By Gabriella de la Torre, MBA in Hospitality Management, Mexico & USA, 2012-2014 2nd Year
As a sequel to the first blog on live entrepreneurship at IMHI, we have the opportunity to learn more about yet anther project that has been created, launched and executed just under our noses: Tiller Systems. Second-year IMHI students, Josef Bovet and Scott Gordon, are at the head of this venture, which “develops and sells innovative point-of-sale systems for bars and restaurants worldwide.” Scott goes on to describe their company as integrating, “the latest technology into a smart and intuitive Point-of-Sale (POS) system to bring mobility, simplicity and efficiency into restaurant operations, [enabling] restaurant owners to boost their security, administer payroll, track inventory, manage reservations and handle CRM.”
Today, Tiller Systems is close to launching the first version of their product, which aims “to provide restaurant owners a turnkey solution that will enable them to manage expenses closely while growing sales and gaining a competitive advantage.” Scott highlights the greatest success that he has experienced thus far with the young company, which was “seeing [the] application run live for the first time and knowing all the work that was behind” the development.
When asked about what motivated them to start this business, Josef focuses on the learning experience he expected to obtain:
“This was my greatest motivation at the beginning of the project and it continues to be so… Entrepreneurship is a great way to ‘learn by doing’ for a large range of skills. With Tiller Systems… I not only to put into practice skills that I was introduced to during my education and my work experience. I was also required to learn new skills that I had not been exposed to before, such as programming. I took some introduction classes in different languages in order to be able to have a conversation with our developers (and eventually) be able to manage them!”
When asked about the biggest takeaways from this entrepreneurial experience and their key advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, both Scott and Josef highlighted the importance of the human aspect of business:
Scott: “Starting an entrepreneurial venture is first of all a great human experience, hence the importance of choosing the right team when you start such an adventure. I’ve quickly learned that if you have a good team that works well together, you can accomplish anything!”
Josef: “My biggest piece of advice for future entrepreneurs would be to join a community. There are plenty of start-up communities that organize events regularly in Paris and virtually every major city. Meet people and talk about your project, and please do not think that your project is too valuable to be kept secret. Without feedback, your idea has no value. Share your idea as much as you can and build it with the feedback you receive. In doing so, you may even have the chance to meet your future partner. Entrepreneurship is a sharing experience. You will not build a company on your own.”
Now, with graduation on the doorstep for both of these second-year students, they have a chance to reflect on how IMHI affected the launch of Tiller Systems. Scott underlines the “important role [that] IMHI and ESSEC have played in the development and growth of [their] idea.”
“Many of the concepts we studied and analyzed in our classes are directly applicable to our day-to-day work at Tiller Systems. We’ve also taken advantage of the impressive cumulative experience of all IMHI students, in particular those with a focus on the restaurant industry. Their insight, obtained through interviews and focus groups, was essential to validating and developing our concept. Our incubation at ESSEC Ventures was also an important moment in the evolution of the company, as the organization provided us not only with an office to work from, but also with the possibility to meet and interact with a huge, diverse network of experts and professionals.”
We wish the best of luck to these two entrepreneurs and hope that they will meet their goal of seeing the company grow in the near future.
For more information on Tiller Systems, please visit: www.tillersystems.com.