Nicky Szmala and Mike Daugherty met at iWeekend 2010, in Beijing. Over the course of the iWeekend event Nicky and Mike worked on a project idea to meet the needs of traveling expats and their belongings. While the iWeekend project quickly hit a dead end, they continued to stay in touch and now more than 15 months later they are working together for their company: Acheev.it
Following iWeekend, Nicky began work at the Founder Institute in Singapore where he started to work on the idea that is now Acheev.it. Soon after, Nicky introduced the concept to Mike and after a lot of idea development and meetings they decided to partner together in October, 2011. Over the span of 6 months since they first discussed the idea they were able to find an initial customer, develop the initial product and gain interest from potential investors.
Throughout the idea development process, Mike remained cautious about continuing to pursue the start-up but after several months he was convinced by the opportunity and eager to take on the challenge. Nicky’s main concern for undertaking a start-up was met as he sought a highly technical partner; and Mike fits the bill. Additionally, he appreciated Mike’s caution for moving forward until all the barriers were removed before jumping into the business.
Acheev.it was founded with the idea of increasing worker motivation and ultimately companies bottom line. The company’s version 1 software attempts to accomplish this goal by combining 3 factors:
- Game mechanics- allow employees to pursue sales goals in the same way a videogame or board game player reaches certain levels in games.
- Social feedback- business colleagues and direct bosses can view employees progress, and offer instant positive feedback and suggestions for improvement
- Performance analytics- allows for the breakdown of sales information to provide employees with valuable information to increase efficiency and effectiveness
These 3 factors give Acheev.it its competitive advantage over some of its competition that offers only data input for sales departments. Instead of just data input, Acheev.it seeks to offer a step-by-step product that will also inform and teach employees as well as provide instantaneous social feedback for yearly/monthly/weekly/daily sales performance. “The result of these factors will increase sales and boost companies bottom line,” say Nicky.
Acheev.it’s version 1 software has now been in development for 2 and half months and its rollout date is scheduled for March 19. Additionally, Acheev.it has an agreement with Mig33 (the world’s leading mobile and web community, based in Singapore) to have its international sales department use Acheev.it’s software as a trail to determine what components help sales people sell better and if any adjustments can be made to increase the products value. The company is initially targeting customers with sales teams of 8-30 people and has short/repeatable sales cycles.
Nicky and Mike have experienced challenges with Acheev.it over the last 9 months. As with every other bootstrapped start-up, Nicky and Mike need to carefully manage expenses in order to thrive in the market. Additionally, they have experienced the difficulty of getting the attention of international investors outside of China.
Currently, Acheev.it is focusing its effort to complete the version 1 software for the March 19 rollout. The company has also started to seek out investors that can provide capital, industry experience and additional connections to quickly grow the business after its first version.
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