SXSW 2014 Launch: ROIKOI

We are doing a series of Q&A features around Austin-based companies that are launching their company or their product at SXSW 2014. If you’d like to be featured as well, please use the Submit News button. Today’s feature is with Andy Wolfe, CEO of ROIKOI.

ROIKOI LogoQ: Explain what you do in a way that my dad can understand?
ROIKOI is a new way to find and feature the great people at every company. Using anonymous peer rating, ROIKOI scores and ranks everyone on leaderboards organized by company, geography and industry to highlight the people that everyone loves working with. ROIKOI combs users’ Facebook friends and work history to identify people they’ve worked with and then lets users rate them with a simple hire or fire (or skip) vote. Then we calculate a score, or ROIKOI, that ranks users on leaderboards compared to others, and we show the top half of those leaderboards to showcase the best people.

Q: Where did this idea come from?
We saw a need to find and connect great people. My friend Ryan is a great guy and a really talented designer, but he is naturally shy and isn’t a good networker. I often found myself singing his praises and telling people how awesome he is. We all know people like Ryan, but they can be hard to find even though we individually know who they are. ROIKOI is a way to highlight people that do great work and are great to work with.

Q: What if I don’t rate well or don’t want colleagues to know that I don’t like them?
Our goal is to feature great scores and great people, so we only show names for people in the top of any given leaderboard. People who didn’t score at the top aren’t shown, and how users vote is never shown. Anonymity is key to authenticity. We want your ratings to be honest, and we want your colleagues to be honest in return. ROIKOI makes sure information about who you rate is never posted or viewable. We encourage users to share an outstanding rank on a leaderboard, their enjoyment of using the service, or to invite friends, but that’s it. We care about your privacy and will never disclose your ratings to other users or third parties without your explicit permission.

Q: Who are the hard working geniuses behind the company?
We’re proud of the great team of Austin-based entrepreneurs and engineers behind ROIKOI. I worked in product management at Bazaarvoice and Square Root. We have three full-time engineers – Dustin Mihalik, Aaron Forsander and Andy Nguyen – who have built a beautiful and clean product. And we’ve been lucky to have some part-time help with engineering, design, marketing and UI from great people like Jon Loyens, Alex Sexton, Victor Trac, Ryan Stevens, Becky White and Christian Rice. We’ve also been fortunate to have advisors such as Marc Davis, Chris Kerns, Ryan Pitylak, Andrew Busey, Sam Decker and Brett Hurt.

Q: We’ll know we made it when:
We’ve set some incremental goals for ourselves, like milestone user numbers by certain points in time, but we’re more interested in the quality of visits than the quantity. Do the people who use it like using it? Do they think it’s accurate? Do they make new connections? Do they tell their friends? We’ll know we’ve built a winner when our users become repeat users and keep coming back to see how their leaderboards are changing.

SXSW 2014 Launch: ROIKOI