[Editor's note: GeekWire is running a series of profiles on the startups participating in this year's TechStars Seattle incubator program. Check back each day at 1:30 p.m. for a new profile, leading up to Demo Day on Nov 1.]
There’s no shortage of online tools to help workers collaborate online and work more efficiently.
But Nada Aldahleh believes her new startup, Sandglaz, stands out from the long list of competitors. Among other things, Sandglaz’s productivity tools allow users to automatically receive email reminders for meetings and deadlines as well as automatically schedule tasks important to the team.
Here’s more from Aldaleh, who notes that the company’s goal is to help small teams conquer to-do lists and collaborate in new ways.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “For small high performance teams, Sandglaz is a simple way to collaborate and plan.”
Inspiration hit us when: “My Co-Founder, Zaid Zawaideh, was managing a team at CIBC bank and looking for an agile way to collaborate and plan his teams activities. He tried task lists but they had no planning capabilities, and tried gantt charts which have too much overhead. This is when he realized there is a gap in the market for teams like his. There is no simple fast way for small high performance teams to collaborate and plan. So he brought the idea to me. I have extensive experience in agile methodologies for software development teams. I loved the idea, I have a lot of experience in this area, and so I was in.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “With getting into TechStars we got $120,000.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We have insight on how small high-performance teams actually work. We’ve been part of many and have led several. We know how important productivity and agility is. We’re familiar with their workflow and have created an app that works with them rather than enforces a workflow on them.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Focus on the customer’s needs.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Not seeking a bigger network of mentorship in the past. We’re happy to be a part of the TechStars network now.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Jobs. He’s a product genius.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “It already started. Simplified planning is our first step in the collaboration industry. We already have a product and traction. Our customers already love it. So, we’ll keep iterating, keep improving, and keep growing.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We have insight into this market and we execute well; our product is top rated on the Google Chrome Webstore.”
We are truly unique because: “Sandglaz tells you and your team what you should work on next without asking for extra information like task priorities, dates and time estimates. We’re the only app that allows you to plan with no extra overhead.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “The guts to start. When we started we didn’t know much about startups and didn’t know anyone in the startup industry; our families and friends thought we were crazy. We still thought we had a good idea and the right team, so we jumped right in.”
What is the most important thing you learned at TechStars: “I’ve got a lot of help and feedback on positioning. Positioning is key, so this is going to make a big difference for us.
What was your most memorable moment in TechStars: “There isn’t a single moment. There has been many highs and many lows. I enjoy sharing experiences with other teams. I enjoy learning new things everyday. It’s been an awesome experience. I feel lucky to have this opportunity.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Learn fast, and iterate fast. Most importantly keep at it, you’ll have high days and low days, just don’t give up.”
Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send photos of the founder(s) and company logo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past profiles can be found here.