We had a chance to get some thoughts on follow-on investment from the founder and CEO of WorkPuls, Ivan Petrovic. What makes this follow-on investment special is that this company was one of our first investments then the fund got started. Now, nearly 4 years later, they successfully raised a new €420,000 round from South Central Ventures. The interview was conducted by Marko Crnjanski and was first published on Netokracija tech news portal.
What’s the WorkPuls‘ story? How did you come up with the idea to start this project?
Big data is something that has always interested us, especially when it comes to the human-computer relationship. In the previous startup, the product was intended for system administrators and was used to control remote computers. Then we became interested in the other side of the coin, and what kind of interaction the employees had with the computer. That’s how WorkPuls was born, as a program that gathers information about computer usage.
How many of you are currently on the team?
Our team has doubled in the past year, so it now has 14 members. Approximately 40% of the team is in charge of development, while the rest of the team is divided into marketing, sales and customer support.
Can you tell us more about the product itself?
WorkPuls’ solutions are used to monitor computer work at two different levels. The first monitors time spent on a particular task, while the next goes into depth and detects applications and sites that an employee uses or visits during that time. Employers and managers can designate these sites and applications as productive or unproductive, based on which WorkPuls measures the level of productivity of the team, individual or project.
Initially, the product was intended for widespread use, and virtually any firm, regardless of size and industry, could use it. Over time, we have learned that more and more corporations are beginning to allow employees to work from home occasionally, so we have been working on sector-specific improvements. In parallel, we have narrowed our focus to the industry to reach clients as easily as possible, and now we focus most on architectural companies, marketing and development agencies.
Product benefits include increased productivity, optimization of internal processes, as well as reduced project time. In addition, our products have proven to be useful in optimizing budgets, overtime pay, and other project-related matters.
We are also interested in how many active companies you have in the database so far and what is their feedback?
WorkPuls currently has just over 1000 paying users. Some are with us from the beginning, and we believe they will stay with us for as long as their companies exist. The feedback we received, whether positive or negative, always helped us in our further development of the products, so we tried to communicate with customers as much as possible, and we are really pleased with their comments, as well as the results it brought us.
So far, you have had two SCV investments. What is your secret and what qualities have you attracted to investors?
Four years ago, startups were able to get ideas-based investments, but this was no longer possible thanks to the services and tools available that made it easier to create different solutions.
What has attracted investors in both rounds is focus and results. And it is not that difficult to get investment if you can show that what you do produces good results.
How do you plan to use the funds received in the coming period?
Our plan is to focus on expanding in the markets we have already mentioned, but in order to succeed in this, we need to expand our team and business. So in the previous period, we hired new people and built a new version of the platform. Our online presence has grown along with us, so we are seeing constant organic growth. More and more companies are interested in our product, and our goal is to further develop customer success that will work for customer satisfaction and sales.
From a business perspective, how did you design your business model and what does product monetization look like?
The growth in the previous round was the basis for us to project a business model, which we have upgraded with what we have learned in the meantime about the market and clients, but also with certain assumptions that come with a larger budget and team. In this way, we were also able to project our potential growth.
Monetizing our product at this stage is very easy. We have two plans ($ 6 and $ 8), and the number of employees the employer tracks is multiplied by one of those two numbers.
Although there are already similar and competitive services in the wider market, what sets you apart from the rest?
Our market is more specific than it seems because unlike most competing companies, our product is not solely for timekeeping, but also for a deeper analysis of how that time was spent, thus managing to measure productivity and focus. This market is definitely smaller and from the beginning, our main advantage was a product that is simpler than the rest.
We have continued in this direction, trying to design this simplicity according to the needs of different industries, thus creating a product that suits them much more than any other competitor.
What are your plans for the future?
As our team expanded significantly in this round, we needed to better define processes and create a better team structure. We will continue to build the product in the direction of certain industries. In part, we are also dealing with R&D, which is in the background for now but is sure to come our way. As for the team, we are expanding over the current needs and the amount of work we expect.