GoSpotCheck – Matt Talbot

Spot Check

Matt Talbot

Matt Talbot is the Co-Founder and CEO of Denver, CO based GoSpotCheck, a mobile technology company. Matt leads GoSpotCheck and focuses on developing key strategies, securing financing, and leading the team. Matt is a graduate of Bucknell University where he majored in Business Management. After graduating  he 4 years after graduation working at Johnson & Johnson in corporate finance and business analytics before starting GoSpotCheck. At J&J he participated in the selective Finance Leadership Development Program and also helped launch the Volunteer Leadership Development Program. He also has spent time as a board member and marketing chair at The Center of Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ. Outside of his work, he enjoys playing guitar, golfing, and spending time with his friends and family, including his 2 year old daughter.  [hr]

Matt, welcome to Capital Network Magazine. We’re looking forward to getting to know you and your company a little better. Will you please share something about yourself that can’t be found in your public bio?

Sure. I have always been very focused on creating things in one way or another. From the time I was a kid, I always had a plan to create something special that would impact lots of people. My first foray into starting a business was my idea to create a "Front Yard Football League" brand when I was 10. Me and my buddies would play football in my front yard almost everyday and I created a logo, t-shirts, team names, and trophies for the league. Needless to say, FYFL never took over the world, but I loved the process so much that I knew what I would want to do for the rest of my life. [hr]

You’re CEO and Co-Founder of GoSpotCheck. Tell us about your company, your team, and how you got started.

GoSpotCheck is a mobile and web product that enables multi-unit businesses to get better information on the operations of their locations. We connect corporate offices with their stores and people through our task-based mobile app and real-time web reporting. By enabling businesses to send "missions" to their team members, managers can better understand how their operators are being carried out to ensure quality and consistency. We got started by working on modernizing the mystery shopping experience. After building up a workforce of 8,000 mystery shoppers, we realized the power of our software to connect businesses to their people so we pivoted the business to focus on selling the software in a SaaS model. We found that by enabling these retail driven businesses to connect with their people, they could identify problems and opportunities much quicker because we give them reliable and structured data. Our team is about 8 people now, including myself and three other founders. We started up in May 2011 and went through the prestigious TechStars program in Boulder, which certainly spring-boarded our early success. [hr]

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?

The biggest challenge we face right now is a very common theme among any early stage company: identifying and recruiting the best possible technical talent. We have a strong product that offers a great solution to a very real problem that businesses face around reporting and data organization, but to stay ahead of the game, it is critical that we get the best talent on our team. The good news is that we have a very strong team, so we believe that will continue to attract A players. [hr]

GoSpotCheck participated in TechStars, an accelerator program for startups?  What was that experience like, what did you learn, and would you recommend it to other startups?

TechStars was a game changing experience for our team. If you look at where we were before TechStars and where we have come since participating, the difference is night and day. You really can't put enough value in learning from the best, and TechStars enables us to build relationships with amazing mentors and investors. It was a very challenging experience. For the first month, you are basically questioned on every assumption that you have made about your business. The mentors have an incredible knack to get to the bottom of the issues you are facing and help you think critically about where you need to focus. I can't recommend TechStars enough for any tech startup. If you manage to get in, which is very difficult, you will have a leg up compared to startups that haven't gotten that experience. [hr]

In your opinion, what are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

There are a lot of skills you need to be successful, and I am still very green in that regard. If I had to peg the three most important skills, I would say 1) intellectual honesty (ie being honest about what you know and what you don't know); 2) perseverance (the times WILL get tough and those that win and those that choose to fight through when they believe that they are truly onto a big opportunity); and 3) ability to make decisions with extremely limited information (every day you make a decision with about 10% of the information you truly need to know if you are right or wrong. Trust me, decisions in early stage startups are NEVER like case studies...you have to be able to get the important data points you need, take meaning from what you have learned, and trust you gut. It is not easy). [hr]

Outline your typical day.

There is no such thing as a typical day of course, but I like to spend my time doing the following: 30% working with customers (through sales calls or update meetings); 20% working on product issues (prioritizing features and dealing with timeline changes); 20% engaging with team members to understand what everyone is working on and where they are struggling; 20% engaging with mentors, advisors, and investors (ie going to them with tough questions, issues that have come up, and updating them on progress); 10% making the decisions that are "impossible" to make (ie helping my team members get through decisions that seem to be a 50/50 split either way. I think one of the most valuable things a CEO can do is get out of the way on small decisions and be the final decision maker on the issues that seem impossible to pick a side). [hr]

What has been your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

I've had so many failures in my time as an entrepreneur that it is hard to pick out any one major failure. If I had to look at a meta-level on the things I have messed up, the theme would be act on red flags as quickly as possible. There have been multiple times where I have been working with someone where I felt a little uncomfortable or like they weren't doing what they should be doing or where we have been working on a feature set or customer profile that didn't feel right and I continued forward against my gut because I thought it was the "right" thing to do. Huge lesson learned here. When you think something is wrong or see a red flag, you MUST act on that quickly. Small problems turn into really, really big problems quicker than you could ever imagine. [hr]

Other than GoSpotCheck what other companies do you admire the most? Why?

There are lots and lots of companies that I admire, and those that I admire that most are the ones that have created a feeling of a monopoly around their products or services. For instance, the way that Google has become synonymous with search is incredibly powerful. I have always wanted to start a company where the name becomes part of the everyday language of people. Think Kleenex. I also have a huge respect for companies that focus on being absolutely exceptional at executing. Chipotle has long been a favorite of mine because I trust that every time I go to Chipotle, I will get awesome food and great service. Companies that continously execute above the standard are always winners. [hr]

If you had one super power what would it be? Why?

Ability to see the future. I would love to be able to see how the markets will change over time, what innovations will drive our economy forward, and how people will change the way they work. That would give me the opportunity to create and participate in those changes. [hr]

What’s next for you and GoSpotCheck?

2013 is going to be a huge year for us. We are raising more financing, launching our product to a wider customer base, and aggressively growing our team. This will be the year that makes all the difference for our company and I am so excited for the things I see in our future. [hr]

Sell our readers on why we should be using GoSpotCheck.

Any business that operates across multiple locations, whether that is a manufacturer selling a product through many different doors, a retailer, a restaurant chain, a real estate company, etc can benefit from better connecting with their employees and getting structured data on what is happening in the field and should be using GoSpotCheck today. We believe that mobile will be the tech central nervous system for these businesses, and we are building a great entry point solution for the market. [hr]

If you could go back and change anything you have done while running GoSpotCheck, what would it be?

I would focus more on recruiting talent at the outset. When you are young and small, it is hard to imagine that you will have to be great at recruiting and growing your team and you underestimate how much time it takes to make great hires. If I could change anything, I would focus on creating that momentum from day 1.

Where are you located? City + State.

Denver, CO Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook  
Ever Gonzalez

Co-founder & CEO @ Outlier