Today we’d like to introduce you to Peter Swaniker.
Hi Peter, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m originally from Ghana, West Africa, where I studied software engineering. I immigrated to San Diego to marry my American girlfriend and launched my career in tech in California. I started as a developer at a variety of companies and studied at night to get my MBA while working during the day. Eventually, I cashed in my 401K plan and invested everything into starting Ximble, a new company that made scheduling software. Seven years later, Ximble was acquired for an eight-figure amount. In early 2021, I launched monitorQA, a mobile inspection software platform used for health and safety audits.
I had the idea when speaking to a restaurant manager during the pandemic and learned that they did all the health inspections using paper forms and spreadsheets to track non-compliance. That brings us to today: another startup company, raising investment capital, and continuing the entrepreneur’s journey and living out the American dream with my family in San Diego.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The entrepreneur’s journey is always a rocky road. I’m a software engineer by training. But when you start a company, you suddenly need to wear many hats. There’s one thing that most founder CEOs must do that they’ve never done before: raise investment capital. I’m an engineer, not a salesman, so raising capital is new to me. I’m learning how to open the door to potential investors and how to pitch them. I’m reading a lot about the venture capital fundraising process, and it’s really helpful to me. Ultimately, everyone does sales, so a lot of what I’m learning I can apply to other areas of the business.
Similarly, I made some mistakes because I didn’t know enough about user experience. In my last company, I didn’t spend enough time with actual potential customers, so the software we built had some fundamental flaws in it because we didn’t understand the detailed needs of the customer. The business logic that informed the software was wrong. We had to completely rebuild the software. Since then, I learned to completely immerse myself in the world of the customer before building. Learning to wear these different hats has been a great learning experience for me.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about monitorQA?
monitorQA is a software platform for doing mobile inspections and audits. It’s used by retail stores, restaurants, factories, and any other business that sends inspectors into the field to audit compliance to standards. The data is collected via a phone or tablet using our mobile app. Headquarters can then slice and dice the data to get valuable insights into their operations and spot trends in non-compliance. This allows companies to take action to prevent non-compliance in the future and catch emerging issues before they become big problems. Our clients are companies that value compliance to health, safety, and quality standards.
Compliance monitoring takes on different forms at different companies. Typically, large companies use software packages that are big, complicated, expensive ERP systems. Small and mid-size companies often still use paper checklists and spreadsheets to do audits and track corrective actions. So, we created an app that is sleek, easy (almost fun) to use, and affordable. We’re making compliance monitoring simple and efficient and helping companies achieve operational excellence.
Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
As a kid in Africa, I grew tomatoes in our backyard and then sold them to our neighbors. I remember the feeling I got from that very first small business. It sparked a lifetime love of entrepreneurship. However, I’m glad I didn’t pursue that idea too far because I don’t think I’d be a very good farmer.