Our startup stories are this week focused on Flokzu, an Uruguayan startup that proposes solution on the cloud to automate collaborative workflows. In less than a year and half, over 4,000 organizations from all continents have subscribed to this startup. Its customers are distributed in different industries (financial services, NGO, electrical engineering, retail, transportation, education).

When was Flokzu created?

Flokzu was born to share, with all companies, the benefits of process management and automated workflows by democratizing technology that used to be only in the hands of big companies.

Flokzu came up as a spin-off by INTEGRADOC, a company with over 15 years of experience in the world of Business Process Management (BPM), which works with corporate and governmental customers, at national level. This solution was given one of the most internationally prestigious awards: Global Award For Excellence in BPM and Workflow, by WfMC and BPM.com; as well as the National Innovation Award by Uruguay’s National Research and Innovation Agency (ANII).

After feeling the advantages provided by Process Management to major companies, we wondered the reason why small and middle-sized businesses weren’t using this technology at massive level, so they could be more efficient and grow in a challenging competitive environment. When assessing the products available in the market, we realized that they were too complex and required technical training and significant investments in terms of time and money.

Our team felt that the market was looking for a powerful, dynamic and simple solution, so the process automation could be carried out in the short term with low costs, and the resulting benefits can be enjoyed by all types of organizations. We wanted to democratize the system without complex obstacles.

The challenge was to create a tool with enough power to run complex business processes, but in a simpler and easier way. The beta version was released in September 2015 during the main startups event of the world: TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. The full version was put out in December of the same year.

How does Flokzu work?

Flokzu is a cloud solution to automate collaborative workflows. It allows users to model the process flow by using the standard BPMN, define forms and tasks to be fulfilled, invite participants of the process and quickly run it. It all happens without programming a single code line or requiring technical knowledge.

Flokzu allows users have all forms, documents and files in the same place, run searches, define terms and alerts. It is so easy to use that the first process can be working within minutes (no weeks or months).

All the relevant information is automatically stored in a single place where all users can run customized searches, generate reports based on KPIs to learn more about the business, export that data to Excel and more. Its users can manage their pending tasks and alerts, thus leaving behind the need for endless tables or email chains.

Flokzu helps users make the most of the benefits of formalizing and automating processes, in a simple and fast way so any company can do it in minutes and be more competitive, efficient, save costs, and speed up its operations (all benefits are brought about by the automation of business processes).

How about its business model?

The model is Software as a Service in the freemium mode. We have a limitless free plan because we believe that it is important for our users to understand the value behind the tool. Moreover, we have 3 paid service plans that meet the needs of each organization.

This model is complemented by a library of processes, so users only take minutes to understand the way Flokzu will help them improve their operational processes. The library includes typical examples taken from our experience with thousands of organizations:

  • Request and endorsement of purchases
  • Detection and follow up of market opportunities
  • Edition, review and approval of documents
  • Request of Licenses and Vacations
  • Travelling expenses

What have been your main outcomes?

In less than 18 months, Flokzu already engulfs over 4,000 organizations from some 100 countries. We have customers from several industries (financial services, NGO, electrical engineering, retail, transportation, education and more) and different sizes.

However, as our utmost result we can mention the comments and testimonies issued by the customers, who point out the improvement in their operations, reduction of terms and costs, improvement of customer satisfaction, higher efficiency and efficacy, thanks to the automation of its processes with Flokzu.

How about your plans for 2017?

Our first customers were small and middle-sized businesses, but the tool was later adopted by big companies as well, including several Fortune500, which see Flokzu as an alternative that is more convenient than traditional BPM products. In this sense, we have introduced specific modules to incorporate Flokzu into corporate ERPs, for example, within the framework of a specific campaign for this type of corporate customers.

Moreover, Flokzu evolves according to the specific needs of our customers, so we are constantly introducing upgrades and new functionalities. We are planning to simplify the configuration of processes and improve the use of the tool.

We recently released a key functionality: Databases. This element allows organizations to store information on their processes (list of customers, products, suppliers, etc.) directly in Flokzu, so different processes can have access to them.

What do you make of the startup ecosystem in Uruguay?

-Uruguay is presently one of the leaders in the region in terms of startups, as a result of the excellent training in technological and scientific fields, the driving forces behind startups. There is a formal group of entities that supports the sector, from the government, universities, and a significant number of private mentors and investors that help startups grow. Because of the size of the country (3 million inhabitants), the entrepreneurs are aware of the need to build quality products, which can be exported and compete against leaders from each industry.

We believe that it is important to know the discipline and needs of our customers. That experience allowed us to build a clean product focused on simply solving out true problems faced by our customers, thus putting aside unnecessary complexities that are costly and hard to use.

5 tips to be shared with other startups

1. Build a high-performance team. It is not only about choosing the right people (which is essential), you must also establish high and challenging goals, and strengthen the team feeling needed to fulfill them.

2. Become an expert in what you are doing. It is hard to compete and sell in a global environment if your product is not good enough in a specific field. But the entrepreneur must be a specialist.

3. Sell, sell, sell. The sale is frequently underestimated if compared to the “product” and that is a mistake. The sales validate that what you do is useful, generates incomes to keep on developing it, motivates the team, makes you more attractive to investors, etc.

4. Work on a great product. The product is perceived by the customer, is not only about the technology, but also about the service, every communication, every tweet, the logo typography, etc. If you want your product to succeed, it must be great in every sense.

5. Be efficient, automate, prepare yourself to grow. Your time is short, so devote it to make your company grow and develop value tasks. Automate repetitive tasks, eliminate endless tables, don’t track sales by mail, etc. If you are efficient since day one, the operation will grow.

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