to build solid, logical products that become second nature to our users. Products that make their online lives easier, more productive and flexible. Our innovation lies in designing complex functions that work easily, simply and intuitively. Too often products are designed with the technically adept user in mind, those who might love the challenge of understanding complex tools. i-Lighter looks to the broad spectrum of online users and built a product that services all users. The simultaneous highlighting/annotating and storage is unique (and proprietary) and simplifies what up to now has been an awkward and illogical function.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
i-Lighter: We raised an initial seed round from private investors and are seeking our Series A round. We are in negotiations with a number of Enterprise clients and intend to go live with our consumer model in a month.
TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date?
i-Lighter: see above.
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