Kenect is marking its 5th anniversary this week, and to help celebrate we are sharing some of the stories that got us to where we are today.
President and COO Jeff Jones recently spoke about the beginnings of Kenect. It started with just 3 employees, and about a dozen businesses using the platform. Now, we continue to grow each day, making things easier for businesses to reach out to customers.
Jeff took some time to share some of his memories of the early days of Kenect, and what it meant to him.
Exhilarating and stressful. I spent the early part of my career working for Fortune 200 companies. It was great and I wouldn’t change anything about that. Those experiences taught me everything I know about business, but my true dream, deep down, was to start a business from scratch. So, to have finally taken that leap of faith and started something from nothing was exhilarating. I was living my dreams and loving every minute of it. But it was very stressful. Being an entrepreneur is very different from being raised in the corporate world. I had a lot to learn. On top of the steep learning curve, I was married and had four young children, which meant the risk of failure had huge implications to my personal life. But my wife had 100% trust that we could figure it out. So, with that blind trust, we jumped off the diving board right into the deep end of entrepreneurship. It’s been a wild ride!
Kenect 1.0 was really focused on helping small businesses generate online reviews. We all care about reviews. It’s how we shop. Small business owners recognize that and care deeply about their online reputation so, generating dozens of a five-star reviews was something they cared deeply about. The challenge was not helping them generate reviews. That was a given. Our challenge was more around trying to figure out how to stay relevant over the course of time as more and more companies started offering review management as part of their product offering. While doing customer research on how they were using our product, we discovered that consumers want to text message businesses. Text messaging has quickly become our preferred form of communication. For many of us, we’ve been texting friends and family for well over 20 years now. So, we’re used to it and already using text messaging on a daily business. Why not give consumers the ability to also text message businesses? That was the moment we knew we had a platform that could grow, scale and truly change the way small businesses operate.
I’m extremely excited about the future of Kenect! As the business continues to grow, the challenges that need to be solved continue to evolve. That’s what is fun about being an entrepreneur – the challenges never stop. I sleep well at night knowing that we have an incredible team with an amazing product that our customers truly love. It’s still exhilarating five years into the journey. The future looks brighter than ever, and we have very ambitious goals to accomplish over the next five years.