Careers at BetterWorks
BetterWorks’ mission is to help companies become operationally excellent while helping people reach their full potential at work.
Kris Duggan was the CEO of Badgeville, a gamification company. The firm had grown quickly since he founded it, to about 100 people. He wanted his employees to have an entrepreneurial spirit, and to take ownership of something. So he tasked them with identifying 3 – 5 goals they could work on to help drive organizational value. Duggan wanted the activity to be an open, collaborative one in which everyone could see each other’s goals. He sought personal software that could facilitate this process.
He did not have luck finding any on the market, so he decided to use PowerPoint in tandem with Chatter (a product from Salesforce). People were resistant to the system, finding it dry. At this point Duggan observed how different their response was to another company-wide effort. Badgeville had implemented a FitBit challenge in which staff competed to have the most steps within a given period of time. The workers were highly engaged with the contest and with its use of mobile apps. This led him to think there had to be a better way to get people excited about setting and managing goals.
Duggan came up with the idea for BetterWorks, software that would provide a fun way for people to create and address goals. He developed the concept with his colleague, engineer Di Wu. They decided that they should get feedback from potential customers. So they visited over 100 tech companies to interview executives and get a sense of the software features that would appeal to them. During this process 10 companies requested access to the product once it was complete.
The conversations helped Duggan and Wu build and refine a prototype, and eventually a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. They raised a lot of money based on investor interest – including $15 million in a Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2014. They worked on obtaining more clients, with their base rising to a couple hundred over two years. Many of these were high-growth firms with a lot of knowledge workers. These companies inputted their employees’ goals in the system, for people at all levels; the number of goals rose to the hundreds of thousands. Employees checked the system on a daily basis. BetterWorks now has several Fortune 500 clients.
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Benefits at BetterWorks
Business model of BetterWorks
BetterWorks has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customers. The company targets its solution at any organization that seeks goal management software for employees.
BetterWorks offers three primary value propositions: innovation, convenience, and brand/status.
The company offers innovation in the way its solution approaches goal management. The system monitors metrics such as daily active usage, weekly active usage, and monthly active usage to ensure that users are weaving their goals into regular work. This helps to ensure accountability. In addition, the solution uses data science to connect goals that seem related and provide recommendations.
The company’s product connects directly to customers’ day-to-day systems such as SalesForce, Slack, and Jira so that users to not have to log in to update their progress. If they accomplish something in a different system, the solution automatically adjusts to reflect this. The solution also allows users to do the following to make goal management easier:
- Visualize company-wide goal alignment at a glance (bottom-up, top-down, and cross-functionally)
- View goal progress by departmental reporting structure
- Receive real-time updates on personal goal progress in Slack
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. Its customers include AOL, GoPro, Upwind Solutions, Instructure, Lumeris, Schneider Electric, and American Family Insurance. Further, it had one of the first enterprise apps to be used for the much-hyped Apple Watch. Lastly, it has received a number of honors. In 2015 VentureBeat selected it as one of 19 startup firms “ready to blast off in 2015.“ The same year, Inc. Identified it as one of six “incredibly thought-provoking technology innovations“.
BetterWorks’ main channel is its direct sales team, through which it obtains most of its customers. The company promotes its offering through its website and social media pages. It is strongly considering using channel partners to assist with sales in the future.
BetterWorks’ customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website includes a “Resources” section featuring white papers, ebooks, case studies, videos, and webinars. That said, there is also a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
BetterWorks’ business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its enterprise customers.
BetterWorks does not appear to operate a formal partner program. One of its partnerships is with Management Action Programs (MAP), a consulting firm; the nature of the partnership has not been specified.
BetterWorks’ main resource is its proprietary software platform. It depends on human resources in the form of engineering employees, sales staff, and customer service staff for support. Its employee ranks include individuals from a wide range of innovative firms, including Amazon, Google, Box, Palantir, SalesForce, and Yammer. Lastly, as a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $35 million from 10 investors as of March 2016.
BetterWorks has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and administration, both fixed expenses.
BetterWorks has one revenue stream: the subscription fee it charges for access to its platform. The company charges customers $15 per user per month, providing volume discounts as the number of users increases. Most clients sign an annual contract, but there is a month-to-month option.
info: Kris earned an MBA with a concentration in Information Technology at the University of California, Irvine. He previously served as an Advisor at Addepar, RelateIQ, and Palantir Technologies, as well as the Founding CEO of Badgeville.
info: Di earned a B.A. in Computer Science and Economics at Cornell University. He previously served as a Software Developer at Palantir Technologies, where he built applications and app servers and worked on a new big data platform.
info: Ciara earned a B.A. at San Diego State University-California State University and an MFA in Advertising at Academy of Art University. She previously served as the Senior Director of Product Design and Senior Manager of Mobile User Experience at Salesforce.
info: Menaka earned a Master’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering and an MBA in Technology Marketing at the University of California. She previously served as the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Box and the Head of Product Management at Yahoo.
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