Helping Businesses and Employees Win…One Nudge At a Time
Lindsey Goodchild is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nudge Rewards. Nudge Rewards delivers a mobile solution designed to engage, educate and reward frontline managers and employees to improve team performance and increase profitability. "We believe everyone deserves to love where they work. We change the lives of team members by creating a compelling, connecting, winning environment – a job people will love." – nudgerewards.com.
1. Tell us about the Nudge Rewards Journey.
I started my career in consulting in hospitality and sustainable tourism, working with big brands, often with fragmented workforces. The companies I consulted for had great plans in place, but there were challenges with frontline and head office synergies. There was often a disconnect between the two groups. Frontline employees weren't working at a desk necessarily, and didn't have corporate email addresses. But…they were digitally connected via their phones.
After recognizing this disconnect, I started to ask the question: What if we use a mobile app to connect with frontline employees and reward them for their participation and engagement?
I talked to clients and individuals within my network and started to share my ideas with them. I asked them if they would be interested in using a mobile app to stay connected with their frontline staff. This first discovery phase helped me validate that there was, indeed, a market for the idea.
While I was still working full time, I crafted the business plan on the side. Nights and weekends…I thought about how this would come to life. At first, I didn't think I would leave my job – I didn't think I would become a full-time entrepreneur. But of course, that changed.
About five years ago, I quit my job and went off on my own to try my hand with a startup. The first year was spent validating the idea, prototyping, and getting the first version of the platform ready. Pretty early on, I connected with MaRS, the Ryerson DMZ, and the larger tech community in attempts to "get-in" with the tech crowd. I was fortunate to meet an incredible advisor early on, and he actually introduced me to the development shop (The Working Group) who partnered with me to help get the first version of the software up and running (they also became my first investor!). It just so happened that I met Dessy Daskalov, Nudge Rewards' co-founder, during a session facilitated by The Working Group. At the time, she happened to be thinking about starting her own company, but as we spent more time together, we figured out that we'd be a pretty good team and so we decided to embark on this together!
2. What makes Nudge Rewards so unique?
We are a small team of 22 people, working with huge brands in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., such as Choice Hotels and Rogers. We are a lean team with a limited budget but we are doing BIG things! Our focus is on retail, hospitality, and foodservice. We help organizations engage frontline employees to move the needle on initiatives and employee engagement – and everything is measurable of course.
Here's a quick example of how it works: You're a Golf Town employee and you download the Nudge Rewards App and sign up. You receive a code, the app asks for your location and your job. You then receive targeted Nudges that pop-up. For example: "Check out this video on golf clubs." Or you may be asked for your ideas or to answer a few multiple choice questions. As you participate, you receive points and updates on your performance versus other teams. Our customers use points and challenges to provide internal rewards, such as a gift card. Everything is two-way and of course, it's gamified. Fun, right?
To date, over 3 million nudges have been sent to frontline employees, and I'm thrilled to share that we're hearing amazing feedback from our customers. Brands are telling us how Nudge Rewards has transformed their business, driving significant sales and, in some cases, has helped them execute their most successful campaigns.
3. Tell us about your recent funding news and what it means for the future of Nudge Rewards?
As a startup, we've chosen to pursue Venture Capital. Most recently, following the initial $3.5MM we raised through Angel Investors, we secured the largest investment through a "Series A" round that has gone into a female-led company - $5 million. Generation Ventures, Brightspark Ventures, and The BDC Capital Women in Technology Fund have all invested in Nudge Rewards.
The process was intimidating, but we are so fortunate that we found great partners. And now that we've raised $8.5 million total, we're well positioned to play hard in the U.S. market. With 22 full time and 4 part time employees today, we plan to double in size in the next year to year and a half. These are definitely exciting times.
4. What has been your biggest challenge as you've built Nudge Rewards into the company it is today?
It's difficult to build something from the ground up when you've never done it before – you have to learn everything the hard way. It's all about perseverance and mental fortitude. You have to constantly rally yourself, rally your team, and make the impossible possible. Luckily, I've surrounded myself with great people and I've taken advantage of the great support available in the Toronto tech community.
5. What has been your biggest surprise?
I'm truly overwhelmed and astonished by the talented people I've met and had a chance to work with. And everyone's willingness to help is so inspiring. Here in Toronto especially, you find more seasoned entrepreneurs helping new ones like me. It's been a gift. AceTech and #MoveTheDial have been amazing, as well as MaRS and Ryerson's Digital Media Zone. I'm consistently receiving feedback that's grounded by CEOs who have just been there – that is truly priceless.
6. Any regrets?
Not really. It's important to make mistakes because you learn from them and don’t make them again. Learn from the past and look to the future.
7. What's one piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?
I have two actually. 1) Surround yourself with great people – including mentors and advisors. Doing so will elevate your game big time! 2) Commit to staying healthy – physical health, mental health. Exercising regularly makes me a more positive and productive person.
8. What's next for Nudge Rewards?
Grow and grow quickly. Build a strong, scalable team. Invest in sales and marketing. Expand our footprint into the U.S. Add great people to the team – but carefully, because we've created a special culture and we want to keep it that way