Phased.io, a young company developing at the UIT program at Cape Breton University, is looking for companies and organizations that can help it develop an online product to help with succession or bringing in new employees.
The company was founded by Colin MacInnis and Brian Best, two students at the new CBU program that teaches lean entrepreneurship. They were among the handful of entrepreneurs that presented their projects when Premier Stephen McNeil delivered his State of the Province address in February.
At the time, the duo was working on a product that would help university student councils hand work off year after year, even though the senior people on student councils change just about every year. They are now focusing on a product that help with succession – a key challenge to Atlantic Canadian companies given the number of small and medium-sized businesses owned by people who are getting on in years.
“We are now moving from student unions to small businesses, charities and not-for-profit – anything that does business on a small scale,” MacInnis, the company’s CEO, said in an interview.
MacInnis said Phased.io will bore down into the problem that organizations face when people come into new positions. It could be through succession of the top position and ownership, or it could be because a company is expanding and bringing in new people.
The problem is that when people leave a position, they take a wealth of knowledge with them. MacInnis and Best want to “give a job a memory” so that expertise remains with the organization after people move on.
Phased is looking for about five companies or organizations that can work with it to develop a digital product that can help overcome these problems. The partners would have to commit an hour or two a week to working with MacInnis and Best so that together they could produce a product that would help new people understand the organization’s operations.
“When people are new at a job, they can learn a lot about the industry by going to Google,” said MacInnis. “The thing they can’t Google is how to run the business. So we’re looking for a better way to handle that problem.”
He added that each company or organization will have specific requirements. But by working with five test clients, patterns will begin to emerge and the developers can design a new product that solves common problems.
“By giving jobs a memory, small businesses can avoid knowledge gaps created when key employees leave, retire or step down.” Best, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, said in a statement.
MacInnis and Best came up with the idea for Phased.io in January by during their time at UIT Startup, an 11-month immersive program that teaches students technology skills and how to start businesses.
They realized that student unions had problems with continuity because of the high turnover each year, so they wanted to bring “memory” to student council projects. What they learned as the investigated the project is it’s hard to sell to student unions. The members have exams, midterms, reading weeks, study breaks, special events and then they’ve graduated. So Phased.io decided to focus on small businesses instead.