KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, with Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I am delighted to speak to three McGill students, soon to be alumni, that are doing a very interesting startup. I’m delighted to speak to Sebastian Dragnea, Charles-Edouard Desmarais and Brian Luong this morning.
So what is the product you guys are marketing?
CHARLES-EDOUARD DESMARAIS – We do employee scheduling for the retail and restaurant space. It allows managers to communicate effectively with their employees and overall reduce time for scheduling and increase the efficiency of your business.
KARL MOORE – Why do servers like it?
CHARLES-EDOUARD DESMARAIS – Employees love it because it facilitates their changes in shifts and just makes their lives a lot easier as they log into the portal and make those changes for time off or whether it would be for their daily schedule.
KARL MOORE – Where did this idea come from, the idea of scheduling for retail and for restaurants?
BRIAN LUONG – We have always wanted to work on a business together, so we got together at the beginning of last year and brainstormed a few ideas. One of them that came up was this one. We basically heard a friend who had a lot of issues working in retail, doing their schedules and changing their schedules, so we decided to create scheduling software that would help people do that.
KARL MOORE – How did you decide whether that was needed ... how did you look at the marketplace to see that a product like this was needed?
BRIAN LUONG – Once we realized there might be a need we actually went out into the marketplace and interviewed over 50 businesses to figure out what they were currently doing for their scheduling solution, and what they were planning on doing. What we realized was that most businesses actually used pen and paper, or [Microsoft] Excel, to do their scheduling. So at that point we figured there would be a great need for a Web-based scheduling product.
KARL MOORE – How many ideas did you guys look at before you settled on this one? Was it dozens?
CHARLES-EDOUARD DESMARAIS – We definitely sat down and thought about many ideas but scheduling really stuck out to us. It was a very unsaturated market and we knew that we could succeed in it.
KARL MOORE – So Sebastian, you looked at dozens of ideas before you settled on this one, where did they come from?
SEBASTIAN DRAGNEA – So we spent a lot of time talking amongst ourselves, coming up with any ideas we could, and then once we came up with some ideas we could go and validate them in the marketplace, so speaking to as many people in those businesses as possible. We found that a lot of our best ideas ended up coming from potential customers that we spoke to by hearing about what they really need and then coming up with solutions to their problems.