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5 Questions With John Machacek: ZulaFly

Photo by Kayleigh Omang

John Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past seven years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them.

Here is John Machacek’s 5 questions for ZulaFly, a local startup making waves in the security industry.

1. What is your ZulaFly elevator pitch?

ZulaFly is an industry-leading software and platform solution. Our solution provides workflow, locating, i.e. the ability to search and locate people and equipment, temperature monitoring of fridges, freezers, and rooms, across multiple locations in a cloud-hosted environment or on-site implementation. Think of ZulaFly as an indoor GPS system. Our solutions work in multiple industries; all aspects of the healthcare continuum and education, to name a few. Our customers utilize our mobile app to quickly locate anyone or anything in a matter of seconds and can also call for assistance with a simple badge button press.

2. How do businesses typically use Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) and what are the benefits?

In the 10+ years we have been dedicated to the real-time locating space, there has definitely been a shift in what facilities are looking to accomplish. Asset management used to be the first application customers would roll out so that they could see a hard dollar ROI by no longer buying replacement equipment they could now find. But most recently, we have seen a shift to patient workflow being a primary focus. Facilities want to understand where and how long patients are spending time in their facility, identify bottlenecks, how much time providers are spending with patients and essentially, how do they become more efficient, while providing better care. Staff safety and temperature monitoring of medication fridges and freezers are both critical applications we see almost all facilities utilize as well. Providing an RTLS solution for the senior care space allows residents to move freely throughout the facility with the ability to call for assistance from anywhere.

3. Your team works remotely.  Do you have any advice for other companies trying effectively managing remote employees?

Communication is key.  When having employees located in different locations and time zones, it is important to set clear expectations around core business working hours.  Although working remotely is not for everyone, no longer having a commute to and from work is a huge bonus especially depending on location. As a software development company, most developers are heads down, do not miss the distractions of an office environment and feel like they get more done by easily going into their home office to work.  ZulaFly has a cloud-hosted solution, so not only can our employees work from anywhere, we can also deploy and configure a new customer from anywhere.

4. If you could go back in time to Stephanie and Lori from five years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourselves?

Being wise enough to know the process of creating a software solution would take at a minimum twice as long as you anticipate, there will be more bumps in the road than you expect, and although it will be harder than you expected it would be, the reward of building a company and solution that is used worldwide is second to none.  We also would have been more focused early on, instead of trying to do too much. As a start-up, you are trying to ‘do it all’ to succeed while trying to find your niche customer base. Looking back, there were projects we would not have taken on, but as a start-up, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to any opportunity. Some of the best advice we have had along the way is to remember that some days it will feel like you are the ball, and other days you will feel like the kicker. There are many highs and lows, you need to be able to roll with the punches and continue moving forward.

5. What can we do as a community to help ZulaFly succeed?

Continue to add programs like Prime Academy to help fulfill the tech jobs that are primarily needed in the FM area. Software Developers and Quality Assurance Engineers are in high demand throughout the U.S., as ZulaFly expands we are always looking for local talent.

John Machacek.
Photo by Hillary Ehlen

About John: John Machacek has been helping local startups with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation since Prior to his position with the GFMED, Machacek was the VP of Finance & Operations at United Way of Cass-Clay and a business banker at U.S. Bank.

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