FN Members Mark Oden & Andy Steuer Launch Taskware!

5 min read

Huge congrats to FN’ers Mark Oden and Andy Steuer who announced the launch of Taskware this week.  The official launch announcement reposted below; please share it to help them get the word out!

In Mark’s words, “There is a cool full circle story with founders network: When I was a partner with FN through Cisco I invited Andy to join. A year later here I am co-founding a sister company with him!”.

Mark and Andy’s story is a perfect example of FN’s vision for lifelong success through peer mentorship. In the past 7 years, we’ve seen multiple founders shut down or move jobs and then team up.

Congrats Gents!

– KH

Mark and Andy’s story is a perfect example of FN’s vision for lifelong success through peer mentorship.

The Taskware Developer Platform is now available! It was a lot of work to get this point, and I want to share how it all came to life. It all started as what I like to call a Good Karma story.

In my previous role at Cisco, I was invited by Luke Lightning of LAUNCH to join a Dreamforce marketing event hosted by Microsoft last year. As these events go, I found myself in a corner of a restaurant in downtown San Francisco, which was so full even the waitstaff had trouble navigating the crowd. Rather than trying to work through the crowd, I found myself next to an adjacent bar in the same restaurant where I met Andy Steuer, Co-Founder and CEO of Helpware and a couple of his colleagues.

Andy and I hit it off instantly. After a long-winded story about managing to work San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt and attend post-Burning Man festivities in the same weekend, Andy invited me to Los Angeles to look at how we could integrate Helpware’s modern approach to People as a Service for Customer Support, Accounting, Marketing, and Administrative tasks into modern chat applications.

Helpware builds and manages back office and customer support teams for clients. The next frontier was to explore how Helpware could elegantly plug in to Cisco Spark so that its users could instantly have a workforce on demand to help with back office tasks, like customer support, design work, managing paid search and Facebook campaigns, analytics reporting, accounting support, and many other back office and administrative tasks.

Huddled in Andy’s office with a whiteboard, we brainstormed various models and ideated an on-demand chat-accessible assistant that could help with various tasks like booking travel, market research, managing sales presentation changes and proposals, analytics reporting, etc. Helpware was accepted into the $300M Cisco Spark Innovation Fund, and took on the task of developing this integration and it was subsequently launched on the Cisco Spark Depot as Helpware Now. A win-win for Andy and me!

After the successful launch of the Cisco Spark Depot, I took a 6-month sabbatical to travel Latin America. I kept in touch with Andy, a kindred spirit, who encouraged the walkabout and self-exploration. During that time, Helpware Now triggered its next-generation concept: Taskware.

Upon returning to the real world, I met Andy in LA. We talked about the evolution of Taskware and he invited me to join as General Manager and Co-Founder, leading efforts to bring the product to market and build the business.

So, here we are!

The Taskware Developer Platform brings the ability to scale teams instantly through RESTful APIs. It enables developers to send us microtasks to execute–things like Audio/Video/Image Transcriptions, Translations, Image Annotation, Data Organization tasks like Categorization and Comparisons, and Phone Calling Campaigns where real people place calls to collect market research data or even disseminate information (like Hurricane Harvey pre- and post-emergency notifications to residents in affected areas).

The Taskware Developer Platform is like having an elastic workforce in the cloud. We manage the workforce and have quality assurances in place to make sure our customers get the best quality and efficient results, at the lowest rates possible($0.30/minute in some cases!). Through Helpware’s existing HR, operations infrastructure, and physical office locations, we were able to build a team of Taskware Taskers on-site who work to execute the Tasks on hand. Our approach helps deliver highly accurate work to startups and enterprises alike, and they can rest assured that their data is protected and kept confidential.

With the incredible technological shift towards Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Autonomous Vehicles, tremendous amounts of data are being collected that needs to be processed. We at Taskware are confident that we can be the on-demand team you need to help sort, organize, and label these datasets. So your developers can instead focus on testing and training their ML/AI algorithms. Similarly, we aim to revolutionize Medical, Legal, and Financial industries, which need consistent and accurate on-demand Audio Transcriptions, Translations, and Data Extraction tasks to be completed.

With the Taskware Developer Platform, you don’t need to cover the high costs of having your engineering team crunch data or execute repetitive manual tasks. And, let’s face it, no developer wants that anyway!

I’m very excited to be on this new journey and am touched at how Good Karma can bring new business ventures to the table. If you’d like to learn more, check out the newly launched Taskware web site, and let’s find time to talk.

Looking forward to helping you get more stuff done,

-Mark Oden


Source: Solving Complex AI and Machine Learning Challenges with Human Intelligence with Taskware | Mark Oden | Pulse | LinkedIn

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