If you’ve ever sat at your computer, writing about something you have written about before—and wondering where that document is in your computer—Collected could be the software for you.
Collected, a new productivity tool, delivers content to an unobtrusive sidebar or window on the computer screen while the user is typing content in documents such as contracts, proposals or memos. So when you type in, say, “year-end summary for X corporation,” that content you previously wrote about will appear as a snippet on your screen. And you can then access the document to easily retrieve it.
“It allows users to uncover and reuse existing work by providing related content from the user’s cloud accounts as they type,” says company founder and developer Steve Cotter.
“Collected delivers content from files in cloud accounts to the applications—like Word, PowerPoint or Google Docs—used most by content writers,” says Drew Lessard, who handles business development and marketing for the software. It works with cloud storage accounts at Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.”
The software eliminates “cloud sprawl and having data in too many different places,” he explains.
In true “necessity is the mother of invention” style, Cotter came up with the idea for Collected while generating multiple reports as a consulting firm analyst.
“I would be working on something and think, ‘I know I’ve done something like this before,’” he says.
So he and fellow Duquesne master’s degree graduate in computational mathematics, Amanda Kroft, developed his idea. They incorporated their company in the fall of 2013 at AlphaLab with funding from a private investor. A second round of funding came from Innovation Works and Carnegie Mellon University, says Lessard.
A beta version, launched in May of 2014, provided significant positive feedback from about 1,000 testers.
One of those is Eric Harvey, co-founder of Imagine Careers in Pittsburgh. He has been using Collected for marketing materials for his professional discovery platform for the last two months.
“(Collected) saved me several hours of writing because I was able to pull out documentation I had already written,” he says, adding that it was especially helpful in creating slide shows to investors. For example, Collected was able to pinpoint key information about revenue growth from previous presentations, saving him the trouble of going through entire files to find it on his own.
Collected can also be a beneficial tool in terms of rediscovering work that you or your co-workers forgot about, says Lessard.
From their offices in StartUptown, the team is excited about developing relationships with file sharing and storage services like Box and Dropbox.
“We’re hoping to increase our sales through relationships with these companies because they are excited to put our product in front of their customers,” says Lessard. They are also talking to several small and mid-sized companies.
“Nobody’s quite integrated information into the office suite the way we have,” he notes.