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[Editor’s note: GeekWire is running a series of profiles on the startups participating in this year’s class in the TechStars Seattle incubator program. Check back each day at 1:30 p.m. for a new profile, leading up to Demo Day on Nov. 1]

Nveloped co-founder and CEO Nikhil Palekar

Sending important medical or financial documents via email can worry those concerned about security. Nveloped is hoping to ease that process.

Built for healthcare and financial services, Nveloped’s platform allows users to send and receive secure email in just two clicks using an existing email address. We caught up with CEO and co-founder Nikhil Palekar, a former practicing patent attorney, for this installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Regular email isn’t secure. We help users send and receive secure email easily using their existing email accounts.”

Inspiration hit us when: “I was forced to use a fax machine to communicate health/medical information but didn’t have access to one or want to use one. Email is probably the most efficient way for businesses to communicate, so making it viable for healthcare and financial communication would provide huge gains in terms of efficiency and cost savings.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Each one makes sense for companies at different stages. We bootstrapped for a while, raised a small angel round recently, and maybe we will look for VC money in the future.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We rethink the way email usually works. Our competitors offer “stagnant” solutions, like message portals or hard-to-use encryption keys. We push the secure content dynamically.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Applying to and starting the TechStars program. The teams in the program and the network of mentors really are amazing.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “We should have been more aggressive about finding customers and testing our assumptions
about product fit earlier in the development process.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos. We’re okay with “being misunderstood” in the short term, to accomplish our goals long term. When Bezos wants to enter a market, he goes all in. We like that.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “People start to realize that there’s no reason to use traditional email instead of our service. Who doesn’t want email that’s more secure?”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have a really innovative solution that’s simply better than theirs. We’re nimble, we iterate quickly, and we’re getting an incredible amount of customer traction only a month into our beta.”

We are truly unique because: “We don’t require complicated plugins or rely on message portals to deliver secure messages. You get your secure content directly in your inbox.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Getting “In the door” with some large healthcare companies, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to even get a meeting to pitch your product with someone who can actually make things happen at that company.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Starting a business is really hard. The odds are stacked against you big time, and it’s going to be a roller coaster. Some days you’ll feel like success is inevitable. Sometimes like the entire thing is a failure. It’s important to try and stay as even as you can. It helps if you find a co-founder who complements your personality so you can help keep each other centered.

What is the most important thing you learned at TechStars? “GFA. I won’t say exactly what it stands for, but the gist is that as a startup you have to be aggressive. You have to be aggressive in talking to customers and understanding the market. You have to be aggressive in getting those customers to use your product and get feedback. And you have to be aggressive in addressing that feedback.”

What was your most memorable moment in TechStars? “The first 11:11 meeting, when we heard about the story behind it and shared a great moment with the other teams in the program.”

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