Last Updated on March 31, 2016 by Tim
Let’s meet Startup, 360 Spark:
In a few sentences, tell us what your start-up is all about!:
360 Spark provides personal development insight by providing custom 360 reports for business leaders around the world. This insight can be used individually for self improvement and on a company-wide basis to better understand what sets their best people apart. In this way we help talent and opportunity better find and match each other like never before.
We collect unstructured data through the most natural and effective of feedback processes: the simple conversation. We analyze the data using human experts and machine learning to provide deep insight that surpasses the sum of its parts. The process is high touch (we actually call everyone in person), risk free, and enjoyable.
Our customers are business leaders, professionals, and high fliers looking for insight. Customers get 10 questions, 10 respondents, and a 15 page hand-written report.
Our business has sprung from a decade of manually providing feedback to the world’s best executives, and our passion to provide massive amounts of insight to improve the world.
Most organizations have some kind of 360 process, where an individual receives feedback from their manager, their peers, and those they manage. But these systems are stuck in the 1980s: survey based with a small amount of text that leave respondents exposed and recipients bewildered. We are using the latest technology to rapidly update the model and provide the next level of leadership data, and meaningful data that will help individuals, HR, leaders, recruiters, and the world.
We’re building a leadership AI.
For the last 10 years we’ve been researching and giving personal feedback to senior executives of companies all over the world. During that time we developed a high touch, streamline way to get maximum insight without disrupting the bigwig, based on the humble 360 assessment. Then, at the end of 2015 we were working with a CEO from a Silicon Valley unicorn who said “we give each other feedback all the time” and our BS detectors went through the roof: we realized that actually they don’t give as powerful feedback as they think they do. Not even close.
At that moment it dawned on us that what we were doing was applicable for a much larger audience, and could bring a lot more good to people’s lives and benefit to companies. So we got digging on the technology–who else was doing this–and found that everyone was stuck in 1988. Which was surprising that an area that focuses on data, in a function that can have such massive impact, could be so overlooked for so many for so long. (Although, in retrospect, that’s not surprising as here I was, a serial entrepreneur with tech experience and industry experience and I had only just put it together.) So we created the perfect platform to collect feedback on a much broader scale–a mix of human interaction, a web app, and deep learning.
So far the reception to our product has been off the charts, to the point where many of the people we partner with want to leave their companies and come and work with us permanently. We take that as a good sign of things to come.
Although this is not actually a recruiting app, if you’ve ever been let down by the hiring process as a hirer or an interviewee, then you’ll understand why this is important.
Today, if you are amazingly good at getting results in a certain field, there is no guarantee anyone will know about it. You have to become a master at self-marketing to get the word out. Go make lots of social profiles and write a blog.
So what happens if you are the worlds best aardvark wrangler, but your boss is a jerk and wants to keep you, so you never get exposure, and you don’t know how to do it yourself. Also, what are the skills that make an amazing aardvark wrangler? There are some definable hard skills such as knot tying and lasso throwing. But how do you measure determination, a calming demeanor that lulls aardvarks into a sense of security, and a cheeky knack for judging the right time to pounce. What tests can you take to prove this? What university should you have gone to? It’s all a bit murky.
So, as a recruiter or hiring manager I can go to LinkedIn, I can search for people with “aardvark” in their profile, see which ones went to an ivy league school, and which ones have worked for the biggest companies on Wall Street. Am I getting the best, or am I just cutting the population by those that have had the earliest recent success and hoping the best is in there somewhere? This is the problem. What you’re doing is searching late night infomercials to find the best kitchen knife, and choosing the one that has the most celebrity endorsements.
The talent process is broken: millions of people suffer daily.
So, here’s a novel idea: how about we ask the people you work with? Suddenly, we’ll get a picture that “Amy is the best aardvark wrangler I have ever seen in my life” and “Amy has a gift. She’s like the Aardvark whisperer.” All despite the fact she didn’t finish high school because *reasons*. She’s the best there is. Now you can search meaningful data to find Amy. Amy gets a better job and goes on to new heights. Your company uses her talents to do good for millions of people, including the shareholders.
That’s why we are doing this.
We combine deep domain (business coaching) experience with cutting-edge technology ability, a huge vision and a passion to change the world.
We adhere to B-Corp principles and believe that life is about making things better for everyone. Because of that we’re building a remarkable team of really smart, committed and passionate people from all over the world.
We’re self funded and growing quickly.
We’re a breath of fresh air in a stagnant industry. There are competitors, but no one quite like us.
Let us know a bit about your team, who are the key team members and what is their role?:
The company has been founded by James Greaves and Hans Schulte.
James is a serial entrepreneur who grew up in London, England, studied at Brigham Young University in the US, and after working in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Australia, London, and across the US, now lives next to Zion’s national park in southern Utah. He has an MBA in Finance, an undergraduate in Communications, and taught himself to code because he loves it. He has worked as a television producer, managing editor of a newspaper, CEO of several other tech startups, management consultant, and executive coach. For his sins he enjoys crossfit and raising his hoard of children.
Hans Schulte is a South African of German descent living in New Zealand. His impressive career has taken him all over the world as an entrepreneur in aviation, petroleum, mining, and in communications networks in developing countries. Most recently he has spent his time as an executive coach and consultant working with some of the fastest growing companies on the planet. He holds an MBA from the University of Aukland and is currently working on his PhD. His two favorite vehicles are his paddle board and his BMW motorcycle. He’s also a trained yogi. He competed in the Cape Epic, which is no mean feat (seriously, Google it.)
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