Tom Miller, best known today in the Triangle as a driving force for entrepreneurship at N.C. State and beyond, also has spent much of his career in technology pushing further developments of spreadsheets. Now he’s using that expertise to help grow a startup that is developing proprietary software which enables the easy sharing across the web while protecting data and formulas. It’s called NExS.
“Spreadsheets have become the ‘Swiss Army knife’ of nearly every business professional. In the ‘third wave,’ we live in a world where information flows at the speed of light through the interconnected ‘cloud’ of apps and web services through which business is transacted,” Miller explains.
“Think Uber for transportation and Amazon for retail. To put the (as Steve Case describes it) third wave in reach of mainstream business (what Case calls the rise of the rest), new tools and technologies are needed. Think: ‘I have spreadsheets. I need apps.’ NExS breathes new life into that familiar Swiss Army knife by adding a few essential blades that businesses must have to compete in the modern world.”
NEXS promises simplicity – and security.
“Create Web Apps with Spreadsheets,” NExS says. “No programming required.”
“Think of all the spreadsheets that you create and share with others. Imagine the benefits of converting your spreadsheets to web applications.”
Miller, who in his day job is Senior Vice Provost for Academic Outreach & Entrepreneurship at NCSU, explains what NExS is all about.
“For years, spreadsheets have allowed non-technical users to perform many complex computational tasks, but sharing those computational models with colleagues or customers has been limited to printing or sharing the spreadsheets themselves,” he explains.
“Our initial product, for example, will allow a spreadsheet owner to deploy a spreadsheet model as a web calculator in a few clicks without exposing any proprietary data or formulas, and without incurring the time and expense of conventional programming solutions.”
Miller currently has five part-time employees working at NExS, which is based at HQ Raleigh.
NExS will be demonstrating its technology at the CED Tech Venture Conference on Sept. 19-20 in Raleigh.
This profile is the latest in a series written, edited and published by WRAL TechWire in partnership with the CED.
Profile: NExS Software, LLC
- Website: www.nexs.com
- Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: HQ Raleigh, 310 South Harrington Street, Raleigh, NC 27606
- CEO: Dr. Tom Miller
- Video link(s): https://vimeo.com/203713649
- How many employees? Five part time.
- Link to CED Tech Venture Company Profile: https://cednc.org/company-profile/nexssoftware
- What is the focus of your business?
The focus of our business is to allow our customers to greatly leverage their existing knowledge of and investment in spreadsheets while minimizing the additional investment required. Much of the world’s business operations are driven by business logic built using spreadsheets.
For years, spreadsheets have allowed non-technical users to perform many complex computational tasks, but sharing those computational models with colleagues or customers has been limited to printing or sharing the spreadsheets themselves.
Our initial product, for example, will allow a spreadsheet owner to deploy a spreadsheet model as a web calculator in a few clicks without exposing any proprietary data or formulas, and without incurring the time and expense of conventional programming solutions.
- What is the top pain point/business application you are seeking to address?
Fundamentally, we’re addressing what Steve Case calls the “third wave” of the Internet which is driving the transformation of American business and industry. For many years, spreadsheets have been a primary tool of business, allowing non-technical business people to build and utilize sophisticated formulas for pricing, forecasting, estimating, etc.
Spreadsheets have become the “Swiss Army knife” of nearly every business professional. In the “third wave,” we live in a world where information flows at the speed of light through the interconnected “Cloud” of apps and web services through which business is transacted.
Think Uber for transportation and Amazon for retail. To put the “third wave” in reach of mainstream business (what Case calls the “rise of the rest”), new tools and technologies are needed. Think: “I have spreadsheets. I need apps.” NExS breathes new life into that familiar “Swiss Army knife” by adding a few essential blades that businesses must have to compete in the modern world.
- What makes it unique?
The idea of teaching an old spreadsheet new tricks is not itself new, but the approach we bring to the table with NExS is. NExS starts with the foundational core of a very efficient, proprietary spreadsheet processing engine enabled as a web service upon which a family of products can be built.
Each product leveraging the power of the engine to solve a problem, such as converting a spreadsheet to a mobile app. This foundational approach makes NExS solutions more powerful, robust, efficient and scalable than competing solutions.
- Why should investors be interested in your firm?
The NExS engine is derived from code that was originally developed in the 1990’s for Xess, the first commercial Unix X-Window spreadsheet which found its way from universities to Wall Street to the International Space Station. Optimized over years of development to handle large and complex spreadsheet problems on hardware a thousand times less powerful than today’s personal computers it provides a technology foundation that would be difficult and costly to replicate.
Additionally, we have a patent pending on a novel method of spreadsheet recalculation that greatly improves efficiency in certain large spreadsheet processing applications.
The combination of this proprietary technology that has stood the test of time and the massive opportunity to enable businesses to leverage their existing investments in and familiarity with spreadsheets in moving their business operations to the web makes NExS a very compelling opportunity for investors.
- How are you financed at this point?
NExS, as a company, is very new. To date, we’ve received $90,000 in grant funding to build out the platform on top of the core technology to get to a minimum viable product.