April Seggebruch of Movista believes success entails not just a great product but happy employees.
The firm she co-founded with Stan Zylowski seems to be succeeding on both levels. Movista is this month’s featured Innovate Arkansas client in Arkansas Business.
Below, April provides a little extra on what it’s like to have employees to manage, trying to create a great work environment for those employees, the next funding round and more.
Readers may remember Movista as Merchant View, and Merchant View remains the company’s retail tracking software product. But as the firm looks to expand into other areas, such as pharmaceuticals and energy, a corporate name change seemed appropriate.
April and Stan have come a long way since hatching the idea for Movista while working toward their MBAs at the UA’s Walton Business College in 2010.
Here’s more from April that we weren’t able to get in the AB piece this week:
In 2012, Movista went from you and Stan to 18 employees. What’s it like to actually manage people?
Having gone from zero to 18 employees in a year has been exhilarating. We think the trick to employees is picking the right ones to begin with. We ask them to give us 100 percent effort, and in return we do everything in our power to make this the greatest place on earth to work. If we don’t all hang together we will most certainly hang separately, so we focus on giving people space to do their jobs and celebrating their successes.
Tell us about your home office.
Our office is about two blocks from the Bentonville square. We converted a historic home built in 1906 into our headquarters — the old garage is now a spacious tech center with a wiffle ball field in the back yard. It suits our needs and personalities perfectly and allows us to be integrated into the community. Before the renovations started we took a vote, “Who wants to move to a ‘regular office space’ and who wants to stay here and renovate?” At that time it was pretty rough with five employees forced to find any flat surface to set a computer or a desk. The vote was unanimous to stay.
Still raising money?
We are completing a round raise now and are likely done with angel raises. We expect to be cash flowing in Q1 2013 and any future capital needs are likely to come in the form of debt or as a major growth round. We can foresee 24-month sales growing 20x and cash flows can get hairy in those scenarios, but we have fantastic options and are quite comfortable.
Explain the name change.
Movista is our corporate name today and going forward. We moved away from our original name, Merchant View, to better position ourselves to markets outside of retail. Because our first product, MVRetail, has met wide acceptance, we are staying with that nomenclature — MVRx for pharmacy, MVNrg for the energy sector, etc. Those of us who have been around a while certainly still use MV as shorthand, but Movista is the proper name. We’re excited about the doors it opens.
You started this with Stan. What are your specific roles and titles now?
Stan is the “president” and I am the “vice president of operations.” Mostly, we introduce ourselves as co-founders. The reality is we both take out the trash, recruit employees, make sales calls and raise capital. The biggest difference between Stan and me is, given his title, he has to mind his manners a bit more than me.