Tulsa Business Journal: Tell us a little bit about your business. When did/will you start it? Why? What is the overall mission of your business?
MintJar LLC: We are MintJar. We build great software. Our focus is to build simple and beautiful Web applications that make peoples’ work lives a little easier. Our first product is Shifts, which addresses a problem as old as business itself — scheduling employees. Shifts offers a simple user interface for assisting in the scheduling process and also serves as a communication hub for employers and employees.
TBJ: If you have not yet started your business, do you have a timeline for when you will start it?
MJ: MintJar LLC was formed in July of 2008. Since that time, we have been defining our goals and developing our product and business model. We are getting very close and expect to launch the product to the public in August 2009.
TBJ: What is your background? What made you interested in starting this particular business?
MJ: Caleb Oller and Matt Ralston are the founders of MintJar.
Caleb brings eight years of programming experience in various languages and environments. He began developing Web applications two years ago and hasn’t looked back. He’s worked in both a Fortune 200 company and a small creative agency and brings a passion for his work and technology.
Matt is well-educated in management, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He also provides practical experience in successful entrepreneurial ventures and corporate industry experience with a Fortune 100 company.
TBJ: What triggered your idea for your business concept?
MJ: We recognized that small businesses need more time to focus on growth and eliminate inefficiencies in the workplace in order to keep up with their larger competitors. Our mission is to develop smart and simple Web-based applications catered for small businesses to aid in mitigating those inefficiencies.
TBJ: How are you funding your business?
MJ: MintJar LLC is a complete bootstrap venture. Fortunately, up to this point, the costs have not been substantial, so we have been able to cover the costs out of pocket from money earned while at our full-time positions.
TBJ: Where would you like to take your business in the next year?
MJ: In the next year we would like to have launched v1.0 of Shifts and obviously have a successful adoption rate. This would allow MintJar to grow, drawing talent from the region to help build Shifts into all we envision it to be.
TBJ: In the next five years?
MJ: Building upon the success of Shifts, MintJar has a few other projects for which we’ve already begun laying the groundwork. Some of these build on top of Shifts, others focus in on the same business efficiency market, but tackle other obstacles.
TBJ: What do you hope to gain from participating in the Spirit Award?
MJ: The obvious answer would be the winnings. There are also other things to be gained from this competition. Exposure to our product is something that I think most of the companies will gain from this experience.
Any time you can gain experience pitching your product to potential customers or investors is also a tremendous opportunity to learn. Feedback of our presentation and the product itself should prove to be very rewarding.