The most exciting product birth stories are those begat from necessity.
Like many young entrepreneurs, Greg Artzt has been the spark behind several previous startups. Within both of his prior projects, (General Sentiment and Indavest), he managed highly virtual teams working at varying hours of the day.
“Having awareness of who was available or working on what was a major issue that resulted in poor real-time decision-making and inefficiency. I also had little understanding of the time each individual would spend on any particular project or task. This lack of visibility leads to an improper understanding of the costs and therefore value associated with any line of our business – particularly those with a significant service element.”
He and his partners were continuously left scratching their heads, unable to find a solution in the market that could meet their specific needs and volume.
“At the same-time, mobile consumer check-in applications were proving out a new social behavior that we identified could be applied to the enterprise to solve these three major problems: 1) Social Awareness. 2) Better mobile collaboration. 3) Easier time capture. And so, we started Punch.in.”
This impressive enterprise check-in service manages and connects mobile work forces. With innovations like these, this new technology quickly caught our eye:
- Live activity stream and notifications
- Direct-messaging, team chat, and shared notes
- Ability to capture time against selected work activities through manual and automated punches
We sat down with Greg at this year’s SEVC to discuss his company’s background, the spark for this app’s invention, and some quick thoughts on their VC approach:
What operational issues led you to create such a platform?
“We were faced with a plethora of problems: Who is working on what? Decision making complications… Impromptu meetings? What about the service side of biz? Not to mention issues with accountability, analytics, and HR allocation.”
What venues did you pursue before making your own solution?
“We simply could not find a product that met our needs and was enjoyable to use. Yammer didn’t quite cut it… group email had no mechanism for check-in. Even those big-name freelance mediation services were rough on analytics and accountability…not to mention the ridiculous service fees.”
At which point did you realize something needed to be done?
“With the energy advising on the side I was in charge of hundreds of mobile employees. After trying several different solutions there came a point in time where I had to ask myself…. where are the workers right now?”
How does this technology deal with accountability issues like for instance, someone drops by work to pick up something they left and ends up having a lengthy conversation with a co-worker? Since this application uses location services how can you be sure you’re not paying someone for say…bragging about their lawn?
“Hahaha I’m glad you asked that question. When an employee arrives at the automatic punch-in location (often the office or central base) the app presents them with a ‘pop-up’, requesting approval of the check-in. These check-ins, whether automatic or manual, can be easily checked against their approved work activities.”
Any sentiments on SEVC and your personal approach to presenting?
“SEVC is a great opportunity to spread awareness of our mission as a company… Choosing an investor is just as important as a VC’s choice to make an investment, so we enjoy this opportunity to establish relationships early in our development.”
Sounds like this company understands the commitment and integrity it takes to produce impressive results from investment funding. Look out for this powerful platform on the mobile markets in the following weeks. Just search for “Punch.in” on the app store.
The business model:
“The Punch.in mobile application and private punch company networks are indeed FREE. We charge only for access to our Administrative Dashboard, called PunchCentral.”