MyTime.com founder and CEO Ethan Anderson spoke to EDCUtah's investors during the economic development organization's Quarterly Investor Update meeting last week at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City, where he said his startup company is happy to have its sales and service office in Utah and is trying to ramp up its employment here.
MyTime is a Silicon Valley startup that recently located in Utah to escape the Bay Area's labor challenges, regulatory environment and expensive operating costs. Through its website and mobile app, MyTime allows consumers to find and book appointments from over 2.5 million nearby small businesses. Anderson said millions of consumers come to MyTime to schedule appointments for services such as haircuts, massages, dog grooming and hundreds of other services.
Consumers can book appointments with their service providers 24/7, even when the business has closed for the day, and with MyTime's award winning mobile website and iPhone app, the appointments can be scheduled from anywhere. Appointments can also be easily rescheduled or canceled without needing to call the business directly.
"It's an idea whose time has come," said Anderson. "We are powering the connection between consumers and small businesses."
The company has grown its Utah team to 20 employees, but that's only half of where it would like to be. MyTime's first employment milestone is 40 employees in the Salt Lake City office. The company offers $18-$20 per hour, significant equity, a full benefits package and catered meals. MyTime is actively participating in job fairs and other recruiting events to promote itself to prospective employees.
Anderson said Utah's low unemployment rate is somewhat of a recruiting challenge, but so is the cultural mindset that it's too risky to work for a startup. "With a startup, a lot of things have to go right. We are pushing new boundaries and new frontiers," he said. "People don't always feel comfortable with the risk or the fact that we are not profitable today."
However, at this point in MyTime's growth path, Anderson said it is more important to become a dominant player in the industry, with thousands of businesses and millions of consumers, to be in a position to win in the competitive space. "If we step off the gas in customer acquisition and growth, how are we going to beat Yelp.com or Groupon.com? The only way we can be significant long term is if we are their size and scope," he added, referring to Yelp and Groupon.
It requires an attitude to be part of a startup, he said, noting that it is "okay to take risks."
Before founding MyTime, Anderson was co-founder and CEO at Redbeacon, a successful startup that allowed consumers to request bids for home services. Redbeacon was a venture-backed business that won numerous awards, including the grand prize at the 2009 TechCrunch50 competition and Business Insider's Startup 2010, before being acquired by The Home Depot.
While it was good that his first startup was a success, Anderson said Redbeacon didn't change the world. "I really felt that there was something bigger I could do. I enjoyed working with small business owners and a startup like MyTime can help small businesses," he explained. "We are creating the most popular online destination in America to find and book appointments. Any appointment-based business will have access to a large marketplace of consumers looking for services."
Before introducing Anderson, EDCUtah President and CEO Jeff Edwards provided investors with a project report. He noted that EDCUtah has 23 project wins year-to-date, creating 4,000 new jobs and retaining 3,300 Utah jobs that were headed out of state. Further, the organization has assisted companies in 32 site visits and is actively working 190 projects. Utah is on the short list in 36 of those projects, while seven projects are in the final stages of decision-making.
Edwards said EDCUtah is adding 10-12 new projects every month. Approximately 44 percent of the open projects are in manufacturing, nine percent are in information/IT, seven percent in finance and insurance and four percent are in distribution/warehousing.
"Manufacturing projects have always made up a large portion of our pipeline," he noted, "but we are seeing solid growth in information/IT, data center, finance and insurance and back office projects."
Some of the most recent project wins include JBS USA Holdings, Inc., a manufacturing project in Cache County that will create 120 jobs and include a $75 million capital investment; Black Diamond, which will reshore 90 manufacturing jobs to its headquarters in Salt Lake County; and inQpharm, a wholesale trade project that will add 14 jobs and a $70,000 capital investment in Salt Lake County.