By Beth Perdue
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — One of New Bedford’s hottest young start-ups has opened an office in Cambridge, but that doesn’t mean it is leaving the Southcoast behind, according to co-founder Phil Beauregard.
Objective Logistics, a start-up software firm that specializes in restaurant workplace optimization, recently secured $1.5 million in venture capital in a round led by Google Ventures and Atlas Venture.
The deal came together in a whirlwind, according to Southcoast native Beauregard, with Atlas Venture making the first commitment. Asked who else he’d like to work with, Beauregard, 30, said he quickly answered Rich Miner, of Google Ventures. Miner is the co-founder of Android.
“To be the CEO of a Google Ventures-backed company is, in my mind, the top of the hill”»Everybody is smiling,” said Beauregard about the news. “On a personal level, I never imagined that for a million years.”
Beauregard founded Objective Logistics in 2009 with partner Matthew Grace, a Dartmouth native and UMass Dartmouth graduate. The start-up raised $500,000 from angel investors in an earlier funding round. It currently has five employees working to develop its software product, MUSE.
The business will continue to operate from its New Bedford office in addition to its Cambridge site, Beauregard said.
MUSE is designed to give restaurant owners a better picture of what is working in their establishment by presenting large amounts of data in a way that owners can use. According to Beauregard, the software tracks a number of variables including which staff members are most efficient, what tables are most productive, what hours are busiest, and more. The product creates a merit-based economic system in the workplace, he said.
“It has to do with creating motivation and through behavioral science creating a system of rewards through specific behaviors, and then automating that for technology,” Beauregard said.
According to Beauregard, the software will gamify the workplace, meaning it will create game-like layers to reward productive behavior. The idea is similar to the approach taken by SCVNGR Inc. CEO Seth Priebatsch, Beauregard said. Beauregard credits Priebatsch with being the first person to create a game layer on top of the everyday world.
“Let’s take fun elements and reward certain behaviors so people don’t feel like they’re just going through the drudge,” he said.
MUSE is currently being used in some Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant chain locations, including Beverly and Acton, but is not yet ready for full marketing.
“It’s going well,” Beauregard said about software development. “But there are still some kinks to work out; us being the perfectionists that we are.”
Beauregard expects Objective Logistics to grow from its five employees to about 15 to 20 in the next six months and that eventually, the business will build a full sales force for MUSE. But, right now, he said, business is going well just through inbound-oriented marketing.
“We have more than we can handle at this time,” said Beauregard about web inquiries they’ve received. “We could sell one unit to upwards of 30,000 units. It’s like holding a tiger by its tail.”
With his own career firmly placed on an entrepreneurial path, Beauregard wants to help others, specifically college students, succeed as entrepreneurs and has begun talking to UMass Dartmouth about possible starting a educational program.
The program, he said, would include experiential learning experiences with successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
“I’m not talking about academics, with no offense to academics because they’re extremely well-versed in some subjects”»but you need people who have been there and done that,” said Beauregard.
A graduate of the Wharton School who worked in investment banking in capital markets, Beauregard believes he might never have considered starting his own firm if not for the financial crisis of 2008.
“I think I was just following a well-worn path and I thought it was the correct one because everybody else said it was,” he said.
He’d like to help students find their inner “Mark Zuckerberg,” because, he said, “everybody fixates on Facebook as the gold standard.”
December 22, 2011 5:46 PM
By Beth Perdue