Index Ventures has led a $870,000 seed round into Resource Guru, a London-based startup that wants to disrupt companies’ use of spreadsheets to manage staff, equipment and other resources — and replace them with its cloud-based team scheduling software.
“Most managers still rely on complicated spreadsheets or cumbersome software to manage their teams and resources, neither of which makes allocating resources particularly easy and efficient,” said Robin Klein, partner at Index Ventures, in a statement. “We’ve been impressed how Resource Guru tackled this problem with its simple to use online tool that leads to huge time savings and increased productivity.”
Prior to this round Resource Guru, which was founded back in May 2011, had raised money from friends, family and angel investors. Other investors in the seed round included both existing and new names but these have not been disclosed. Its total funding to date stands at $1.14 million.
Resource Guru said it will use the new funding to “accelerate hiring, product development and customer acquisition”. The startup launched its scheduling app in May 2012 but is not currently breaking out customer numbers (although it name-drops Saatchi & Saatchi, Vodafone, Intel, Roche, ASOS and National Geographic Channel as among the unknown number).
It also says users of its platform have created more than 296,000 bookings on over 31,000 projects, so make of that what you will.
One thing to note is it’s not gone down the freemium route, but rather charges a subscription fee for all users of its software. This starts at $19 per month for a “mini” offering (for up to 10 people), rising to $99+ for a “premium plus” offering that covers 80+ users.
When you’re trying to convince companies to ditch spreadsheets and switch to a dedicated scheduling tool, your biggest differentiator is undoubtedly the relative slickness of the user experience. So that’s where Resource Guru says it has focused its energies.
“When we designed Resource Guru, there was no reference point — apart from the spreadsheets people were using. We started from scratch and re-thought the whole process,” says co-founder Andrew Rogoff.
The software includes a booking section for visualising how resources are being used at given points, a “clash management engine” to prevent over-booking, and a waiting list feature so in-demand resources don’t get hogged by the same early bird from accounts. The availability of people and resources can be filtered — based on factors such as skill-set — so users can locate the right person for a given job within the required time-frame.
The software also generates “utilization rates” — so you can identify under- and over-used resources (or staffers), as well as tracking how much time is being spent on which projects/clients, and who’s been working on what. In other words: keep tabs on your staff.
It’s a feature-set that overlaps somewhat with time-management software offerings — such as Harvest – although Rogoff rejects the comparison, saying Harvest is focused on “timesheets and the past” whereas Resource Guru targets “forecasting for the future”, adding that that “has been a severely under-served area until now”.
In terms of direct competitors, aside from spreadsheets, he names the likes of Synergist and Deltek‘s Resource Planning offering as having “scheduling as part of their overall solution”. But again he rejects any direct comparison.
“We don’t really consider them to be direct competitors because they are expensive, clunky and bloated with unnecessary features,” he adds.