The BizSpark startup of the day is Teamly, based in the UK. Below you will find an interview with Scott Allison, Founder and CEO of Teamly. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the founder & CEO of Teamly. As I’m not a developer I do everything else: working on product, publicity, marketing, finance, customer service and business development.
What did you do before creating your company?
I was co-founder of an award-winning business telecoms operator, abica, based in Scotland. I learnt so much as managing director there, differentiating ourselves in a crowded market primarily through ensuring we had quality people and an approach of total commitment to customer service.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It’s a great honour! I’ve met a lot of businesses in the Bizspark programme and the standard is very high.
What is your company’s mission?
It’s to help businesses be more successful by making their people more aligned and effective. Ultimately I want Teamly to be the leading online provider worldwide of team management software.
How did you get the idea for your company?
While growing my last company I was looking for a better way to manage my team, encourage them to focus, encourage more independence and less micro-management. I heard about using priority setting (see this blog), and found it worked. After leaving that company I was searching for an idea and felt that making people management better would be a great objective for a SaaS product.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We are bootstrapping and self-funded. Since launching a beta in July we’ve picked up thousands of users, and learnt about the demand and opportunity in this space. We’re therefore looking for a seed round to take Teamly into a full commercial product with a repeatable scalable sales model. We’re looking for $400,000.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
There is just me and one developer. Closing a seed round will enable us to continue working on Teamly full-time and speed up development, for example, taking it to other platforms.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
We’re not hiring currently, but hopefully will later in 2011.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Teamly has been built using Ruby on Rails and SQL. Primarily it’s because my original collaborator on Teamly favoured Ruby for its speed of development. I know a lot of startups like us that never made a deliberate decision, and just went with the developer’s preference!
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
The move from desktops and installed software, to SaaS and the cloud has started but still has a long way to go. Startups that can innovate, solve tricky problems and make businesses lives easier will do well.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Microsoft is the most successful software company in the world, but just 35 years ago they were a startup too. So far Teamly has benefitted from the Bizspark Summit which I attended in London. That was inspirational and I met some great people, and it’s always people that ultimately make the difference. We’ve also benefitted from access to Microsoft’s resources including the free software, which is the icing on the cake!
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
First of all, stop thinking, just get on with it and launch something! Stay lean, iterate quickly and get to know your users. Always keep things moving forward as fast as possible; you have to grow as quickly as possible. Make decisions and take action, don’t worry about doing the wrong thing. Action beats inaction, always.
Who’s your role model?
Strangely enough it’s Warren Buffett, one of the most technophobic people on the planet! [It was only because he wanted to play bridge online with his friend, Bill Gates, that he eventually bought a PC.] Buffett is a role model because of his approach to people and business and the way he values the people that work for him, and his down-to-earth wisdom. I like his motto to only do business with people that he “likes, trusts and admires”. I was lucky enough to meet both Buffet and Gates a few years ago in Omaha, a day I’ll never forget!
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
Teamly is currently free, and useful both for individuals managing their priorities and goals, and to businesses managing people. Sign up free online at Teamly.com.