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Episode 28: WorkHound Helps People Love the Work They Do

Episode 28: WorkHound

June 28, 2019

Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani, co-founders of WorkHound, a feedback platform that helps minimize employee turnover, recently spoke with Greater Des Moines Partnership Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Mike Colwell.

The Beginning

Max and Andrew have always been passionate about the startup community and were continually driven by the dream of being entrepreneurs. They liked solving very difficult “unsexy” problems so when they realized there was an employee retention and employee satisfaction issue in the workforce, they saw a real opportunity to help companies understand this challenge.

So they went for it. The took the chance and launched WorkHound in 2015. The company’s objective was to provide a real-time feedback platform for frontline workers to help companies reduce avoidable turnover. Through research, WorkHound found that turnover is extremely high at companies where people don’t sit at desk. One specific industry of focus is trucking with a 95% turnover rate. With immediate feedback from WorkHound, trucking companies now have the ability to be more proactive versus reactive and leverage the feedback they receive to provide a better employee experience.

Accelerator Experience

At the start of their business, Max and Andrew were accepted into an accelerator where they experienced a lot of life change at once. They packed up and moved to another city for three months where they not only learned how to work together but also live together. They found that their new startup life was part trial by fire and part learning at a rapid pace, all in the midst of other life events. They quickly realized that start-up life was not glamorous, but they continued to learn and thrive to accomplish their dreams.   

Win or Learn

Max and Andrew openly admitted that getting WorkHound off the ground was brutal. In the first year they landed five customers. In building their sales funnel, they found that their first customer led them to the second customer and their second customer led them to their third customer. They looked at every new sales pitch as a win or learn experience. This same type of win or learn mentality also helped in landing investors. If you don’t win with an investor, you can learn from the experience. They recommend connecting with investors who think congruently to your business ideas and expectations.

Skip Mistakes and Ask Questions

Max and Andrew’s most impactful mentor advice - Skip the mistakes that others have made. They didn’t know how to make a cold call, hire people or do other startup tasks, so they asked others to help. They believe there is no reason to go down a dark road by yourself when there are people who want to support you and your business.

As a final point, Max and Andrew state that mentors will not deliver things on a silver platter. People have different strengths and experiences and you have to know what specific questions to ask to get the best answers you need for your business.  

Interested in being a mentor or mentee? Learn more and sign up for the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Mentor Connection.

Inspired by this Startup Story? Subscribe to the Startup Stories DSM podcast and check out upcoming events, videos and other free resources dedicated to helping startups and small businesses accelerate in Greater Des Moines (DSM).