A Q&A with ShiftPlanning founder and CEO Ryan Fyfe. The San Francisco–based company was founded in 2011 and raised $1 million in Series A funding in early August. Investors include Point Nine Capital.
SUB: Please describe ShiftPlanning, and the value proposition you bring to human resources.
Fyfe: ShiftPlanning is a web-based workforce management platform. ShiftPlanning helps businesses increase productivity and employee job satisfaction while reducing costs. This is largely achieved by moving these processes into the cloud where the communication and activity is centralized, improving efficiency by making sure that everyone always has access to the latest information, wherever they are.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Fyfe: Any business that has employees.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Fyfe: ShiftPlanning is up against a number of large established businesses such as ADP and Kronos, as well as a number of smaller, and newer, companies essentially in each core section of our platform—for example employee scheduling.
SUB: What differentiates ShiftPlanning from the competition?
Fyfe: Our focus on the bigger picture of workforce management versus individual components such as scheduling and time and attendance, as well as our efforts to create a non-industry or niche specific platform.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Fyfe: Development on ShiftPlanning started in early 2010, and ‘ShiftPlanning’ officially as a company was formed in 2011. We took a very early version of our production to market to start gathering feedback, and market traction.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for ShiftPlanning? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Fyfe: The idea for ShiftPlanning was conceived in 2009 after I discovered that the majority of businesses were still using pen and paper, excel, etc. to manage their staff schedules. After researching in more detail what competition was available, and why even though with the existence of these other products the majority of businesses were still using very outdated methods, I set out to build what ShiftPlanning is today.
SUB: ShiftPlanning was used to coordinate volunteers during the London Olympics—how did this partnership come about? What effect has this exposure had on your business?
Fyfe: The Olympic Volunteer relationship initially came to us by them finding us online. They reached out to us early this year and were running trials with four companies—of which ShiftPlanning was one—and selected ShiftPlanning as the clear leader in terms of the application capabilities, support and cost. This exposure had a very positive effect on our business, especially over the past several weeks, as we have had a number of event organizations reach out to us to inquire about our solutions.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Fyfe: Our initial product when ShiftPlanning went online was our employee scheduler. Shift-based businesses have a higher level of need for an employee scheduling application, coupled with the easy to spell and remember domain name, and the fact that it was available directly, as in not through a domain reseller.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Fyfe: Raising the initial venture funding was a major obstacle and milestone, and we’re now essentially in scaling mode—by this I mean that it’s less about obstacles, and working through growing pains as our company and processes work to keep pace with our growth.
SUB: You recently raised $1 million in Series A funding. Why was this a good time to raise this round, and how do you plan to use the new funds?
Fyfe: We’re on a very healthy growth path, have a clear market opportunity ahead of us, but most importantly we have solid fundamentals. This makes pitching to investors easy as there is too much money chasing too few good ideas. We’re using this funding to accelerate growth particularly in product development at a pace that we wouldn’t normally be able to achieve under organic growth.
SUB: Do you plan to raise additional funding in the near future?
Fyfe: Too recent to our current fund closing to discuss.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Fyfe: ShiftPlanning charges a monthly fee to our clients based on account size.
SUB: What are your goals for ShiftPlanning over the next year or so?
Fyfe: Our focus is on becoming the market leader in workforce management.
ShiftPlanning – www.shiftplanning.com