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5 Questions with Kevin Grauman, CEO of RoundPegg [Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo. :: ]
[April 20, 2014]

5 Questions with Kevin Grauman, CEO of RoundPegg [Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo. :: ]

(Daily Camera (Boulder, CO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 20--Earlier this year, Boulder startup RoundPegg, a developer of software to help measure employee culture and engagement, hired human resources industry veteran Kevin Grauman to serve as the firm's chief executive officer.

In Grauman's first three months at the helm, the 17-person RoundPegg shifted its marketing approach and has put a broader focus on scaling operations.

RoundPegg sells software aimed at helping companies evaluate their culture, retain employees and identify potential workforce effects in merger-and-acquisition situations.

RoundPegg, Grauman says, very well could be a 150-employee firm in two years.

Grauman spoke last week with the Daily Camera about his new role and the company's new direction.

The following has been edited for clarity and length.

1.) What changes have come to RoundPegg since your arrival? In a typical fashion, startups generally will corral around what they do well. What (RoundPegg) did well was build products that almost were like apps are on a store, or widgets on a software program. The company was selling those point solutions into the marketplace in a very opportunistic way.

We've changed the whole focus on the product side of the business and we're selling now a solution set -- for the full lifecycle of a worker.

The other part of it was the company essentially was educating the marketer on the primary directive. That's an impossible solution. It's like boiling the ocean.

We switched gears on that and we became a marketing company, and we're marketing our company instead of educating.

2.) How does this affect your customer base and the types of clients you hope to reach? It doesn't change the type of customers at all, it changes the way we approach those customers.

Had we not released a broad-based and holistic (product), we would have had limited opportunities within organizations.

One of the strategic initiatives internally is not to just sell to customers but to embrace relationships with channel partners.

3.) How does your product address this "lifecycle?" If you use a narrative where a company is looking to measure their culture or try to understand what they're doing, traditionally what they do is hire a consulting firm or an individual to parachute in for a particular initiative. They'll use the tools that they have (including products rooted in academic science) and the individuals who are using these tools are doing it in a very manual fashion.

If you can deploy that product on a platform to the entire population of workers at the same time and have them utilize the technology to gather the data, you can shorten those timelines.

In a nutshell, we've combined the academic science that's decades old (and) productized it and made a software solution that allows people to consume it in a modern day way.

What took 30 minutes before, ours can take 5 minutes and we gather exactly the same amount of data.

The third piece is taking a big data analytics engine which we built ourselves in order to understand the information.

4.) What effect might this change in approach have on RoundPegg? It's going to be profound. Part of the reason why I was brought in was to restructure the company so that it can scale -- not only from a product standpoint, but a business standpoint.

We're really expecting that this will be a big deal for us. The industry itself is somewhat nascent. Even (research firms) like Gartner have identified that this is the next wave.

We essentially intend to have captured the flag.

5.) You've led several companies that eventually "exited" through acquisition. Is that the direction of RoundPegg, and what are some of your longer-term goals for this firm? To be perfectly honest, there is no such thing as an exit strategy. The idea is to build the business and to build a viable, profitable business is the primary goal. If you do that, the exits will present themselves, the opportunities will present themselves.

We're not focused on an exit. ... It's a question of defining, for the first time, a new space that has a human condition as well. We're not just selling widgets.

... We don't really know how large this company can be. We have to design it for that.

We anticipate that we're going to probably be about 150 people in the next 24 months. That's a lot of scale (and figuring out) how to absorb that.

We'll be fundraising as well.

--Alicia Wallace ___ (c)2014 the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.) Visit the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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