Many believe technology has the real potential to have a huge positive impact on people’s lives, including Bulent Osman, founder and CEO of technology and app development company StaffConnect.
Osman decided he wanted to build a company that could help organizations function better to deliver a better service to employees, and teams.
I spoke with Osman to find out what led to his move into entrepreneurship, how the company got off the ground, and how he has successfully expanded his company with the right team and unique ideas.
What made you decide to start StaffConnect, and what persuaded you to take the leap?
I wanted to build a company I could be proud of. I have always had a passion for emerging technology and solving business problems with cutting edge innovation. This has been reflected throughout my career with roles at Microsoft, JD Edwards and Cap Gemini.
I believe that the opportunity from mobile and apps can revolutionize communication and interaction for users, customers, employers, brands and employees, and has the potential to bring significant value and enhanced experiences to all parties.
Why did you decide to focus on corporate clients?
We wanted to create app solutions that positively impact people’s lives, and there is a real opportunity to do that in enterprise.
We saw a gap in the market to create an app that helps business leaders communicate more effectively with their employees, particularly those who aren’t office-based or don’t have access to company email accounts or intranets. This led to our mobile-first internal communications app platform, StaffConnect, that connects dispersed workforces, making them feel more involved in the business. Ultimately this helps to increase employee engagement, and their loyalty to the company – which has a positive impact on their happiness at work and productivity.
What has been your biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenges by far have been talent and funding. We had a fast growing tech business, but urgently needed the right team for the job. We found ourselves under increasing pressure to develop the perfect product as customer demand increased, so we needed developers with the right experience. We networked heavily and I reached into my contact book from my previous career to build relationships and find the perfect people who would fit into StaffConnect’s team.
When it came to funding, the challenge was not just to find investors, but the right type who share our passion and vision for the company, and would also bring relevant experience to the company. To this day I believe that it was our passion, vision and enthusiasm that gained the recognition investors were looking for in a business.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Our most exciting achievement was the recent opening of the office in San Francisco and signing our first U.S.-based client. This put us well on the way to creating the company that we always dreamed of, with a wonderful culture and a truly inspiring team.
If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice before you started out, what would it be?
I would have advised myself to have a greater singularity of purpose. One of the great things about being a startup is the flexibility of the business – you can choose the opportunities you address, but that can distract you from your initial purpose. If you stay focused on your main goal, you can then look to other exciting things in the future. I would also say that it’s important to be able to say no with confidence. Don’t be afraid or shy away from opportunities that will take you away from your main task.
You say you’ve recently opened an office in San Francisco. How do you think this will affect the business?
The opportunity for StaffConnect is huge, particularly in the U.S. We have secured our first American customer and we are getting significant interest from other large enterprise businesses. It is important for us to meet this demand and it is vital to connect and build strong relationships with prospective customers. A presence in San Francisco is paramount to capitalize on the opportunity that is available in this market.
Where do you see StaffConnect three years from now?
I want StaffConnect to be a market leader in internal communications apps. I hope to establish many more offices around the globe and a roster of big brand clients that we can be proud of.
You can check out StaffConnect on Twitter at @StaffConnectApp.