Leban Arreh and Abdi Ali, along with Adam Omar and Mohamed Abdulkadir, are Co-Founders of Tikler. They have been each operating in the Saas Software space professionally over the last 3-4 years while also dabbling in small side projects here and there.
The idea of Tikler was conceived back in May of 2020 during the height of Covid to help companies improve their information management in a world that is increasingly going virtual.
Follow Tikler on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About Tikler
- The main problem to solve
- Information management
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay built in Atlanta. On Pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at onpay.com. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor here, another episode of GSU ENI radio, and this is going to be a good one today on the show, we have Leban Arreh and Abdi Ali with Tikler. Welcome, guys. Now, before we get too far into things, tell us about Tikler. How are you serving, folks?
Abdi Ali: [00:00:50] Yeah, thanks, Lee. Well, we’ve actually just launched we had a soft launch back in February, but we are a information management platform or software, so our mission is to really simplify information management organizations and give people back their time of day instead of doing routine manual work of finding details and documents and email threads and all the things that can hamper you down on a day to day.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:15] So now, like what exactly is information management like everybody is just seems to be acquiring lots and lots of information, and it’s coming from a variety of places. And I mean, information is a big word that covers a lot of ground.
Abdi Ali: [00:01:31] No, that that is an excellent point, and I’m glad you asked that question, actually. It’s a broad, broad subject, if you will. It’s a pretty vague word term as well. But when you think about it, the example I like to give is if you own a small business or a medium sized work for a medium size or even a Fortune 500 company, oftentimes you’ll find that you’re dealing with business documents, contracts and, you know, minutes of meetings, whatever it may be. And a lot of the times people are using spreadsheets to capture and track and communicate using email and then also using folder directories. A lot of that time can be spent searching for information and tracking it and communicating it on a timely basis. And so we thought of why don’t we bring all of those elements together in a single platform just so that to eliminate at the end of the day, any silos and information or communication that may exist within teams, departments and really individuals. So it is a broad term, but our mission really our our initial mission started with solving the task at hand for us is solving the issue with document management and then expanding out to other forms of information. So we started with documents and we really want to create an environment where people are moving away from spreadsheets, moving away from folder directories and more, so moving into a collaborative environment.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:57] So now I have a small business and tell me if if you can help us with this. So like we have somebody that sells a deal, then somebody else has to onboard that person. Then somebody else has to kind of manage that person and then somebody has to, you know, just keep supporting them over time. And then at some point they’re going to have to kind of sell them the next deal. And a lot of times we lose track of where certain things are and why, you know, did this get covered? Did they get this? Is this a solution for that where like, everybody has access to everything and then you can kind of find whatever you need because it’s all in one place?
Abdi Ali: [00:03:39] Yeah, it sounds like a great fit. It very well could be. Ultimately, the dream is to create a single source of truth. So ideally if, let’s say in your scenario that you’ve outlined, you bring on a new customer and there’s contracts and documentation relating to that. But then there’s also the communication pieces you’ve mentioned and the knowledge retention, as well as just the tasks and reminders necessary to be on top of it. All of that would ideally live in one ecosystem, which would be tickler instead of you having to potentially, I would assume, create a spreadsheet to document that and then going back and forth and forth over email threads.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:23] Now, would it work that like, say, I have one customer and then I know that all the customers are going to go on this similar journey? Can I kind of clone that information and then start another conversation? And so that all of that information now is so I don’t have to recreate the wheel every time I can remember all the stuff I have to do and all the components of it, because I can just kind of clone it and then make it used for the next customer.
Abdi Ali: [00:04:51] To an extent. Absolutely, absolutely. For us, it’s all about process improvement, you know, making something routine where there’s not multiple ways of doing it. So in our platform, there’s a component where you can create templates, and those templates would allow you to every single time you’re doing an action that’s repeatable, do it the same exact way. And that at the end of the day is going to facilitate a means where if you have other staff or other employees working on the same tasks, there’s there’s not a a version versus a levered version of documentation. It’s more so you guys are following the straight and narrow path and ultimately having that single source of truth that you can always reference back to do so.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:33] Absolutely. So now who is the customer for this? Are you targeting like enterprise level companies or are they franchises or like, who is the best use case for this?
Leban Arreh: [00:05:43] Yeah, that’s great. When we initially started, we believe Typekit was meant for everyone, but as you know, product for everyone is for no one. So now we’re trying to niche that a little bit. And so based on our customer discovery, we don’t want to go through the enterprise route, not the self-service route. So right now, we’re speaking to contract managers and accountants at the moment. And so we’re actually happy enough to. We’re continuing talks with Georgia State University’s Contract IT department team, and we’re actually onboarding them pretty soon. So that’s kind of our target market for now.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:16] And then what was the how did the idea come about? What was the genesis of the idea?
Leban Arreh: [00:06:21] Yeah, in terms of how we came up with tickler. Yeah. Ok, I’ll let Abby take that. So go ahead. Tell them the funny story on how we can realistically.
Abdi Ali: [00:06:32] Yeah, it was actually it was just a spur of the moment like to try to think of different ideas for starting businesses. And, you know, back in October, it was in its infant phase infancy. That’s the correct term back in March of twenty twenty, just sleeping late at night. Are Semi consciously thought of, hey, why? Why am I still using Google Drive supplement supplemented by a spreadsheet to just keep track of all the information on my day to day? There must be something better than that, especially specifically information management, not to be confused with project management or anything like that. Pull my phone out, and I usually run ideas by Lebanon law and took a chance and 3:00 a.m. In the morning, I called him up and said, Hey, why don’t we combine a spreadsheet with a folder and a calendar and see what happens? And he, you know, incoherently, of course, and it’s 3:00 a.m. in the morning. And he said, what? And that’s pretty much where the journey started from. So. Luckily, he was awake to take my call like he was awake to take my crazy call at that late in the morning or early in the morning. And from there I ran the idea by our other co-founders and it became a coalbed baby.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:50] Now where are you at? So you, you have an actual prototype. This is in in live in the wild or and you’re looking like you mentioned one partner. Is that the beta test for this? The guinea pig?
