The Early Days with Marlina: Building Fortay
Welcome to The Early Days: a series checking in with kickass Founders sharing honest lessons, tips & tricks and a sneak peek into building from the ground up, in public.
Company culture isn't beer or kombucha flowing taps (while nice 💓) or other things like ping-pong tables or massage chairs. Company culture is the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they're doing to get it there. Fortay is building a Team Success Platform to help companies build diverse, values-aligned, and healthy workplaces where everyone and your company thrive.
This is Marlina's story of building Fortay. Mostly unedited because it's that good.
Tell us about your startup/business
Fortay.ai, or as we call ourselves, The Team Success Platform, is a leading enterprise employee experience platform that helps innovative organizations build diverse, healthy, high-performance cultures for organizational success. You can think of us as culture health as a software service. Fortay is based on a revolutionary, holistic, human-centered approach to drive better business outcomes with powerful modern research and advanced AI technology.
What need or problem are you solving?
We're solving complex workplace cultural issues that impede the goal of building diverse, high-performing cultures and teams at scale. Low employee engagement, productivity, team performance, and high turnover are symptoms of a root cause. All business problems are people problems, and the data points to exclusion in the workplace. This is a $7 trillion dollar problem worth solving.
What makes Fortay different than your competitors?
Fortay.ai provides a comprehensive and robust Employee Experience (EX) platform designed to help build diverse, healthy, high-performing workplaces across the full talent lifecycle – from recruitment to exit. Our core differentiators include a proprietary people-first approach infusing DEIB, neuroscience, and org effectiveness, a product to drive values alignment at recruitment with native and patented tech, a scientifically-validated product to develop inclusive leaders and managers, and DEIB workforce insights and action plans.
We’re helping leaders understand missed links or correlations between hiring, turnover, engagement, diversity, inequities, and exclusion previously.
What are your goals for 2023?
Raise capital to expand our team, 10X our ARR, and add customer and market-demanded functionality, product integrations, and powerful AI models like GPT-3!
What is the biggest win you’ve had so far?
Do you mean outside of bootstrapping our way to a robust and impactful WorkTech platform – thanks to our customers? Because this is so hard to do, and we did it, it will always be our biggest win. However, last year we landed our first pilot with a Fortune 100 company from prospect to close with no connections! It was a successful pilot too!
How big can your company be?
Definitely a multi-billion dollar company! According to analysts, the current market opportunity is $300 billion, and the problem we’re solving is a massive $7.8 trillion! Gallup has been measuring the global cost of disengagement and poor management for decades. Acquisitions in our space, like Qualtrics, Peakon, and Glint, are additional proof points.
What kind of help do you need from the investors in the Kernal community?
That's kind; thanks for the question. We weren't ready for investors before but are now! We wanted to prove our approach, and product differentiation and show a strong LTV CAC ratio. We would be grateful for warm intros to investors focused on enterprise, work tech/HR, and/or women founders. We'd also love to chat about a partnership to serve their portfolio companies or intros to HR/DEI or talent acquisition leaders.
What excites you about Fortay’s future?
Growing a world-class team and making the world of work better for all employees! More specifically, adding more powerful technology like GPT-3 and developing impactful solutions to help coach employees, develop deeper insights in a fraction of the time it takes today, and accurately measure the impact on business outcomes of a human-centred approach.
What's one new technology that excites you?
I’m overly excited about GPT-3, as it’s the most powerful AI model I’ve seen, and there are several valuable applications for HR and business leaders. It’s early days, but already it’s a game-changer for busy leaders and managers who constantly context-switch throughout the day. It will save us significant time, automate tedious work, improve our employee communications, and allow us more time for human-centred work like coaching.
💭 Closing Thoughts
🎉🚀 Fortay is a leading employee experience platform that's changing the game in how businesses tackle complex workplace issues. Marlina is on a mission to build a purpose-driven company that fights exclusion, reduces biases, and identifies root causes. 🏆 Fortay's biggest win so far was landing its first pilot with a Fortune 100 company, which was a huge success! Now, Fortay has a strong product-market fit, and it's time to raise capital and become a well-known brand for forward-thinking business leaders.
Keeping up with Marlina 👀
Do you have an idea that you're itching to share? Post here and watch your seeds grow into a forest. 🌲🌳🌲🌳
With nearly 10,000 members, 2,000 startup ideas and 200 MVPs, Kernal is an expanding community of founders, operators, and investors focused on validating and building pre-seed startup ideas. Post new ideas, browse startups with momentum, and get expert feedback to take the next steps of scaling your startup idea. This exclusive community is the most supportive place to be for builders at this stage in their journey. We welcome you to join here.