Movista Success Story
SituationMovista is the leading enterprise platform for flawless in-store execution. Founded in 2010 by industry veterans who experienced the challenges of managing distributed workforces firsthand, Movista has harmonized the retail ecosystem by giving all stakeholders one version of the truth. Retailers, brands and service providers on the platform gain access to unprecedented visibility and accountability which ensures ALL locations are merchandised on-time and correctly…every time. This results in a superior experience for employees and customers, and dramatic increases to the bottom line.
CHALLENGERetail is hyper-competitive, and with increasing pressures on brick and mortar retail, the intensity will likely only increase. Retailers and brands go to great lengths to procure the right blend of product and price and draw a shopper’s eye to the exact spot on a shelf their product occupies. Unfortunately, many of the special projects that a manufacturer plans to have in-store, and for which they pay the retailer a hefty placement fee, never execute according to their best laid plans. Competing priorities, the reduction of labor and other operational costs, and challenges communicating and collaborating create a less than optimal environment.
The gap between ideation and execution is a real, and expensive, chasm in today’s retail environment. The gulf spread even wider in 2009, when Movista’s co-founders, Stan Zylowski and April Seggebruch, met in the University of Arkansas’s Executive MBA program. Each of them had logged time on retail execution teams. After beginning his career in direct sales, Zylowski joined the corporate world in 1999 as a field merchandiser. For 11 years, he enjoyed great success in varied roles including brand management, sports marketing, major account management, and operations. In her pre Movista days, Seggebruch worked on Tyson Foods Corporate Strategy and Development group, and in myriad roles on a selling team dedicated to the Sam’s Club and Walmart businesses.
Late in their degree program, Dr. Carol Reeves, Associate Vice-Provost for Entrepreneurship, challenged them to develop a solution to a real-world problem. Drawing from their retail operations experience, Seggebruch and Zylowski developed the concept for Movista. In 2009, they left their full-time jobs to start Movista.
SolutionMovista brings together all the stakeholders in a retail environment on a single platform to manage and report on in-store execution. The company’s platform greatly simplifies the creation and assignment of projects to employees working in retail stores.
Initially conceived as a kiosk solution, Seggebruch and Zylowski abandoned their initial MVP after a 2010 meeting in which they had planned to discuss AirCards and cellular data plans with their AT&T representative. During the meeting, their rep pulled out his shiny new iPad to walk through their options. Enraptured by the power and ease-of-use the new device promised, they pivoted the company’s entire development path, moving the solution into a 100% natively mobile position.
Today the Movista solution runs on over 1,300 different device models of Android and iOS mobile devices. The company counts retailers, manufacturers and third-party service providers in its roster of customers. At its simplest, Movista facilitates the creation of projects using a web-based portal. Customers assign projects to specific locations and for specific roles. The field team workers use Movista’s mobile application to retrieve project instructions and to document project completion.
The application verifies each worker’s time on projects and geolocation for reporting purposes. Wrapped around this core functionality, the solution also provides functionality for remote file sharing and management, scheduling, payroll administration and inventory management.
What began as a platform for individual companies to track the work of their field teams is today transforming into a multi-layered platform for coordinating work and communication between retailers, their suppliers, and service companies that serve both. A retailer on Movista’s platform can not only manage work streams for their store based employees, but they can also track work being done on their behalf by suppliers and labor providers and use the platform to proactively communicate with those companies to improve the overall retail experience for customers, which benefits all three parties in the ecosystem.
ResultsMovista got started with Zylowski’s and Seggebruch’s spark of inspiration, and capital investments from their friends and family. In addition, they also received some much needed assistance from the State of Arkansas in the form of investment via the state’s Seed Capital Investment Program and tax credits from its Targeted R&D Program.
“We founded our company out of a great idea and the support of the state, including the University of Arkansas and the AEDC,” said Seggebruch. “In our early days, we were one of the few technology startups in the area. Now we are part of a burgeoning ecosystem of strategic technologists helping to attract talent and additional investment in Northwest Arkansas, which is quickly becoming the center for worldwide retail innovation thanks in no small part to the assistance provided by the State.”
“Like many others, I moved to Arkansas because of the professional opportunities. What we didn’t anticipate was the amazing quality of life” said Zylowski. “Movista was born and bred in Arkansas and this is where we will stay. State programs, University and investors made our success possible and continue to support our growth. Additionally, if you operate in the retail market, all the players are here.”
In September of 2018, Movista accepted it’s first round of venture capital funding from Level Equity, a software-focused growth company with $1.65 billion in managed assets at the time of the investment. Movista keeps 100% of its product and technology teams stateside, and the majority of its employees reside in Arkansas. Not only has the company focused an Arkansas-based employment strategy, it has grown the payroll for those employees by triple digits every year since 2013.
Movista today stands at just over 100 employees. In the fall of 2019, the company acquired its most significant rival, Natural Insight, and will devote much of 2020 to integrating the two platforms into one unified technology solution. While no one can predict exactly how the mercurial retail industry will evolve over the next 5-10 years, you can bet Movista will be there, making it easier to plan, execute and report on retail operations.
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Fast Fact: Movista is the leading enterprise platform for flawless in-store execution.