James Young has spent decades in the startup world, founding companies and leading several to acquisitions. But after the sales of his software startups Terraine, Legal Software Solutions and Provalent Solutions, Young is showing he has a new product up his sleeve.
Specifically, XForms is the solution to create forms on any device, anywhere.
Built with automatic percent-complete calculations at the form level and other unique features including an Excel-like table grid that works even on small smartphones and geolocation-enabled automatic metadata capture, XForms came together in around 2016 to help field technicians collect data more efficiently.
CED recently selected Young as one of 10 Triangle tech startup CEOs whom it will bring for free to the prestigious Business of Software Conference in Boston on Sept. 26-28. The trip is being funded by a donation from Global Data Consortium CEO Bill Spruill, who oversaw his startup’s acquisition by London Stock Exchange Group this spring and summer.
Current XForms clients include Republic Industries, which uses XForms to help ensure all the hazardous waste they pick up goes into the right waste bins. The geolocation services that XForms offers also guarantee that the pickups are being done in the correct locations.
XForms has been entirely bootstrapped to date, with all the funding it needs provided by the revenue coming from its 12 paying customers. The clients are in industries ranging from large electric utilities to egg distributors.
Young said part of XForms’ appeal is that anyone can use it, with no technical expertise necessary.
“We don’t touch it,” Young said. “It’s fully automated. The truck drivers fill out these forms in offline mode, hit a button, submit it and that’s it. It has changed their internal process.”
Lessons From A Founder
Young said in the startup business, you can’t rely on anyone. You must build it on your own, especially if you’re an older founder.
“I am 58,” Young said. “I’m not 25. I wasn’t born in the Internet era. I am not a charismatic leader, a charismatic speaker. And those things matter if you want to get funded.”
In order to succeed, one must be aware they will hear “no” a million times and still be able to keep moving forward, he added.
“You just have to have grit. resourcefulness, stubbornness, if you believe in the idea, to break through all the no’s,” Young said.
Composed of five part-time employees, XForms is looking to grow far beyond its current standing, Young said.
Once they close the gaps in the product’s integration and make on-boarding automatic, likely by second quarter next year, Young expects XForms to rapidly accelerate its growth.
“When that happens, it’s going to go from that Vespa scooter to a pretty fast car,” Young said. “And hopefully, at some point, a rocket.”