Written by Karen Kwan
In the world of entrepreneurs, financial institutions, accelerators and venture capitalists, the industry is using a computer “as though it’s an electronic pencil” says Keren Moynihan. Her company, FastApps, is looking to change that.
“Computers can do a heck of a lot more. It can grab info right from the source and automate it,” says Keren, who cofounded FastApps—she’s responsible for marketing strategy and operations—with her husband Luke Moynihan (he does all of the software engineering). In the public market, all of this information is available, but there’s nothing for the private market, she explains. The end goal of their tool is to help companies who are trying to get investment. How does this play out in real life? This means when a startup meets with an investor, they will already have a good understanding of what you’ve done with your business from the data FastApps has pulled. The meeting can then be focused on other factors not reflected in that information, such as what your management style is.
The idea for FastApps can be traced back to when Luke worked at Amazon five years ago where he was tasked with saving shipment costs for the global team. He worked with his team building this tool that pulled the data required, which resulted in significant savings for the company. In 2017, so that similar technology could be available to small- and medium-sized businesses, Luke developed FastApps. Keren explains that the tool is especially beneficial to potential investors because while they can look at what a company’s profits are, “what they’re not getting is the soft costs, like how much time does it take to train an employee or how much time it takes for help desk concerns. Sometimes the more dollar profitable customer is not the more profitable customer.”
Ironically, the tool is somewhat self-serving, with FastApps being their own little entrepreneurial baby. Keren realized when using Innovation Canada’s website to determine how many grants FastApps is eligible for that the site’s system wasn’t streamlined and as automated as it could be. It revealed 39 potential grants, however in reality only one grant was indeed applicable for their business. “And we really want to make it possible for entrepreneurs to gain access to all of the opportunities,” she says. So much so that FastApps is not charging entrepreneurs for the tool.
With seven full-time people and four part-time on board, FastApps is currently working on a few paid pilots. “We hope to take everything we learn from it and pump it right back into the ecosystem. We’re grabbing data sets from all sorts of players, from banks to consulting firms and industry associations in the startup ecosystem, and will publish an aggregate finding. They’ll look to whether the data is linked to investment that’s lead to any successes and whether a company is growing.
FastApps is looking globally when it comes to their scope. “Entrepreneurship is truly a global enterprise, and new jobs are coming from entrepreneurs,” says Keren. Any wins, such as the women’s entrepreneurial fund FastApps has applied for, they see as going right back into the startup ecosystem: FastApps would grow their team with grant funding, thereby helping them further develop their tool to help grant funding get awarded to more entrepreneurs, thereby creating more jobs.”If we can help grab those numbers and put them in the hands of the people who are funding those businesses, then we have done our job.”
Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real