Steven Phan, Co-Founder of Reputation Shielder
1. What does Reputation Shielder do?
Reputation Shielder is an industry-leading reputation management platform, with a focus on empowering businesses with advanced tools to foster ever-lasting relationships with their customers.
Our software enables users to see what is being said about a business and how it is being said. Our mobile-optimized dashboard aggregates operations analytics, marketing, social listening/monitoring, sentiments analysis, consumer reviews and insights all in one place, to help businesses succeed in targeting, marketing and influencing niche markets.
Reputation Shielder improves how businesses are perceived online which ultimately drives traffic to their website and increases their bottom line.
2. What inspired you to start your company? What problem are you solving?
I watched my father's small business suffer because of a 2.2 star rating on Google. I found that the unhappiest customers were far more likely to speak out online, than the happiest customers. I realized there was an opportunity to help businesses generate more positive reviews online by leveraging their happiest customers.
3. How long did it take you to go from prototype to launch?
It took us about five months to develop a working platform and perform a beta test with my father's company. After performing the beta test, his online rating went from 2.2 stars to 3.9 in four short months. Presently, it’s at 4.1 stars, and the number of organic searches for his business has increased by 189%. Our prototype has now evolved to being a fully-functional platform with ongoing developments.
4. How did you determine who your audience might be for this product?
We identified businesses in Calgary with 3.5 star-ratings or lower. We then categorized them into industries and targeted the ones that we felt would benefit the most from our platform. Going through this exercise solidified what we already knew: businesses of all sizes - from mom and pop shops to enterprise-level companies - were suffering from negative reviews online.
5. What are your greatest achievements so far?
Our greatest achievement is making it into Startup Calgary's Launch Party in such a short period of time. It has been a surreal journey. We incorporated in May of this year (2017), and then officially launched in July of 2017. During this short time span, we figured out our direction, who to reach out to and how to engage them.
6. What are your future goals for your company?
In the next 36 months, we plan to grow our company to $1 million in MRR. Meeting this goal would enable us to grow our team, put a positive corporate culture in place and give back to the community.
7. How has Startup Calgary helped you?
Startup Calgary has given us exposure to the startup community and connected us with angel investors and venture capitalists.
8. How can companies make the most of their experience with Startup Calgary and Launch Party?
Connect with previous startups that showcased at Launch Party, come with lots of swag to hand out, and have a great team on-site to answer questions.
9. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?
Don’t lose sight of your ‘why’. Don’t give up. And don’t stop hustling.
10. Who do you look up to in the Calgary startup community? Which companies are doing cool things?
I look up to seasoned entrepreneurs like Clark Johannson. Clark, who has extensive startup experience, has given us invaluable advice around what we need to do to gain exposure and traction and take our startup to the next level.
Time and time again, I have been pleasantly surprised at how supportive our ecosystem is for newer entrepreneurs like myself.
11. If you could do one thing differently while building your startup, what would you have done?
Nothing. Good or bad, every single challenge has been a great lesson.
Published November 23, 2017