Andrew Reid, founder and president of corporate innovation of Vancouver-based Vision Critical, has announced the launch of his own startup, VC Labs, dedicated to developing software that helps organizations better understand their insight communities.
If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Vision Critical itself is dedicated to providing software to organizations looking for continuous feedback on their products from insight communities, the collective term the company uses for customers, employees, fans, and partners. Reid will be leaving the Vision Critical executive team, but will continue to be a significant shareholder and active board participant.
For its part, VC Labs wants to act as a technology partner to companies, and will have three areas of focus: community inputs, member engagement, and stakeholder value adds. To do this, VC Labs will build solutions for conversing with community members through social networks, gamified surveys, and creating stakeholder portals and dashboards.
“Vision Critical is one of Canada’s great tech success stories, and Andrew has been at the epicentre of building what is now a truly global business serving some of the world’s most recognizable brands,” said Scott Miller, CEO of Vision Critical. “The recent launch of our upgraded platform and its open architecture makes this a perfect time for Andrew to focus his entrepreneurial drive and creativity toward this new venture, which will also be a new technology ally for our organization, building new solutions that help customers extend the value in their insight communities.”
While VC Labs is technically independent, it will work closely with Vision Critical. Reid said that he decided to start a company based on his work with Vision Critical rather than a brand new startup because he sees the momentum around the customer community market.
“VC Labs will be building solutions that extend the Vision Critical Sparq platform, adding capabilities that can be integrated with the platform in three main areas: community inputs, member engagement, and value-adds for stakeholders,” said Reid. “Its reason for being is to identify, develop, and deploy solutions that enhance the value of communities. These are not part of the core functionality of the platform, but will plug into it and provide organizations with more options to expand on what they’re doing with their insight communities.”
VC Labs is self-funded, and will operate as a technology partner to Vision Critical, and Reid anticipates that Vision Critical and VC Labs will work in close collaboration in reaching out to clients as its applications will integrate with the Vision Critical platform.
Reid founded Vision Critical in 2000 with the goal of improving the market research process. With Vision Critical’s software, brands can create secure, online communities of thousands of customers they can turn to on an ongoing basis for insight to inform better business decisions. Since its founding, Vision Critical has become one of the companies under close watch to IPO, and sold off its research consulting division to focus on its software.
“My passion is in building companies from the ground up. After launching Vision Critical 16 years ago and seeing its accelerating success and growth, I’m ready to start a new venture,” said Reid. “As the shift to customer-centricity continues to gain momentum and provide new opportunities, VC LABS will develop new solutions, complementary to Vision Critical, that help innovative brands make the most of their communities.”