BIT Startup Of The Week: Abacus – “Helping students using real time data”
A: I founded my company in 2015 after my father’s death. I wanted to move back home and be close to my family.
Q: Give us a brief summary of your background in tech.
A: I’ve been working in the technology sector for over ten years now. I’ve always enjoyed to tinkering with electronics and fell in love when I saw the inside of my first computer. Fast forward a couple of years and I’m now running my own consulting firm building products for clients all over the world.
Q: Tell us about your company, what does your company do or make?
A: The primary product of my company is Abacus. A student information system designed for the way schools in Belize and the surrounding region operates.
Q: What problem does your company aim to solve?
A: Both my mother and wife are educators. One thing they always mentioned to me was that they often only see parents at report card time. For some children that would be too late for them and they had already failed the term. I wanted to give all the stakeholders a way to keep tabs on what was happening in the scholastic lives of the children.
Q: How does the current version of your product solve that problem?
A: Abacus solves that issue by providing real time information on a child’s day to day progress. Grades, merits, demerits, attendance, detentions, JUGS, suspensions, probation’s are all captured real time and presented in a easy to understand dashboard. Children, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators all have access to a child’s progress allowing them to take a proactive approach to guiding the child’s success.
Q: What is your company’s mission?
A: Abacus aims to be a drop in solution for schools needing a student information system.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a startup founder?
A: My biggest challenge is balancing my time. I love software development and its very easy for me to spend hours in front of my machine working on a new feature.
Q: Did you ever feel like giving up?
A: Thankfully for me I love what i do so its not hard to find the drive to keep pushing.
Q: What has been your biggest victory?
A: My biggest victory was some feedback I received from two of the schools using it. One school saw an 150% increase in the number of exam passes after they started using Abacus. At another school the counselor was monitoring the students when she noticed a child’s grades slipping. Through some intervention she came to learn the child was having problems at home and was able to counsel the child through the difficult time. By the end of the semester the child was back on honor roll.
Q: How did it make you feel?
A: I felt really happy knowing that my software was making such a positive difference in the lives of thousands of children all across the country.
Q: What lessons have you learned from your successes?
A: Its not always about the money. One of my “Power Users” who is always coming up with ideas for new features was one of my charity cases. The ideas and suggestions that she provides to me adds so much value to the system, that I have been able to charge a premium to bigger customers.
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to an aspiring tech startup founder, what would it be?
A: Don’t be afraid to bootstrap. If your idea / product is valuable then you will not have a problem finding customers. Prove your market first then try to scale.
Q: Has your company received funding? If so, what type of funding? From who?
A: We were profitable from day 1. The initial app was bootstrapped and got a sale on the first presentation. Again, do enough research to make sure there is a market for your product / idea and you’ll be sure to make it.
Q: How can users find more info on your company?
A: People can learn more by visiting http://abacus.bz/
Q: Where can they buy your product?
A: If you are interested in purchasing my product then feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll hook them up with a discount.
Q: How can people contact/follow you/your company?
A: Twitter – @mauricerogersjr
Email – email@example.com
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