Making decisions is never easy, and having to make a group decision that impacts an organization further complicates the matter. University of Waterloo students Greg Maxin and Ahmed Hamodi recognized this problem and sought to find an innovative solution to help organizations to save time, remove bias, and make informed group decisions. After this recognition, they began development on a new venture and started working on DecisionHub (previously known as Arbitrium). Through their hard work, dedication, and perseverance they created a promising decision making platform. Their idea gained enough traction and impressed our judges so much that, they were able to win the Winter 2021 Concept $5K Finals.
Since their win, they entered the Concept Cornerstone program and further developed their platform, while acquiring a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs. After completing the program, we sat down with Greg and Ahmed to talk about their experience and what’s next for DecisionHub.
Q: What was the reason that you decided to join the Cornerstone Program?
A: After we had the initial idea, we put in a lot of work behind the scenes on developing it. We lacked some of the skills that were highlighted in the program and wanted to further improve these to better set us up for future success. We also wanted to go beyond the product development and further improve our knowledge and understanding of the business elements and how we could bring this venture to life.
Q: What part of the Cornerstone program was the most useful for your team?
A: The marketing and sales portion of the program was super helpful. We were a bit inexperienced with sales pitches and this portion of the program taught us some best practices and different ways to approach sales. On top of that, we got some great feedback about our market size and the market space we were in and started to realize that we may need to start targeting a different market segment.
Q: How did your business evolve over the course of the program?
A: The product itself saw little change, but the market we were addressing did. Initially we were focused on the not-for-profit space, but we sensed there was more opportunity if we shifted our focus elsewhere. We learned a lot of different paths we can take with this idea along with the pros and cons for each. This understanding and recognition will allow for our future decisions to be much more well informed.
Q: Was there anything new or unexpected you learned about your customers?
A: We learned just how much some of our potential customers valued DecisionHub. This showcased a real need and helped us to better understood and implement our pricing strategy. We were undervaluing our idea so this helped us realize the monetary value being provided.
Q: Did Cornerstone help you to develop your network and create meaningful connections?
A: We connected with the coaches that involved in the program, but also with some of their networks. The Coaches were super helpful in not only suggesting people for us to connect with, but also introducing us to people they knew that would be helpful and we were able to connect with them.
Q: Was there a specific milestone you are particularly proud of that you accomplished in the program?
A: During this program we held a sales meeting, that was pretty big milestone for us. We also completed the coding and implemented a big feature into our product offering and launched our website.
Q: What would you say to teams considering joining Cornerstone in the future?
A: Go for it. There is a lot of value you can get if you put the work and time in. Getting critiques and feedback from the experienced Coaches and Velocity Business Advisors in our meetings was incredibly helpful. You definitely get out what you put into it, so if you want to make the most of the program you need to put in the time and commit to it. It was a lot more practical than some courses and provided really useful feedback that was specific to our business, market and our technology.
To see other UWaterloo teams with promising startup ideas and the right teams to take them to market, check out this semester’s Concept $5K Finals on July 29, 2021. DecisionHub was a Winter 2021 $5k Grant Winner!