Ten years ago, Manny Salom pushed aside the paperwork and left his job as a bookkeeper.
He started a boutique clothing store in New York City. He worked in digital marketing and consulting. He taught himself programming.
He didn’t know it at the time, but he was building the skills he would need to return to the accounting world — this time as an entrepreneur.
“About a year and a half ago, an accountant friend complained to me about how bad the paperwork was,” he explained. “This really hit home for me. I lived like this, and still no one has fixed it a decade later.”
So Salom decided to do just that. Now, his startup, Invoira, gives buyers and suppliers a way to collaborate on invoicing and payments with innovative tools. The cloud-based invoicing software allows parties to edit documents in real-time, chat, track versions and revisions, and transact.
“As a developer, you see what’s currently in the market and you think, ‘I can do better than this,'” Salom said. “We’re taking an unsexy process and making it cool.”
After raising a small round of seed funding, Salom left the consulting world to build his company full time. He got accepted into the Queen City Fintech program, which he knew was what he needed to supercharge his progress, and decided to make the move from New York to Charlotte.
The decision has changed the course of his company — and his life.
“Being a small company, we have a better chance to make a large impact here,” Salom said. “The people are so nice and want to help you. It’s a very different culture, and I want to be a part of it.”
Taking part in the Queen City Fintech program provided him with invaluable mentoring opportunities, as well as a chance to hone in on the company’s target market. While they originally envisioned the platform for small businesses, they’ve transitioned to marketing to small accounting offices with 10 to 20 clients.
Currently, the team is refining the platform based on known needs and initial feedback from potential customers. They have two companies that want to pilot the program and a waitlist of people who are eager to see the product when it launches this fall. Once they are fully operational, Invoira’s revenues will come from customers’ monthly subscriptions, as well as processing fees from transactions.
As with most entrepreneurial ventures, not everything has been smooth sailing. Salom recalls a particularly difficult time in the company’s development when he parted ways with his co-founder. Ultimately, the success of the product relied on maintaining a passionate and dedicated culture within the Invoira team.
“Learn about yourself so you can better understand others,” Salom said. “Each person has their own strengths; play to those strengths and surround yourself with the right people. Pay attention to the red flags and take care of them early.”
Today, Salom has a team of developers and a marketer who are helping guide the company toward its full launch. His background in digital marketing has proven invaluable as Invoira develops its marketing strategy — both domestically and internationally.
While the development process has been lengthier than expected, Salom said it has given the company the chance to refine its offering.
“With any startup, you need patience to understand the process,” he said. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. You have your own way of learning at your own pace.”
This article was co-written by David Stunja and Lexie Banks.