Abdi Ali: [00:08:06] Yeah. Yeah, so they are it’s a closed beta right now. We have two entities using it or organizations. One of those hopefully is going to be fully on board, which is one of the departments within Georgia state. It is in production fully built out for the initial problem that we solved. But you know, we have a long roadmap in terms of enhancements we want to do down the line and really make this the tool that we dreamed we dreamt about. But in its four v one is out and is up and live and running.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:37] Well, congratulations. That’s a big achievement.
Abdi Ali: [00:08:41] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:42] Now, how did you get involved with the Main Street Entrepreneurship Seed Fund?
Leban Arreh: [00:08:47] Yeah. So I actually came across where we’re Georgia state alumni and a few of our friends that we know of actually done the first round of Main Street Fund. And I remember looking at it and you know, this was during right before COVID hit and I told myself, Hey, if me and our local friends, we ever come up with an idea, this is where we need to go to Main Street Fund. You know, the turnout was amazing. The feedback was amazing. So I believe this was back in May of 2020, where it wasn’t really announced that, you know, the Main Street fund wasn’t going to be having a second one because COVID and all that. So I remember reaching out cold, emailing m’kay and asking him, Hey, whenever the next quarter, Hood is like, Let us know we have. We have an idea and this is before we built it out. And we definitely want to pursue it. And then a few months later, Nick called us back and we kind of told him, like, Yeah, we just developed product and we’re interested. And so we kind of went through there and applied and got in. And so, yeah, so that’s kind of the journey on how we found out on Main Street.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:43] Now your background, you each are working in in SAS companies, right? Like you’re kind of already onto your career and this is a side hustle that you know with dreams of, you know, a happy ending at the end. Is that accurate?
Leban Arreh: [00:10:01] Absolutely. Like, like I mentioned before me and we’ve been talk of starting business for the last few years and you know, us being in the SAS space kind of open things up in terms of solving problems through software. And yet right now we are working full time, but tickler is kind of our our second full time job as well. And so as we gain traction, we’re looking to grow it into something bigger.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:23] Now, any advice for other people that are working and then might have several friends that share this common interest to put together a group to at least experiment with business ideas like you’ve done?
Abdi Ali: [00:10:36] Yeah, my main advice would be just to get started, and that’s pretty vague, but I know for us this is not our first go around. We’ve actually had a project we worked on previously together and wasn’t as successful as we wanted, but it was a learning experience, so a lot of the time fear can get in the way. It’s OK to fail. Just start an hour a day is going to get you farther along your your goals or your ambition. So we started just idea phase writing it down on a piece of paper and then gradually progress towards actually building it out. You know, if it motivates anybody, we’re not technical co-founders either of us. We’re not developers at the end of the day. So we’ve outsourced all of this and kind of just grown our internal network. So, you know, don’t be afraid to start and really just if you’re excited and passionate about something, just give it a run. Anything can be achieved. At the end of the day, you don’t have to be an expert in the subject matter in which you’re trying to solve a problem. So it can become more.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:36] So how did you find that the technologist?
Abdi Ali: [00:11:40] Oh, yeah. It took a lot of kind of just research and understanding of the market in terms of, you know, do we have a budget for this? What would be most cost effective? At the end of the day, we went overseas, our developers are located in India. That was also another big gamble. You know, we’re wiring money overseas. Is this actually going to work out or are we going to be scammed? So it took a lot of, I would say, conversations and back and forth between the teams there and demoing their products and what they’ve worked on. But ultimately, we found a great partner overseas who’s been great and developing the product, allowing us to build the knowledge in the space at the same time. So it’s it’s we like to think of it as an MBA that we’ve paid for, as well as a product that we’ve built
Lee Kantor: [00:12:31] And what’s been the most rewarding part of the journey so far.
Abdi Ali: [00:12:37] Um, it’s. I’ll let you take it, but for me, it’s personally been just working with your friends, you know, a lot of the times people say, don’t go into business with your friends, but if you have a good set of friends and you have the same vision and the mission, it’s every day is an exciting day. So for me and also the most rewarding aspect of it is coming together with a common goal and seeing it come into fruition. You know, if we if you know, we’re the product itself, just self standing alone today is ultimately our biggest success. So even if we don’t spend another moment on it, I think this is kind of like something that I would love to frame and put on my wall. You know,
Leban Arreh: [00:13:17] Just to kind of piggy off of that. Yet definitely, it’s just the thing I love about the most is just having an idea and seeing through that idea. And it’s definitely hard doing alone. But when you have other like minded founders, you know you have someone else pushing you. So maybe one day you don’t feel like working, but then your other co-founders, you see them closing deals or or progressing, and that kind of motivates you to work on it. Even more so, I think the journey in itself is rewarded.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:41] Well, congratulations on all the success. If somebody wants to learn more, is their website.
Leban Arreh: [00:13:47] Absolutely. Yes, they can find us at tickler o t k l e r o. You know if you guys are interested. We are. We are looking to partner up with folks as well. And if you want to try the software, reach out to either me or. We’re also on LinkedIn as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:01] Well, thank you again for sharing your story. You’re doing important work, and we appreciate you.
Leban Arreh: [00:14:06] Absolutely. Thank you.
Abdi Ali: [00:14:07] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:08] Finally, all right, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll sail next time on GSU any radio.
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