Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sean Roach of Yukuri Talks about His Startup

Sean Roach of Yukuri Talks about His Startup

Where are you from originally?
Primarily suburban Philadelphia but I lived in a bunch of places growing up, including 6 years in Europe.

What university did you go to?
I received a BA in Economics from Vanderbilt University

What brought you to Austin?
My wife and I moved here in 2002 when I took a job with Dell building the partner network for their then new Managed Services division.

What is the idea behind your startup?
The modern workplace is undergoing tremendous changes right now but the available tools are not keeping pace. People are breaking from the confines of their cubicles but their information isn’t following. Companies need to provide younger workers with t00ls that leverage how they already interact and collaborate while at the same time retaining the skills and experience of workers preparing to retire.

At Yukuri we are looking to build the tools that enable individuals and teams to
leverage needed resources and information regardless of roles, departments, or geography.

What need does it fulfill?
It’s all about increasing productivity and decreasing waste by putting the right information in the right hands at the right time. A big piece of that is enabling companies utilize the knowledge, production, experiences, and connections resident within that organization and its members regardless of current role or location.

Companies that are able to capitalize on this will create a sustainable competitive advantage going forward.

What exactly does your product do?
Workstyle is a personal portal that enables users to work with the activities,
accomplishments, and knowledge of the entire organization. Users can quickly create custom workplaces by just dragging and dropping portlets already containing links to the resources they need to accomplish an assigned task. If they need one that doesn’t exist, the process for creating a new one can be as easy as copy and paste. The reporting process has also been automated so that management can keep abreast of what is going on in their organization
without slowing down groups with requests for status updates or briefings.

By enabling users to access all the information they need from a single place,
Workstyle eliminates fruitless searching and allows them to really start producing.

Who is it for?
Right now we are primarily targeting the Sales and Professional Services teams of small and medium businesses. The ROI around enabling these roles to produce more revenue is extremely compelling and a key part of our positioning. That said, we believe Workstyle can add significant value across all departments so we
Expect to see usage grow organically within customer accounts as well.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up a business?
Aside from the financial uncertainty that comes with going out on your own, I think the most challenging thing has been taking this grand vision and that was in my head and building it into something tangible that others can quickly grasp. It’s a constant battle to stay focused on building what customers need and will use rather than adding all the features and functions you think are cool.

What is the next step for you and your startup?
Increasing customer traction, refining the product, and expanding our team.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Stay flexible. You cannot predict the future so building flexibility into your thinking, finances, organization, and products provides you with the agility to respond and take advantage of the unexpected when it arises.

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?
I think the whole ecosystem around entrepreneurship that exists in Austin has been a huge help to us. People have been so generous with their time- providing advice and making introductions - it just blows me away. The assistance and guidance that is out there makes Austin a great place to be an entrepreneur.

Best regards,
Hall T.