booxi is a privately held company based in Montreal (QC) Canada, founded in 2013. It gathers experienced entrepreneurs who took upon themselves to provide a virtual task force to self-employed professionals and small businesses in the service sector. Their mission is to provide a virtual assistant working for the professionals and enabling them to do more in less time. The work of this virtual assistant starts with taking appointment requests from clients at all time, as well as approving, reminding and recalling those appointments based on rules specific to the professional's way of conducting business. As the virtual assistant learns about a business it will be able to analysis activities and crunch numbers in order to provide advices, as well as perform marketing and various administrative tasks. The assistant objective is to learn about the business and automate as many tasks as possible, freeing owners from repetitive tasks taking them away from their expertise, passion and personal time. We intend to fill up the virtual brain with lots of local and market segment specific business knowledge, so a virtual assistant can provide good business advices and monitor results. There are lots of software available for businesses, but they always require time investment, whether it is to configure them properly, to perform data entry or to run data analysis and get to understand what comes out. booxi’s virtual assistants will work for whom may hire them.
Even though we had success in a previous business, the desire to bring real solutions to important problems was not fulfilled yet. On a market perspective we wanted to experience mass and horizontal market, but had lots of background working with businesses in a vertical market. We had in mind to work with a mass of small business and self employed professionals. On a Tuesday night when one of the founders realized, that he had again forgotten to call for a haircut (thinking of his wife with a disappointed look at his hair). He realized that it was absurd how many times people forget to book appointments during the day and often hit voicemail when they remember to call. The question was raised out of frustration "Why can't I book an appointment online, the same way I do a Google search?". This first question lead to meetings and focus groups to find out that small businesses need help to reduce the time they spend on appointment management, just as well as they don't have time to complete several administrative tasks, or don't have the knowledge or interest in doing so. Tasks such as appointment reminder calls, recalls, inquiry information from clients, run surveys, mass mailing, promotion, gain online visibility, and analysis of their business performance in their local market. Suddenly our scope was much larger and the de We started with a lean startup project, but rapidly realised that providing a product early would not cover enough of what businesses need. So we took more time to make sure we had something good enough that they could stick to. Although we have a long list of features and alternatives that we are eager to test with small groups, we currently focus on getting traction with the first product.
booxi's core team members come from the same previous successful business - DTI Software - including DTI's co-founder and CTO Daniel Laplante. A team that made a promise to work together again in the future and is now making it happen. Marc-André Bruneau co-founder joined the team with Carlo, Peter, Martin, and Xavier where each of them has a specific expertise to offer. The lean startup could not afford salaries when it started, so when Daniel first met with Peter for the project, Peter's reaction was "I don't care about the money, I just want to work on the project man!" and the rest of the team got in on the same premises. The team is highly motivated by the common desire to work together and create products that makes a difference.