Roger Gormen, CEO, ProFinda
In 2011, serial entrepreneur Roger Gorman launched his company ProFinda: an AI-powered expertise finding platform that transforms the potential of a workforce. Six years later, he talks to BQ about what his company achieved in 2017 and what the New Year has in store for his firm.
What does your business do?
ProFinda uses AI to create a knowledge bank of all the skills and competencies within a business. We have found a way to resolve a common problem in all companies – that nobody really knows anyone else in their organisation.
Businesses spend hundreds, if not thousands, on hiring and training the right staff. But when push comes to shove, nobody can find anyone else when they need them the most. ProFinda creates what I’d like to call a ‘who engine’ that allows people to easily search for others to get the right staff connected with the right projects.
It creates a skills marketplace, allowing people to communicate and connect with others who have the correct competencies, skills, and ambitions, whether that be for projects, proposals or mentorship.
Many companies recognise that they have an issue with getting the right staff in the right positions. This rings especially true when a business expands from 200 to 2,000, and then on to 20,000 and 200,000 – the problem just gets worse.
In the future, instead of writing a message to a colleague to ask for them to recommend someone else to help you, ProFinda’s system will analyse what skills you require in the email and connect you to the right people immediately. In other words, you write the email and ProFinda will determine the best people to send it to.
How has 2017 been for you?
2017 has been a complete rollercoaster. It’s been incredibly exciting but equally has had its up and downs. What drives us forward is that, as a team, we’re all in it together.
The past year has definitely been the biggest year of progress for ProFinda with some huge wins for the company – including leading professional services clients, banks and the largest law firm in the world.
At the same time, we’ve faced the challenge of scaling up and keeping the essence of ProFinda and our team culture, during a time of exponential growth. Our team has grown from 15 to over 30 people this year and is set to double next year.
The calibre of people we’ve had join ProFinda in 2017 has been fantastic this year. We finished the year with two new hires, former IBMers David Kelly and Rebecca Wood.
What was your greatest success?
ProFinda’s successes this year have been twofold. Firstly, the type of clients we have won and the partners we’ve begun to work with this year have been really exciting. This has meant that ProFinda has been able to expand rapidly.
However, I wanted to keep the close-knit feeling, innovation, and drive of a start-up team, and ProFinda has had to put a lot of hard work into team infrastructure and communication. 2017 saw us do this successfully, and we’ve had the added bonus of several high-profile new hires from larger tech companies who really believe in what we are doing (and going to do).
And your greatest challenge?
ProFinda’s greatest challenge, like many start-ups, is the delicate balancing act between hiring the right talent, servicing our clients, attracting prospects, getting the right investment and having enough cash flow.
What do you think 2018 will hold for you?
2018 is going to allow ProFinda to capitalise on all the opportunities and successes that 2017 brought. From being picked as one of the start-ups to watch at Web Summit, to speaking on the workforce of the future at Davos for CNBC along with the CEOs of ABB, Manpower, and EY. 2018 will hopefully bring more of the same, along with more partnerships, global clients and talented new hires.
How will you spend Christmas and the New Year?
Like many I’ll be spending my time with family, however - I won’t be putting my feet up as I intend to build the world’s largest climate change biosphere collaboration platform with some of the world’s leading institutions and organisations. All whilst enjoying a glass of sherry with my dad!
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
Attitudes in the workplace are changing, and companies are waking up to this fact. Companies are facing some potentially crippling challenges, like the skills gap and how to face the rise of artificial intelligence. More businesses are becoming aware that technology is fast making them outdated. I predict that the number of businesses realising that they need to keep up with the times will hit a critical mass over the next year.
2018 will see the changing workforce evolve even more. Businesses face a shift in many workplace expectations and will have the tough job of keeping all their employees happy, from the cliché-like Millennial to the Baby-Boomer and everyone in-between.
The way we work is nothing like the decade before when we were expected to remain in a career for life. 2018 will see the gig economy shake off the bad reputation it acquired in 2017, with businesses recognising that the gig economy encompasses more than just the Ubers and
There will be a coming of age of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in 2018. If 2017 was the year of AI, then 2018 will be the year it grows up and joins the workforce. With this comes a shift in the way we work, moving from manual tasks like writing lists and sifting through email, to more strategic and creative thinking.
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