eLab Featured Startup: Comake

At this point, the average worker spends about 20% of their time searching and gathering information and every 5th employee you hire isn’t actually producing anything and is instead spending their entire workday searching for files and information.

Andrés Gutiérrez (BS '15, MS ’17) and Adler Faulkner (BS '18) decided to tackle this problem with their startup, Comake, a modern file browser that connects your files into a productive network as you access and share them, facilitating your productivity and illustrating the valuable interconnections between you, your project files, and your team/collaborators.

Gutiérrez says, “Think of Comake as the next evolution of your MacOS Finder or Windows Explorer.”

Faulkner describes how he and Gutiérrez had firsthand experience with the problem of wasted time and productivity rummaging through files in their emails, computers and shared drives when they both worked within architecture firms, design groups and startups.

Faulkner says, “Comake started out as an experiment trying to connect the many drawings and 3d files architects use into one large network, it was originally meant to address problems architecture firms and schools have managing and organizing their huge archives of digital assets. Over time, we realized that there was a much deeper pain point having to do with designers’ entire workflow and use of digital file management tools.”

From this point on, Gutiérrez and Faulkner worked to “revolutionize the way we browse, search, and collaborate with files on our computers.”

Faulkner asserts, “Comake relocates your productivity from multiple applications to where your content already lives: right in your file browser.”

Additionally, Comake tracks the information and connections that occur across other tools, including email, Slack and Google Drive, while supplementing your files with this information as metadata.

Faulkner describes the difficulty of starting a business. He says, “Luckily, because of all the passion it requires to keep going and stay focused, most dedicated entrepreneurs don't even consider what they do as hard or as ‘work’ really. Although Comake is not there quite yet, the journey has made it all worth it.”

Faulkner and Gutiérrez credit eLab with helping them to learn the essential skills needed to successfully run a business, as well as the opportunity to practice these skills.

Faulkner asserts, “eLab has helped Andres and I develop a large majority of the business skills we need to succeed. eLab can and has offered us support in many ways, whether its pitch practice, connection to advisors, lawyers, or accountants, or help defining a business model.”

Faulkner also describes how eLab helped him align his education goals with his entrepreneurial passions. He says, “I am very excited to be doing Case Study User Research with many of Comake’s potential customers as an independent study. I’ve set it up to be both academic, learning about research methods and how to implement them, as well as business focused, actually getting tangible insights to further iterate on and validate Comake’s value proposition.”

At this stage, Comake is browser-based and in a closed beta. Faulkner says that they plan to open Comake to the public and release desktop applications (MacOS or Windows) within the next few months, which means that anyone will be able to go to the Comake website and sign up to use Comake in their browser.

Faulkner says that the most exciting part about starting Comake is the interest and excitement from the community, “Just within the Cornell community, people from all walks of life, architects, engineers, photographers, librarians, lawyers, startup founders, accountants, etc. are all very excited to use Comake. We have several formal expressions of interest from companies ready to use Comake for their design processes, I can’t wait to let them all use it!”

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