Skip to main content

Omaha Magazine

The VidaNyx Niche

Nov 28, 2022 08:14AM ● By Joel Stevens
VidaNyx CEO Sara Boyd

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

"Innovation is empathy turned into action.” The popular mantra of longtime Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sums up a corporate ethos that meets customers where they are, answering needs, sometimes even before they realize them.

The ability to understand and feel what others experience isn’t only critical to the work of multinational tech giants. It’s at play right here in Omaha, at tech start-up VidaNyx, a cloud-based video management solution for child advocacy centers and organizations that help victims of human trafficking and abuse. Founded in 2018, VidaNyx (pronounced Vee-DA-Nix) came about as the answer to a very particular problem: how to best archive and disseminate the recorded forensic interviews of sexual assault survivors. In short, a better way for the multidisciplinary teams dedicated to these survivors to preserve sensitive testimony, enable collaboration, and save valuable time and resources.

For years, the handling of forensic interviews has been largely analog. VHS tapes, then DVDs and flash drives, were copied and mailed, passing through countless hands. A survey conducted by the company in January showed two-thirds of forensic interviews are still processed and transferred as physical media. “Child advocacy centers record their forensic interviews so these children don’t have to recount that experience multiple times to all the different partners,” said Sara Boyd, CEO of VidaNyx. “However, the more copies you make, the more opportunities for mishandling or human error, or [for copies to be] intercepted for malicious intent.”

VidaNyx has made a name for itself digitizing these interviews. It put the sensitive files in the cloud—behind military-grade encryption—where access is strictly controlled and instantaneously available to parties that need them. The platform currently serves a network of more than 8,600 agencies across the country. To date, more than 115,000 forensic interviews have been protected. Customers report savings of up 90% of the total cost of forensic interview-sharing per case.

Just how VidaNyx happened has its roots in Omaha, in a series of roundtable meetings in 2017 arranged by Boyd, who was at the time director of the Omaha Community Foundation. Those gatherings matched area social services organizations and Seattle-based Giving Tech Labs. Founded by Shelly Kurtz and Luis Salazar in 2016, Giving Tech is an incubator aimed at bridging the innovation gap for public interest. “They wanted to interact with interesting thought leaders in the social sector who may have challenges technology may help address,” Boyd said of those meetings.

Housing, mentoring, and mental health access were big topics of discussion. Project Harmony, a leader in child protection and advocacy in Omaha for over two decades, had a strong presence in those meetings. They were already working on how to better streamline the forensic interview process when they crossed paths with Giving Tech. A year after those initial meetings, Giving Tech returned to market with its VidaNyx platform. Its very first client was Project Harmony. Shortly after, VidaNyx shifted its base of operations from Seattle to Omaha, and Boyd was tapped as the company’s first CEO.

Boyd downplayed her role in those early discussions.  “If anything, I was like match.com,” she joked about connecting agencies with the new technology. She wasn’t looking for a new job but felt she couldn’t turn down the chance to see what impact the start-up could have in a sector she long felt was starved for innovation. “It was a serendipitous thing,” she said. “And I loved the idea of bringing it back to Omaha and Nebraska and honoring Project Harmony, where it was born.”
The company staffed up in January 2020. They currently have 11 employees in a “virtual headquarters,” as Boyd called it, working remotely. Boyd doesn’t rule out a physical headquarters down the road.

Since setting up in Omaha, the VidaNyx platform has only seen its market share grow. The architecture built for the videos has broadened in utility and scope, from exclusively serving child advocacy centers to partnering with law enforcement. In the last year, the company has seen spikes in subscriptions in county attorney’s offices and across the legal spectrum that also deals with an inordinate amount of sensitive video evidence. Digital evidence that could be anything from recorded testimony and depositions to crime scene video. 

That the name VidaNyx is leading that charge with the same mission-based innovations thrown around in those 2017 roundtable meetings is somewhat ironic. “It’s mispronounced wrong all the time,” said Boyd of the company’s moniker. “They say Veeda-Nix or Vita-Mix, are you a blender company? But it’s a great conversation starter to talk about our mission orientation.” 

The name is largely credited to Kurtz, Giving Tech’s chief marketing officer, and derived from the Spanish word for life (vida) and the Greek protector goddess (Nyx).  “It’s a nod to that early goal of the software,” Boyd said. “To be able to support and protect the important stories that are a part of those children’s’ humanity and the trauma they’ve endured. It’s a good name.” Visit Vidanyx.com for more information.

This article originally appeared in the December 2022/January 2023 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

 

Omaha Magazine | Health & Wellness Issue Highlights | January 2023
Evvnt Calendar