InfoReady Helps Customers Navigate $1 Trillion Grant Market With Search and Collaboration Software

Collaboration software for office workers isn’t new, and neither are technologies for doing refined, targeted Web searches. But Ann Arbor, MI-based InfoReady is combining those elements in a social networking-like interface to create a workflow tool that the company’s president and CEO Bhushan Kulkarni thinks will really shake things up.

“I feel that we are hitting on something that’s going to allow us to change the way that business is done in the collaboration space,” he says.

The startup spun out of Kulkarni’s Ann Arbor-based IT consulting firm GDI Infotech in March, and released its first product in June, attracting about a dozen paying customers, Kulkarni says. He thinks the market potential for his company’s product is massive, but wanted to start with a more targeted customer base and get good at that, he says. So InfoReady has selected the problem of finding government grants and other awards and putting together proposals as the first application for its software.

Between federal agencies, state agencies, and foundations, there’s about $1 trillion in grant money available every year; the problem is knowing where and what to apply for, Kulkarni says. Traditionally, those interested in grant money have had to go to individual agency and foundation websites, and by the time they gather the information on grants that are available, “there’s not enough time left to respond with a quality proposal,” Kulkarni says. So InfoReady is targeting its software to streamline the grant search and proposal process for groups such as big research universities, community colleges, public school districts, economic development agencies, and local government entities.

“It’s probably because of the environment in Michigan,” says Kulkarni of the inspiration for grants as a first market for the InfoReady software. “What became clear to us is that everybody is hungry for new sources of revenue.”

InfoReady’s software platform crawls the Web for information relevant to a particular customer, and delivers notifications on available grants to their inboxes, based on their customized search criteria. It’s designed so that users can take action on that particular grant right away, by putting together a proposal. “If we’re trying to find something, chances are we want to find that information because we want to do something with it,” he says. “With most software tools out there, once you find info, there’s no easy way to collaborate.”

Rather than requiring customers to go into separate programs and documents and copy and paste relevant content, the software platform enables different users to post items on an interface similar to the wall in Facebook. The software also pulls relevant content exchanged via e-mail regarding … Next Page »

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