CEO INTERVIEW: Atiom - Employee engagement and training made fun , efficient and measurable
New success stories - ATIOM
MATTHEW SPRIEGEL - CEO and Co-Founder
Please share with us briefly what you do.
My company is called ATIOM. We are a mobile-first training company, focused on workplace transformation. We drive everyday employee engagement and learning while helping managers train and retain their people.
What were you doing before this?
Running operations in the Asia Pacific for a UK-based healthcare consulting company.
Describe your product. How does it work?
We gamify corporate training, making learning fun, easy and trackable for both employees and managers. We focus on a user-centric experience so each individual completes activities on their own time, anytime, anywhere. We also have a company health meter that sits inside the daily learning modules and helps managers quantify their team’s level of employee engagement.
What are the key benefits?
ATIOM helps companies drive continuous growth in their employees and our data tracking tools help identify skills and knowledge gaps. All learning is bite-sized and our methodology drives frequency over volume. While many companies conduct long boring training sessions in a classroom setting, our users are completing over 32 hours of training per year on average, all in 5-10 min per day.
Who are your closest competitors?
Our closest competition is Gnowbe based out of Singapore and Axonify, a Canadian company. We are also seeing a lot of mini-programs based on WeChat being developed in China. With regard to global corporate learning management systems and training, we look to complement rather than replace their functionality.
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
About 3 years ago I met the General Managers of both the Mandarin Oriental and Westin at a charity dinner for hospitality executives. I gave my best shot at an elevator pitch and before I could take a breath, they both said they want their teams on ATIOM. They both became our first customers. Before finding us, they had their global learning management systems that were clunky to use, difficult to update and not localized for their needs.
What motivated you to start this business?
At my previous company, we were spending 8 hours a day, 10 days in a row inside a classroom and listening to an instructor read word for word off of PPT slides. After speaking to other industry leaders and uncovering similar inefficiencies it was then I realized the market had a huge gap for corporate learning experiences.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
My girlfriend and close friends have stood by me from Day 1 after starting this business. Probably the sacrifice that comes up most often is my personal time to be with them and leaving the business at home.
How did you get funded?
An old family friend whose company exited to Oracle gave us our first round of financing which was when we quit our jobs and decided to focus on ATIOM full-time. We also had a few angels early on that helped us continue growing in the first couple of years. Last year we were fortunate to get backed by SOSV, Chinaccelerator and Artesian Capital.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
While events have always been good at getting us exposure, offering free training programs have helped generate the majority of our leads.
Describe a typical workday
Every day starts with a morning smoothie, meditation and some form of exercise. I usually respond to emails from 8-9 am, then go straight into 1-on-1 and team catch-ups. Most of my days from lunch onwards are spent out of the office meeting clients, partners and investors. If I am not working late, I try to wind down with a cup of tea and a good book.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
Besides my partners Devin Licastro and Ali Nosrati, there have been many people who have been instrumental in influencing our business. One person who comes to mind is Stephen Doyle, a close friend, and mentor, who has been there since my early China days, helping me navigate a big career change and inspiring me to leave the corporate world to start ATIOM. He’s also someone I can count on during tough times and the first to celebrate our small victories.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
Last year we, were one of the winners at the Start-Up Grind for “Finding the Next Unicorn”. Given the competition, I didn’t think we had the chance. Companies in the growth stage need validation to build confidence and a reputation in the market. This definitely came at a good time for us.
What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
We churned one of our top clients before the second contract renewal. It was not because they thought they weren't adding value, but because they had a management change and cut budgets. Now we are much more prepared for these unexpected client cases.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
There is a hard road ahead and you must learn to enjoy the journey more than the outcomes. Work smart and differentiate between being busy and generating real momentum. Make sure to set aside time regularly to reflect deeply on what is working and what is not.
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
Using the Pomodero Technique to get through tough (or boring) work tasks. For those who are not familiar, you typically set 25-minute timers for intense and focused work, with full stops to break in between. It works wonders!
More about Matthew:
First job - Instructor at Nike Tennis Camp
Someone you admire - My Grandmother
Favorite Gadget - My Apple Watch
For more information :
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/company/atiom