Alison McMahon and Sherman Tsang, Co-Founders of TwoFold, are active members of our startup community. They're often first in line to welcome new faces at member coffee and socials. Alison and Sherman are wonderful examples of creative collisions in action.
We sat down with Alison to chat about TwoFold and their Startup Edmonton experiences.
Q: What are you building at Startup Edmonton?
A: At TwoFold, we focus on team relationship management. We empower small businesses to have great managers who understand the vision, reputation and values of the company and can rally employees around this. We do this through HR advice and technology.
As businesses grow, they rely on strong managers to move business goals forward and manage employees. However, many managers aren’t taught how to do the “HR” side of their job – integrate new employees, give feedback and solve employee-based problems if they arise.
Playing on our consulting background, we have recently launched “Premium HR Advice” – an online tool for business owners and managers to get HR advice on-demand. We find that many small businesses need help with issues as they arise (everything from maternity leave to layoffs) but they don’t want to engage with an expensive consultant.
At TwoFold we provide pay-as-you-go pricing to connect with a HR Specialist when you need it. (We also offer unlimited use packages for companies with higher demand.) It’s a great way to bring HR expertise into a business but in a non-traditional way.
Q: What drew you to Startup Edmonton and how has the community changed during your time here?
A: We originally joined Startup Edmonton for the co-working space. Sherman and I each worked from home offices but live across town from each other, so we really needed a central space that was conducive to getting work done. The social space at Startup was perfect for this. Today we are dedicated members and have our own desk space for our team.
Throughout our time at Startup, we have participated in Flightpath and we were a 2014 Launch Party company. Startup Edmonton is an awesome community and we have watched numerous companies grow from working in the social space, to resident desks, to their own small office. Some are growing out the space, which is totally the point!
Q: How has the community inspired you?
A: Being a member of Startup Edmonton means you get to meet super-awesome people. Inspiration isn’t always about big, lofty accomplishments. For me, it’s more about working next to other teams that really want to make an impact on the world, and seeing the daily grind. Being an entrepreneur is rewarding but it’s really, really hard work. Knowing that other people are working through the same challenges is uplifting and motivating.
Q: Who is one of your mentors & what is the greatest lesson they taught you?
A: As part of the Flightpath program, we’ve had a lot of conversations with Ken Bautista and Cam Linke. They have spent a lot of time with us - vetting ideas, making connections and supporting us as we grow.
Recently Ken encouraged us to spend some time outside of Edmonton to get perspective on the larger tech industry and how we fit into that world. This summer we made a trip to San Francisco and New York and it allowed us to look at our business from a new angle. Edmonton is a great incubator for business but it’s also a relatively immature market in the technology space. This was a step that I’m glad we were encouraged to take.
Warehouse District (and beyond) Favourites:
- Drink: Homemade Gin & Tonic from the Three Boars Eatery.
- Bite: Tzin has a small but awesome kitchen. (Make a reservation.)
- Activity: Startup Member Socials are my fav.