Photo: (Left to Right) Alessandro Segala, Max Corso and Jill Wirth of Zap In

Throw out the binder.

That’s what Max Corso’s Kitchener-based company Zap In is helping organizations do at their front desks.

As Corso explains, “People spend a lot of money in their lobbies and their foyers, but then to sign in visitors they have a 12 dollar wrinkled binder that’s usually seen much better days.”

That’s where Zap In comes in.

Zap In’s application converts a tablet into a visitor registry to automate reception. Visitors sign in on the device and the application can send notifications to the visitor’s host, print badges, query customers and a lot more.

In Corso’s previous sales career, he visited thousands of offices and at each one was confronted with a paper binder to sign in. This binder Corso says, was often barely legible, inefficient at storing information and slowed down the sign-in process at larger events.

It’s a theme that is seen often in the technology ecosystem. A founder is confronted with a recurring problem, thinks of a solution, and sets out on a journey to execute on that solution.

Once Corso heard of Apple’s new ten-inch tablet, he decided to “put that binder on a tablet.”

Three years later, with 5000 paid users, 18 000 free downloads and customers including Hershey, McDonalds, and Paypal, Zap In can barely keep up with demand.

“It’s been somewhat of a surprise success story,” Corso says. “We have other lines of business, but this one has just superseded all of them.”

It’s not just offices that are looking for the technology either.

“We’ve focused on business but we’ve seen the app grow into so many other verticals, from medical offices to gyms to industrial sites,” says Corso.

Jill Wirth, who handles sales and marketing for the company emphasizes the versatility of the core application.

“In any environment we see the product, they are able to use it for the tools that they need, ” says Wirth. “We have schools that use it for attendance and signing in volunteers that are pre-approved. While we also just signed a customer who manages remote locations in Northern Alberta so he can see his employees that sign in as well as deliveries that were made.”

On Jan.15, Zap In will launch version 2.0 of the application. The new version operates in real-time and on multiple platforms in addition to iOS, allowing the company to introduce new hardware that will work on screens up to 55 inches. It also boasts new features like SMS push notifications and a privacy feature for organizations operating in the cloud.

Zap In’s head of programming, Alessandro Segala, who moved from Italy for the University of Waterloo’s Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program says, “The new product feels different, looks different, and behaves differently, but is much more streamlined and user-friendly. What we’re building will work for the next million users.”

The Zap In product has evolved, but the motivation behind the company has remained the same.

“What I like about working for this company,” Segala explains, “is that we’re not selling a technological product, we’re selling a solution to a need that customers are demanding.”

The completely bootstrapped company doubled their sales from November to December and is now the number one business app in 21 countries around the iTunes world.

With all this success, Max Corso proclaims his company’s number one challenge as securing good talent.

“Luckily the [Waterloo Region] ecosystem is rich in talent,” says Corso. “What are the odds that we can find [Alessandro] from Italy who studied the MBET program and brings us this type of knowledge and background? Only in Waterloo.”