Today I’m excited to be announcing our investment in MOVE Guides, a business that aims to transform the relocation industry with a next generation software-as-a-service platform.
It reminded me of one of my favorite tracks called ‘Move on Up’ by Curtis Mayfield. The end of the first verse goes like this:
So in the meantime, move on up towards your destination
Though you may find from time to time complications
Anyone who has been through a relocation process knows that you do indeed encounter your fair share of complications. And this applies not just to the employee but also to the HR team that manage the process.
I moved from the UK to New York in 2002 with MessageLabs and the experience was painful in so many ways. I remember it took weeks to set up a bank account and even longer to get a mobile phone. It also took a huge amount of time to find an apartment and then fill it with everything I needed. There was also the stress of having to pay for everything myself and then wait for the company to reimburse me. I actually ended up getting my mother out to help as I just couldn’t cope with it all!
I think MessageLabs was no different to most companies. We didn’t have a well-worked policy for relocation but like most growing companies quickly found that some relocations were an important part of building a global business. We also didn’t have the budget to pay for one of the expensive, people-based relocation services that are available. So we started assigning lump sums to every employee being relocated and left them to get on with it. The problem with that is that it leads to a time-consuming and frustrating process for the employee and no accountability for the employer.
Brynne Herbert, the Founder and CEO of MOVE Guides, articulates their mission to shake up the sleepy world of relocation in a very compelling way and she is unquestionably a talented entrepreneur who you believe will make this happen. The story becomes even more interesting when you realize this sleepy industry is worth around $40bn and rising.
MOVE Guides combines content, suppliers and service into a single web-based platform. It also includes an e-Wallet to manage the payments and company-wide reporting. In this way the platform delivers tremendous value for both the employer and the company in the form of improved employee satisfaction, greater productivity and reduced costs.
The service was only launched a year ago and clients, ranging from large multi-national firms to start-ups, have already completed thousands of employee moves with an amazing employee satisfaction rating of 99%.
MOVE Guides is leveraging three of the biggest trends in the IT industry right now in mobile, cloud computing and internationalization. Businesses are becoming more global as they look to open up new markets and also work increasingly in virtual teams. Cloud computing is transforming the software industry from one that was tethered to a particular device or location to one that is centrally hosted and accessible from anywhere. Lastly, most of us now have a computer in our pocket and expect services to take advantage of this and work as well, if not better, on ourmobile devices.
These profound changes in the way we work and use technology suggest that the timing is right for a next generation relocation service that will meet the expectations of a new generation of employees and their increasingly global employers. We certainly think so and believe the company has a very exciting future ahead of it.