Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Traklight: Automating IP Strategy

Mary Juetten, Founder and CEO of, created Traklight while earning her JD at Arizona State University. Instead of taking the bar, she chose to work at another software startup while working on Traklight on the side during her last semester of law school in 2010. Starting in October 2011, she transitioned to working on Traklight full-time, and writes that “since my son just graduated from high school, we’ll be empty-nesters, so my attention will be 110% on Traklight after August.”  Traklight won Success Magazine’s 2013 Start Small, Win Big contest, placed second in Grow America’s She Can Pitch contest, and was a Startup of the Year finalist at Arizona’s 2013 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation.

Mary Juetten has dedicated her more-than-25-year career to helping businesses achieve and protect their success. A self-described “recovering accountant,” she has conducted financial auditing, provided consulting, and held executive positions with public and private organizations. Mary has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill and a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State as well as her US and Canadian accounting and public accountant certifications. Mary is an international writer, speaker, Forbes contributor, and mentor, and she co-chairs the Arizona Technology Council’s Law and Technology committee. Mary also represents entrepreneurs on the Board of the Crowdfunding Investment Regulatory Advocates and the Emerging Enterprise Committee of the Licensing Executives Society.

Tell me about Traklight

Traklight offers the only self-guided software platform to create a custom intellectual property (IP) strategy with an integrated storage and file-sharing solution. It’s available 24/7, and allows entrepreneur to gain confidence and take control.

We make sure that entrepreneurs take control of their IP from the very beginning. An IP Strategy is a list of all the potential IP and other next steps, warnings, and recommendations around your intangible assets.  We also create an IP Inventory that allows our customers to manage their registered or protected IP plus an IP Snapshot for attorneys to triage or prequalify clients and assist with the client intake process.

We at Traklight like to say that we educate and empower around IP. This product isn’t just a one-time activity. For many, IP is often ignored or misunderstood at the start and that is a problem later on when seeking financing or applying to an incubator. We create on-demand reports that can be used by attorneys, investors, and accountants to help protect, leverage, and value the IP or intangible assets. The storage is great because it is simple but cloud-based, so it’s very affordable. This is a Fortune 1000-type technology for small business. It also integrates into other consumer facing platforms using iframes or API technology.

Do you have competitors with a similar product, and if so, how are you different?

Our only online competition to our self-guided questionnaire is DIY Internet research. Offline, one can visit an attorney or other IP professional. For the storage and file sharing, we have many competitors but we do have some differences–we have time-stamping and a verification email, as well as a system to allow data input that includes dates and notes for each file that is uploaded.

What inspired you to create Traklight?

Hearing about entrepreneurs losing their IP; never knowing that they had valuable IP; waiting until they have wasted money on branding; not owning their IP even though they paid for it; the list goes on. The majority of the issues were NOT regarding patents or IP protection rather more IP prevention. If customers had identified their IP upfront, they would have been able to take simple steps–some of them just good business practices–to protect and keep what is theirs.

What's been your greatest challenge thus far?

Once we got past the technical bumps and failures with various contractors and hired our own full-time tech team, the biggest challenge was raising awareness around the fact that businesses have IP, and that companies should have a sense of urgency around developing an IP strategy. We focus on education through blogging, white papers, articles, speaking, and so on.

What is the demographic of your main customer?

Entrepreneurs, inventors, and startups are our main customers. We are focused on early-stage small businesses with less than 25 employees, including solo owners. We have a lot of first or second time startups as clients, but a number of seasoned entrepreneurs also use our software platform because they understand the importance of managing IP.

What's been your greatest success thus far?

Relaunching our completely new website and applications in March. We got feedback from hundreds of entrepreneurs and attorneys. The new software was well-received and generated interest from some very large potential strategic partners.

What changes do you foresee in the company? In the legal industry?

We have a playbook project underway to document and streamline our internal processes and create repeatable scaleable processes for our team to deliver great customer experience and continue to work with our customers to develop great products. We are hiring to expand our team and it is also very exciting!

For the legal industry, I see that the walls between business and law are starting to come down. We crafted a document on the business of legal to help attorneys understand that giving away billable hours to secure clients is expensive. We hope to see greater adoption of technology to augment the practice of law on the transactional side. Attorneys will thrive if they integrate some of the best practices with respect to inbound marketing and education–giving value to potential clients in an efficient way using technology (like our IP Strategy report! J).