Swiss Startup Makes Board Meetings More Efficient
Even at companies that thrive on innovation, board meetings tend to be low-tech affairs.
Typically, directors are handed a thick stack of papers before the meeting to help them prepare. It can be a cumbersome task, one in which it’s hard to stay organized.
The Swiss firm Sherpany is transforming board meetings through Boardroom, its subscription-based software that’s designed to help members make more effective decisions, and without all the stress associated with a paper system. All the documents they need are easily accessible on their mobile device, whether it’s running iOS or Windows 10. Users can also sign in on other devices via the web using a recent browser.
The tool comes packed with user-friendly features, like a personalized dashboard that allows the user to keep tabs on multiple committee matters at once. It also comes with a question-and-answer function that provides rapid feedback from members of the management team.
Board members can annotate documents or access the history of a topic with a swipe of their hand, a clear benefit to busy corporate executives. At a time when risk management is a top priority at many organizations, Sherpany believes having that information at one’s fingertips can be an invaluable asset.
The goal is to make meetings more productive by allowing participants to focus on the outcome, not the process. The company explains that its objective is to “encourage the evolution of meeting culture through a delightful, easy-to-use and secure meeting management SaaS.”
“We reduce waste by cutting administrative, organizational and repetitive work and spare resources like paper, shipping and transportation,” says Sherpany CEO Tobias Häckermann.
A Fast-Growing Market
Sherpany got its start in 2012 by launching the first software platform in which investors could cast their votes electronically. Soon after, it unveiled Boardroom, a product it saw as a game-changer in the way board meetings get done.
The market has clearly bought into the idea. Just five years ago, the company had a total of 10 corporate clients. Today, roughly 210 companies are using its technology, and its users include some of the biggest corporations in Europe.
Sherpany’s customer base and physical presence continue to grow. In addition to its Zurich headquarters, the company now has satellite offices in Paris, Milan, Lisbon and Wroclaw, Poland.
That success, the company says, is in no small part to the programmers, designers and engineers who make up much of its small staff. In total, the company has around 50 employees who have made Sherpany the fastest-growing startup in Switzerland.
Even the company’s name, a nod to the Sherpas who guide climbers up some of the most treacherous slopes on earth, suggests its emphasis on innovation. The company’s goal, according to its website, is to grasp for new frontiers and help those intrepid customers who have come along for the journey.
Considering the amount of competition hovering around the software-as-a-service market today, Häckermann is particularly proud of the business’s trajectory. “A potential customer may have to sort through hundreds of applications available in dozens of different app stores to find a solution to fit their needs,” he says. “You have to stand out from the masses, whether it be with a special feature or an outstanding service.”
Sherpany’s latest version of the app, Boardroom 3, recently earned the Silver Stevie® Award in the “Mobile Site and App” categories at The 2017 International Business Awards, which received entries from more than 60 countries around the world.
“It gave our staff the recognition they deserved for all their hard work,” says Häckermann. “It also provides prestige for our clients, who love to be associated with the award.”