Over the course of the next 90 days, Built In Denver will be touring digital startups across the Front Range and profiling them here. Each Tuesday, we'll publish a roundup of the companies visited during the previous week and individual profiles of each company.
One of the first stops on our Startup Tour was GoSpotCheck, based out of Galvanize. We visited with CEO and Co-Founder Matt Talbot, and Sam's dog, Ninja. The company was Co-Founded by Samantha Holloway, CSO, and Joey Alfano, CMO.
Give us the basic rundown - what does GoSpotCheck do?
We help businesses with a big retail presence understand more of what’s happning in their stores by tapping their employee base. We equip employees with a moble app where they can record what’s happening in the store in real time. This creates more transparency within the organization, which can help to improve processes, and increase the consistency of experiences within their store or business.
How did this concept come about? Was this the problem you initially set out to solve?
No, actually. We set out to do something different. Originally, we came up with a model where they were getting the same type of data, but through the mystery shopping market, crowdsourcing that. The ideas was that anyone could do it - patrons, mystery shoppers, etc. could go into a store, record the experience, send the data to the company, and would get paid a small amount for it.
What we found was that there were some data problems with the crowd - people didn’t always understand the nuances and that resulted in bad data. Even though what we were doing is a lot less expensive than a traditional mystery shopper, it’s only incrementally lower, so there wasn't quite enough of a benefit to make companies take action quickly.
But, employees already have it in their workflow, just in the form ofa lot of paper-based and internet portal recording. So now the big difference is that we remove the friction and improve the quality of the data collection. Businesses definitely see the value in that.
So how are things going?
Well! We launched a new version at the end of November with a top-50 service restaurant. We've launched more companies in a beta version, and will be doing a full new launch on April 1st.
Exciting stuff. Sounds like the team might be expanding - for people who might think about applying, how would you describe your company culture?
In general, it’s a very collaborative environment. We believe in bringing people in on things even if it’s not their role, because they might have a different perspective.
In that vein, we have team dinners every Monday, during which we review the past week, look at this week, do a kudos session. It's really important to us as a team to be very transparent and really give credit where credit’s due.
What do you think has been the greatest contributor to your success so far as a company?
Cadence is critical. It’s really hard to do anything if you don’t have a strong cadence around goals, when they’re going to get done, how you’re going to talk about it. Have a schedule that you naturally fall into – so that people know when they can talk about whatever's going on. For us, that's the Monday dinner. If you do it ad hoc, you’re never going to get the same level of participation or engagement. You have to give people the opportunity to do what they want and let them help determine how they can add value. If someone has an idea and wants to jump on a project, let them do that. They’re going to get to know the business better and you'll both get more out of it.
As a startup you have to focus on leverage all the time – you will never have enough resources or time. So you have to focus on small things that will have a big impact, and how you can remove barriers.You really just have to get stuff done, and then worry about perfecting it later.
Final question: Why did you choose to start up in Denver?
Well, I grew up here and Sam has lived here for 8 years. It's just a place that felt like home for us, especially after we did TechStars in Boulder. We like the energy and how much there is to do. The tech scene here is growing and Denver has this awesome opportunity to grow and become this hotspot. We want to be part of that.