First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gabriel Glynn: Like many families, we’ve had to learn to adjust a lot of things in life, beginning with our expectations. The world has changed, and we can no longer safely do many things that we took for granted. That’s okay and hopefully temporary, but we needed to adjust our expectations, so we didn’t find ourselves depressed and unhappy about life.
My wife and I are both working full time and putting in 50+ hour weeks. We’ve also learned to be kindergarten and 3rd-grade teacher, and we help with our kids’ classwork while in between work zoom calls. Our kids went back to school full time about a week ago, so that has helped lighten the load, but it’s looking increasingly likely that they’ll be back home for school as the number of Covid-19 cases rise.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MākuSafe.
Gabriel Glynn: I am a serial entrepreneur with multiple startups over the last 13 years. MākuSafe has certainly been the most challenging but also the most rewarding. The company’s idea came about 4 and a half years ago when I learned about how workplace accidents get investigated and how OSHA conducts environmental audits to determine if a workforce is at risk because of environmental factors. I felt like those practices, done after something bad happens, could be much more effective in PREVENTING losses if data was gathered and action was taken in real-time. That was our goal four and a half years ago, and today we have a product that does just that!
How does MākuSafe innovate?
Gabriel Glynn: It’s really all we do when it comes to our technology. We have weekly team meetings to discuss priorities on our technology, and that includes people from sales, account management, leadership, and our technical teams. This allows us to make sure that what we’re hearing from customers and prospects is aligning with our technology roadmap. Our solution consists of wearable safety tech that gathers data about potential industrial hazards and risks with IoT sensors and provides that intelligence to leadership in our SaaS platform enables proactive and preventative management. We provide to industrial end-users but also to forward-thinking workers compensation insurers who want the ability to engage with their policyholders to mitigate risk before claims occur.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Gabriel Glynn: Like many others, we are a more distributed team, with employees working remotely as much as possible. Beyond that, by asking and listening to the challenges our customers are dealing with, we have found opportunities with our technology to help combat Covid-19 by introducing new capabilities such as contact tracing, worker density mapping, and soon we’ll be adding features such as worker to worker proximity, and restricted access based on proximity.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gabriel Glynn: Leaders always have to make difficult choices, and there are many lessons to be learned. One of the hardest things is having to turn down candidates for a job because you only have one opening or having to part ways with an employee when it’s not the right fit. I am humbled by every person who applies to be a part of our team, but it’s important to get the right people on the team.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and MākuSafe in the future?
Gabriel Glynn: Bringing energy every day is not something that is a nice-to-have, it’s a must. The momentum and spirit of our team is a reflection of their leader’s energy. Everyone has to deal with stress at work. If you’re not dealing with stress, then you are not pushing enough. I try to meditate daily after lunch, and I constantly pray throughout the day. There’s a million opportunities to be thankful each day if you are consciously looking for them.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gabriel Glynn: There’s nobody doing apples to apples what we do, but the best thing we can do right now is gain market share, and we are doing that rapidly. This space is projected to be 5+ billion dollars in a decade or less, and there’s room for multiple solutions. We will be a part of that if we continue to listen to our customers and improve our product and offerings to meet and exceed their demands.
Your final thoughts?
Gabriel Glynn: Future technologies will have a better chance to succeed if large companies play a part in a startup’s journey. This could be taking a chance on new technology through a trial or pilot, mentoring, investing, and offering resources. They must, however, be able to move quickly and share some of the risks.