Our tech start-up of the week is Galway-based Mission Possible, a software as a service (SaaS) reward and recognition platform that allows businesses to reward good workers.
“We're a SaaS employee reward and recognition platform which is harnessing peer to peer communities to create not only happier, more productive and engaged staff, but to also drive local economy for SMEs,” explained Mission Possible's founder Tara Dalrymple.
“It’s there for companies to buy credit for their staff to have personal tasks completed for them whilst they are working such as cleaning, dog walking, food shopping, errand running, sourcing trusted tradespeople, waiting in for deliveries and more.
“We believe that the current job market is inflexible; we will be getting local communities to undertake projects and by doing so create liquidity in the job market and get people working.”
Dalrymple explained that while money is still tight it does not mean firms can’t still provide incentives for their staff.
“In a competitive business climate, more business owners are looking at improvements in quality while reducing costs. Meanwhile, a strong economy has resulted in a tight job market.
“So while small businesses need to get more from their employees, their employees are looking for more out of them. Employee reward and recognition programmes are one method of motivating employees to change work habits and key behaviours to benefit a small business.
“For many workers in Ireland, the idea of benefits is probably limited to health insurance, some paid maternity leave and above-average holiday time. However, more and more companies are going to great lengths to recruit talented employees – and keep them from jumping ship to competitors.
“An increasingly important part of the equation is benefits,” Dalrymple explained.
Mission Possible’s clients include corporations in ICT, hospitality, transport, manufacturing, financial services, consumer products and pharmeacuiticals.
“Employee reward and recognition programmes are cost-effective and valuable tools that raise employee morale and lower stress, absenteeism and turnover.
“Taking a social approach to rewards and recognition drives significant advantages by improving workforce engagement, impacting on business outcomes, quality of service, customer retention, operational efficiency, revenue and profitability,” she said.
Dalrymple has strong roots in multinationals and well known household brands. She has a varied and wide breath of experience across different industries from IT consultancy to finanacial PR.
At Staniforth PR, She worked in B2C PR for clients Volvic and M&S. At Dorling Kindersley Tara worked in marketing and PR on clients such as Carol Vorderman, Lego and the George Lucas team at Star Wars.
At Financial Dynamics she worked in financial PR with clients such as Lastminute.com.
Dalyrymple also worked as an IT consultant at Lepus concentrating on banks.
At M&S she worked in licensing and kidswear with for Warner Brothers, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Hasbro and Victoria and David Beckham.
For the last 11 years she has been the managing director of her first business Busy Lizzie, a back office solutions outsourcing company with offices in Ireland, UK and Malta.
Dalyrmple explained that Mission Possible is building a beta site with a two-sided business model aimed at users and providers.
“Service providers sign up within a chosen geographical area, and choose categories of projects they wish to undertake. They undertake a multi-stage verification process before being accepted onto platform.
“Companies assign credits to their staff through an admin facility. Users post tasks which is geo-location driven, which gets pushed out through to providers based on location and category.
She said that social media APIs will be used to push requests through various platforms and users and providers are matched.
One the project is undertaken for the user payment is released.
Dalyrmple added that gamification of the service will be built into future releases.
Dalrymple said that the ultimate goal is to roll out the platform throughout EMEA, UAE, America and Australasia to co-create happy and productive workplaces.
The company is making progress and recently signed up a large client based in Galway and Dublin.
“We are in beta at present, we just secured €10,000 funding through the IEDR Optimise Fund and are in the process of fine-tuning our roadmap. We are at a really exciting phase in development.
“We are also rebranding, we have found a truly great company in Galway, iSpeakEnglish wh are working with us on identity, logo and UX.
“Once the beta goes live, we will be looking for investment. Internationalisation is a huge opportunity for us, and have been accepted onto the Google and Bank of Ireland Enterprise Programme recently.
“Earlier this year we were chosen as one of 300 European companies to be accepted onto European incubation project Transition. The scheme supports the scaling-up of social innovations across Europe, and is coordinated by the European Business & Innovation Centre Network.”
Fine-tuning is worth the pain
A key piece of advice Dalrymple has for fellow start-ups is to check that your IP is secure early on and avoid costly mistakes.
She also had mentors who challenged her to perfect her offering, resulting in the business plan changing three times during one quarter.
“I have great mentors who really challenged me, and as a result have created a fine-tuned and more profitable model. At the time though, it really hurt my head.
“Being a women in tech is still an issue, but there are some sassy and determined women out there who are making many inroads.
“Being in tech in Ireland at present is a very exciting space to be in. There are some amazing incubator programmes out there, and the theoretical and practical support opportunities for start-ups is growing daily.
“All this coupled with EMEA HQs throughout the island, is truly putting Ireland on the map as a growing destination hotspot.”
Dalrymple’s advice to other start-ups in Ireland:
- Create an advisory board and ask them targeted questions
- Write a one page business plan, challenge it and update regularly
- Get people on-board early on for support i.e friends, family, ex-colleagues. “Creating a start-up is a long (and often painful) process, you need people behind you to pep you up, and get you back on track.”
- If you have a family, get childcare in place, it really does make a huge difference
- If you are a visual person, create a mood board near your desk. “Fill it with how you want your business to look, offices you like, branding etc. it always focuses me on what I am working hard for.”
- Use LinkedIn groups to ask questions and offer advice