Naperville Business Spotlight: Cartavi (And Why I Love It)

cartavi logo

I’m one of those people that loves technology and what it can do for us.  When applied in just the right way, it helps make our lives easier and more productive.  And that’s exactly what Cartavi, a Naperville-based real estate software company, does for me.

When I got into the business of helping people sell and buy their dream homes, I was pretty surprised to see that there was so much time, effort, and paper being used to sign and store simple documents.  I didn’t understand why we’re still faxing, printing, and scanning things in this day and age.

So I started hunting around to find a solution.

Enter:  Cartavi, “a simple way to share.”

Turns out that Cartavi is exactly what I was looking for.  It, along with the integrated DocuSign capabilities of electronic signatures on your desktop or mobile device, was my digital solution.

The cherry on top is that they’re based in Naperville, my hometown and the geographic focus of my real estate business.  So, I decided to learn more about the inner workings of this company and contact them.

Paul Koziarz, Cartavi founder

Paul Koziarz, Cartavi Co-Founder

Below is my conversation with Cartavi co-founder, Paul Koziarz, about what makes his company tick.

What does Cartavi do?
Cartavi is a web-based document management system that allows real estate professionals to easily collaborate with everyone involved in the process of buying or selling a home. Cartavi makes the purchase experience more efficient by allowing people to securely manage, share and digitally sign documents from anywhere on any computer, iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device.

When was the company started and by whom?
My partner, Glenn Shimkus, and I founded the company in 2009 after spending nearly 15 months researching the real estate market.

What was the inspiration for it?
The inspiration for Cartavi came in 2008 after my co-founder’s wife became a REALTOR®. For months he had witnessed the challenges she faced managing the myriad of documents that needed to be exchanged with multiple parties across all of her transactions. Being a tech professional with over 20 years of experience building document management systems, Glenn was sure he could find a solution for his wife that would allow her to have access to all the documents she needed and be more responsive to requests from other parties.

During that time, I was working as a consultant for a company where Glenn served as the CTO. Together, we were developing a web-based e-Vault for high net worth consumers. Every week we would meet at one of several Starbucks throughout Naperville and spend hours working on the project. It was during one of our sessions that Glenn shared the story of his wife and what he learned after researching the products that were available to real estate agents. We put our heads together, invested in further research and soon realized there was an opportunity to create a product to address an unmet need in real estate.

What was your vision on day 1 and what is your vision today for Cartavi?
Our vision from day one was to improve the way documents are managed and shared during a real estate transaction in order to create a better experience for agents as well as home buyers and sellers. Buying or selling a home can be a frustrating process when you think about all of the paper work that needs to be shared, mailed, faxed or signed in a given transaction.

We live in a mobile world now, which for real estate agents means that having the right information and being responsive to a client’s needs is expected. We set out to build the first truly mobile solution for real estate transactions so agents could have every document at their fingertips and easily share them with any party.

Where does the name “Cartavi” come from?
When we thought about what to name our company, we knew that we wanted to have a name that was both unique and had meaning. The name Cartavi (pronounced kahr-tuh vee) is what we like to call “new latin”. It’s based on the word “carta” which means letter or document, and “vita” which means life. The name fit since we were building a solution to help manage the life of a document through a transaction, but the word “Cartavita” sounded like an imported kitchen appliance so we decided to shorten it to Cartavi. And thankfully the URL was available.

What’s been the best part about being involved with this company?
Honestly, the best part about being involved with Cartavi has been watching it grow. I’ve spent the better part of my professional career as a design and marketing consultant helping many businesses build their brands. As an entrepreneur, it’s a very rewarding experience to transform an idea into a successful business. What many people don’t know about Cartavi is that my co-founder and I bootstrapped the venture for over two years before raising our first round of financing from investors last October.

Last May, we joined the DocuSign family and now I’m excited to be a part of the next round of growth with Cartavi.

What’s the most surprising and/or gratifying response you’ve had from customers towards your product?
We often receive positive comments and praise from customers through our social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. The most gratifying are the stories that customers share about how Cartavi improved their business.

Here’s a “thank you” note we recently received from a broker in Boston.

“Just a little ‘love note’ to you to thank you, thank you, thank you for your product. As the Broker/Owner of my company, Boston Connect Real Estate, I don’t get a lot of free time to spend with family. This past weekend we had 90-degree weather and I took the afternoon off to go out on my boat with my husband and daughter. Of course I received a call on the way to the marina that an offer was coming in on one of my listings. I was able to negotiate the offer and get it signed and distributed through Cartavi and DocuSign ALL from the beach! I’ve been using your product since Inman New York and feel it is one of my “must have” tools for our mobile world of real estate. Thanks again.”

Why is the company located in Naperville?
Cartavi is located in Naperville because it proved to be the ideal location for both my partner and myself when we started the business. I live in Naperville and my partner lives nearby in Aurora which means we’re both only minutes away from our office. Running a business in the early days can demand a great deal of energy and time—a valuable resource that we didn’t want to waste in a daily commute to Chicago or another town. Our office is located on the north side of Naperville, making it convenient to access the interstates when we need to catch a flight or drive to the city for business.

What do you like about working in Naperville?
I like working in Naperville because it’s home.

Do you have any favorite locations, restaurants, or events you like to visit in Naperville?
Naperville is really one of the best places to live. It has all the amenities of a modern suburb including great stores, restaurants, entertainment and it also has a small town charm. Downtown Naperville and the Riverwalk are two of my favorite locations. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday with the kids.

About John Reh

I moved to Naperville in 1981 and I love this city. As a Naperville-focused real estate agent, I publish this website to promote our community and help current and soon-to-be residents discover the best of Naperville homes and lifestyle. Contact me at any time.

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