Seattle District Office Success Stories: https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/wa/seattle/success-stories
intelliPaper Founder Andrew DePaula – Doing it Right
Edwall, WA; In standard US Small Business Administration training on “how to start a small business” we talk about the key success factors for any startup. Andrew DePaula, the unassuming founder of intelliPaper® is covering all of the business basics along the way patiently building a solid business foundation.
intelliPaper is the first company in the world to embed digital flash memory inside ordinary plain paper. The disposable drive is lightweight, low-cost and 100% recyclable. They work with printers and marketing specialists to create innovative ‘cross-over’ marketing and advertising products that combine paper media with digital content and analytics. DePaula’s ‘invention’ is making its way down the small business runway picking up speed as it goes. Destined for a solid take off and beautiful flight it is now time for the business to soar into a profitable future.
DePaula spent his formative years traveling with his missionary parents and benefitted from homeschooling along with international exposure. This opened his mind and heart to a world of unlimited possibilities and as he put it, “I have always been dreaming of creating reality out of ideas. Ideas come from God and all that we are and do is a moment by moment gift.” He’s busy making the most of his personal gift of ‘creativity’ and coupling it with his educational passion in engineering and now entrepreneurship.
DePaula’s patience has allowed him to gradually work through the sometimes tedious and expensive process of keeping his day job while pursuing his dream. His engineering brain had an ‘aha moment’ several years ago and he immediately exhibited the attributes of a great leader. Recognizing that his own area of expertise as an electrical engineer would require supplemental assistance from experts in other areas of starting and growing a small business.
After receiving assistance and advice from friends and family he turned to Joe Harris at Washington State University’s Innovation Assessment Center to determine the viability of his creation. Through that relationship the concept was test marketed and subsequently “mobbed” by test subjects totally validating the idea.
DePaula contacted Alan Stanford, a certified business advisor with the Washington State Small Business Development Center (WSBDC) in Spokane who helped him figure out how to fund and grow his business. Stanford’s help was “a God-send,” DePaula said, “most literally, a real answer to a real prayer. My relationship with the WSBDC has been one of the most tangible experiences that I have had that the money I paid in taxes came back to me in services.”
Working with Stanford they developed a loan application which enabled DePaula to seek financial assistance from Craft 3, a nonprofit community development financial institution that provides loans to entrepreneurs who have been unable to get capital from traditional lenders.
DePaula used the loan proceeds to help develop his proprietary manufacturing capabilities where none existed before. It also helped him produce enough products for an initial market introduction. Sales are growing as businesses figure out new ways to put intelliPaper’s technology to good use.
DePaula recently hired a CEO, Scott Sassone to help with market development and sales. He has decades of experience building tech related companies and helping them produce revenues and profits. Sassone’s view for intelliPaper is, “To bring the benefits of paper to our digital world.”
If passion and persistence are two key factors for business success, intelliPaper is a sure bet. As the market develops DePaula continues to see new and bigger opportunities to apply the technology that he created. Long term he even envisions helping economically disadvantaged areas of the world by developing a modular manufacturing facility for his business. That would get the finished product closer to the market and help others in the process.
In any case, the possibilities are limitless for intelliPaper under the creative guidance of Andrew DePaula.
To learn more about intelliPaper and their swivelCard innovation as well as our Resource Partners and the SBA go to the following links:
•www.intelliPaper.info intelliPaper’s business website and www.swivelcard.info
•www.wsbdc.org – Washington State Small Business Development Center
•www.craft3.org – Craft 3
•http://spokane.wsu.edu/University-Center-for-Innovation – WSU University Center for Innovation
•www.sba.gov – United States Small Business Administration