August 5, 2013



Carroll

Wyatt Haukap is an organized man who loves computers.

He's also in the business of fixing things.

Take those three characteristics, add a dose of restless mind, hand him an Apple iPad, and voila! - notebinder, an all-in-one document-organizing and note-taking application is born right here in Carroll, Iowa.

It's Haukap's brainchild - something the 38-year-old co-owner of Kitt Plumbing & Heating, 216 W. Third St., has had rolling around in his imagination since Apple released the popular tablets.

"In my mind, I thought this is exactly what I would use," Haukap said. "I spent months thinking about it."

He didn't quit his day job and move to tech-savvy Seattle or San Jose, Calif. But Haukap didn't let the idea wither on the vine, a cocktail-napkined dream destined for the trash or a remote desk drawer.

Haukap used early-morning and late-night hours, time away from the heating-and-plumbing and air-conditioning business, to scout the Internet, make connections and build an international team that would develop notebinder. Computer pros from Russia, India and Florida were involved with the development of the Apple "app" (application). Haukap went through trademarking and the copyrighting processes, all new to him.

"I had to put a lot of blind faith in people," he said.

The Carroll High graduate collected some local investors under PEN Ventures, LLC, and worked with Apple to make the app available in late 2011. He's continued to update it and released version 1.5 in the Apple App Store on July 26.

The cost for the application: $6.99 - a one-time fee that automatically provides users with updates as the product advances.

Sales have been in the thousands. And with more than 100 million iPads in the world, and the number spiraling, Haukap sees booming potential for this application in the arenas of business, education and personal organizing.

To date, notebinder has sold applications to iPad users in the United States, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Mongolia and India, among other nations.

Professionals at several Carroll-area companies - Windstar Lines and Feld Fire Equipment, for example - are using notebinder and even participating in online video promotions for the application.

"I get way more positive feedback than negative," Haukap said.

Haukap said his goal for the product is general adaptation.

"I want people to use and like it," he said.

Notebinder landed a high-profile sponsorship recently when PGA Tour golfer Tag Ridings (who is married to Kuemper Catholic High School alum Brenda Stork) started wearing the application's logo on his shirt sleeves.

"He got some TV time a few weeks ago, and it was on CBS," Haukap said.

The company is also growing in popularity with schools, Haukap said.

"There have been a handful of bulk educational purchases," he said.

Haukap says his goal with the company is first and foremost as a money-making capitalist. But it goes deeper than that. He'd like to see notebinder's success serve as an inspiration for other entrepreneurial-minded rural Iowans.

Don't let physical geography get in the way, he says, noting that the world is literally at one's fingertips on his beloved iPad.

What's more, that world is far more organized with notebinder.