Startup of the Day – Fridaynoon

The company of the day is Fridaynoon LLC, based in the US. Fridaynoon, LLC is a full service training provider. You will find below an interview with Steve Allen, co-founder of Fridaynoon, LLC. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!


Interview with Steve Allen, co-founder of Fridaynoon, LLC.

Who are you?

Fridaynoon, LLC is a full service training provider whose pride and joy is TSConX (pronounced TS Connects), our all-in-one platform for authoring, publishing and tracking online learning.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?

Since TSConX is built entirely on Microsoft technology, we are delighted to be featured. The .NET framework is at the core of TSConx, and includes:

1. A windows form desktop application for authoring courses

a. The .Net Web Browser control is used as a base for the user interface to give the user a true WYSIWYG while authoring.

b. The application is a Smart Client to allow seamless communication with the web server

c. Custom server and application controls were created to provide automatic, silent updates of the software

2. website for the learning management portal

a. The site utilizes the Net Membership and hosts multiple learning portals on a single installation of the code

3. SQL Server 2005 provides the back end for account management, reporting, tracking students’ progress, site customization preferences, and other features of the system.

4. Web Services provide the communication link between the authoring tool and the website

5. Web Extensions provide, among other things, ftp capabilities to upload images, windows media files, course files (aspx files), and other vital course resources.

6. We are currently researching Silverlight to see how it could benefit the experience of both authors and learners. We are obviously big fans of Microsoft and are proud to be featured on BizSpark.

What did you do before creating your company?

Steve Allen and Paul Evanson are co-founders of Fridaynoon, LLC.

Steve has been writing software for over 20 years. He was a key developer for the highly successful educational software, HyperStudio. He spent a number of years as Technology Manager for a major telecommunications company in Bellevue, WA., and he’s been a very busy independent developer.

Paul, MAEd., has spent the last 30 years creating training systems for fast growth, multi-location companies such as Starbucks Coffee, Westin Hotels, Cinnabon, Car Toys and Tommy Bahama.

How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?

We have been involved with computer-based and online delivery of education for years. From our own experience we know that all companies, especially multi-location companies, face some common challenges:

o How do we achieve consistent employee performance across broad geographical areas?

o How can we reduce the high expense of training associated travel costs?

o How can we verify that learning is taking place?

o We believe online learning is at least part of our solution but how can we justify the typically high up-front costs?

o How do we launch an online training initiative without adding to our already over-burdened IT workload?

TSConX answers all of these questions and much, much more. We listened to our clients, verified the issues and built the solution, TSConX.

What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?

Fridaynoon, as a total solution training company, offers many services from needs assessment and instructional design to direct training and train-the-trainer based delivery systems.

Regarding TSConX, our flagship product, our mission is to make easy, affordable and impactful online learning available to EVERYONE. (No big deal, right?)

What is your market?

So far we have focused on the corporate market. That market is truly as broad as it seems because virtually any company that has employees and/or customers needs TSConX. We have clients that utilize TSConX for their employees, for their customers and for both.

We are excited about discussions we are having with academic product distributors. We think that teachers and students will love TSConX. We would enjoy nothing more than to make a significant impact on the world of education.

Any clients? References? Partners?

The size, industry and nationality of our clients vary widely. Some of those clients are:

o Follett Higher Education Group

o Nuova Simonelli

o Janicki Industries

o EA Brevita

o Christ the King Community Church

Funding history? VCs? BA?

To date we have built our company from our own, hard-earned cash flow. Would we entertain funding partners? Yes, if they bring clear value to our mission.

Growth? Internationalization?

We are currently talking with potential domestic clients as well as companies in China, Turkey, Korea, Italy and Cyprus.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

We currently have 3 employees, over 30 subcontractors and 2 fulltime developers.

Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?

To this point our strategy clearly has been to use sub contractors whenever possible. We are always looking for people who can embrace our vision and contribute.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

As mentioned before, our software is nearly 100% Microsoft technology. We use a other popular technologies such as jQuery for client script and YouTube for embedded video, to name a couple.

Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?

Yes. To our knowledge, there are no solutions which give non-technical users the ease of developing online training as TSConx. And, the cost for a company or group to get started in online learning with TSConX is so much less - others are not even in the ballpark.

Who’s your role model?

Our vision of changing the way corporations train knowledge workers made us realize we did not want to emulate any of the existing offerings. From a pure and traditional training standpoint Robert Mager has been a strong influence because of his clear, concise, no-frills, results-oriented approach to training. We are also big fans of Steve Krug and his “Don’t Make Me Think” philosophy, and we strive to make our software reflect that.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?

With high-speed internet so rapidly becoming available, the ability to use rich media in online learning is truly more viable today than it ever has been. Clearly our focus is online learning, however we’ve recently been finding new purposes for our software in the area of interactive marketing, innovative ecommerce solutions, and social networking, to name a few.

Looking for funding? If yes, how much?

We understand that funding would accelerate our velocity and possibly open new opportunities. Per my earlier response, yes, we would entertain investors IF they embraced our vision.

What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?

Typically we are not ‘joiners’ but we are members of the BizSpark program. So far we are blown away by the generosity of Microsoft and are hopeful about the program.

Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?

Do your homework upfront to be certain that a need exists and the specifics of that need BEFORE you do anything else. Software is just lines of code unless it produces observable value in the real world of business.

Anything else you’d like to say?

We are very excited about our new JumpStart program which is designed to make it easy and affordable for companies to get into the world of online learning. We have a 2 ½ minute video that presents the JumpStart program and the link for that video is below.

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