7 Figure Funded UK Startup Zaptic Disrupts The Deskless Workforce

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Mila Budeva, Marketing Manager at Zaptic, explains the mission behind the productivity and collaboration startup & reveals the key factor for a motivated & successful deskless workforce:

How would you describe Zaptic in a few words?

Zaptic is the friendly productivity and collaboration solution for the deskless workforce. Zaptic brings all the information and tools required to perform daily activities into one intuitive, user-friendly mobile application, enabling the management and improvement of the execution of any deskless job, performed by anyone, on any device.

What inspired you to create Zaptic? How did it all start?

Zaptic is an evolution of a digital agency started by Richard Milnes, our CEO, at University. The agency worked with multiple blue chip consumer goods companies and started to see a common trend.

Although a lot is invested in digital transformations focused on customers and head office employees, there was little digital investment in operational excellence and operational people. We started Zaptic to close this gap, to bring the latest mobile, social, cloud and analytics technologies to the deskless workforce. Focusing initially on the consumer goods and retail vertical, we are looking to provide a solution in food service & facilities management as well as life sciences industries.

As you mentioned, you serve various industries, from retail and logistics to manufacturing and food. Do you see a trend in any of those industries having a higher demand than others? If so, why?

These industries all manage and rely on deskless workforces whose workplace experience has been marginalized in digital transformation efforts which have been mainly focused on head office operations and customer experience. The question common to all these industries is “How can the deskless employee experience be better structured and supported with the help of digital capabilities?”. And this is exactly where our services come in.

As an effect of a connected world, collaborative platforms are on the rise. What makes Zaptic stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

Traditionally, best practice knowledge is delivered in PDFs, employee handbooks or ‘standard operating procedure’ manuals. We bring all this into one place with the tools and information a worker uses every day. In enterprise software, we already have the ‘sales cloud’, ‘marketing cloud’, ‘creative cloud’ etc. – all solutions for head office employees. We have built a solution dedicated especially to the deskless workforce, where businesses manage and improve the execution of frontline activities.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We raised pre-seed money from Charlie Songhurst, former Microsoft VP, and Tom Tugendhat, former Military leader, now a Member of Parliament. Tom and Charlie have been an invaluable asset to the team so far. We recently completed our second round of seven-figure investment from Nicolas Berggruen, once tagged ‘the homeless billionaire’, and Hank Vigil, former SVP, Strategy and Partnerships at Microsoft.

Are you using the platform internally? How does that affect the viewpoints in the development team?

As a team, we are obsessed with building a very friendly, millennial generation app experience and have a big culture of dogfooding our product. One of the ways we do that is to create Zaptic processes for day-to-day activities. For example, we are using our software to manage our office, ensuring that standards are met daily. This way we can experience the product from the user’s point of view and continuously improve it.

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

Our biggest challenge has been to build a product which could lead in a saturated market. As a new player in the game, we have had a lot of catching up to do to ensure that we are offering a market leading platform. We dedicated a lot of time and effort to understanding users’ needs and to building a fast moving culture, allowing us to iterate and build much faster than others. Through rapid development, and with absolute dedication to a better deskless employee experience, we have been able to successfully face the challenge.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Zaptic?

Getting our first large enterprise customer is a happy, memorable moment for Zaptic as it validated our dedication and hard work. As part of our company culture, we find it just as important to celebrate all the daily moments behind any big success. The times we have worked together late, the hours spent at the drawing board, the small day to day victories have all given us a great sense of being a team and have provided the best motivation to keep pursuing our goals.

If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem – what would it be?

The key to any successful ecosystem is a full life-cycle of members. Diversity enables the development and retention of talent and motivates and supports startups in their learning and growth. It would be great to see more unicorn tech companies on the European startup stage and to encourage an active dialogue between them and more mature companies. Our team’s core belief is that no challenge is too big when shared and this could easily be applied to the whole startup ecosystem.

Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Don’t be afraid to embrace change and don’t let the challenges it brings deter you! At Zaptic, we undertook a considerable pivoting maneuver when we decided to move from being a digital agency to focusing on a product. In the process, we had to transform our development methodology and company culture and had to quickly build a new set of skills as an organization. So much to do and learn in so little time but as long as your team works together and shares the challenges, change is bound to be rewarding!



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