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 user 2005-07-21 at 10:58:00 am Views: 38
  • #11997

    eCopy is branching out
    from Canon relationship

    Nashua, N.H.-based eCopy Inc.’s software and workstations are not just for Canon Inc. digital copiers and scanners anymore.

    And the company, with 185 people and more than $30 million in revenues last year, has come up with a way to make its software digital copier agnostic.

    The idea is to put paper documents into your electronic workflow. Now, eCopy offers software to handle documents, called ShareScan OP v3.0, and hardware, ScanStation OP v3.0.

    The ScanStation is basically a PC turned on its side with a keyboard and a touch screen that sits next to a copier. The system costs $3,995 with a 10-user license for eCopy Desktop software.

    “We’ve had some very major changes here in 2005 and they are a result of work we have done over the past three to four years in what we call open platform products,” said Edward Schmid, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

    In addition to Canon, the company’s products now support copiers from Ricoh Co. Ltd, Hewlett-Packard Development Co., Toshiba Corp., Océ N.V., and Sharp Electronics Corp., according to a May report by Buyers Laboratory Inc. They’ll also support Fujitsu Ltd. scanners, according to IDC, a Framingham-based technology research firm.

    These companies will offer copiers branded as “eCopy Ready.”

    eCopy executives recently rolled out the company’s strategy at its Paper Connection Forum in Miami, where hardware and software vendors mingled. eCopy formed a number of partnerships as a result.

    “We are well on our way to setting the standard for how software integrates with digital copiers,” Schmid said.

    Joel Mazza, a director for the marketing research and consulting firm InfoTrends/Cap Ventures based in Weymouth, credits eCopy as having “pioneered this software” for multifunctional peripherals.

    While the move beyond Canon is needed, “what would really make a difference would be to line up Xerox. That would really close the loop,” said Mazza.

    Mazza said document capture, routing and creation software is a $130 million market.

    “Their move to open up their architecture and their platform is a good move for their company and a good move for the industry as a whole,” said Keith Kmetz, program director for hard copy research at IDC.

    The company has also had a strong run, growing revenues last year at a 43-percent clip more than the year before.

    The company has added 46 people this year, a 33 percent increase. Schmid expects the company to increase its head count to 200 by year’s end with added sales engineers and staff, developers and product managers.

    Nashua has provided a natural fit for the company.

    Over the years, the company tapped former talent from Digital Equipment Corp. and Wang Laboratories Inc., an early innovator in imaging software during the 1980s.

    While many software companies head to Route 128 to set up shop, eCopy plans to stay put at 1 Oracle Drive.

    The company had rented 29,000 square feet from Oracle Corp. at its East Coast research and development facility before that became a tight squeeze. When it outgrew this space, it rented 19,000 more square feet.

    Schmid worked at Digital Equipment Corp. and LaserData Inc. before starting eCopy in 1992 from his condominium. The focus then was hooking a scanner up as a network device.

    But copiers have evolved to include scanners and laser printers, and eCopy jumped at this opportunity.

    When asked about an exit strategy, Schmid said, “We’ve always run the company with the philosophy that we want to be in business forever; that doesn’t mean that eCopy will be around forever.”

    The company managed to raise $6 million from investors, including Ascent Venture Partners. Canon invested $15.8 million into eCopy in November 2002.