New York-based Harvest is a perfect example of how a side-project can turn out to become an incredibly succesful start-up. The company's founders built the tool out of pure necessity, as they couldn't find an invoicing tool that was simple and easy to use. They soon started to invest more time into their invoicing and time tracking app, while of course tracking their own time properly as well, and made the tool so rich in features that some of the world's top brands like Volkswagen and Oasics even use their web app. Naama Bloom, head of marketing at Harvest, takes us through the history of the company and their beliefs about time and invoice tracking.
Could you tell us a bit more about who you are and what you do at Harvest?
I head up our Marketing efforts at Harvest. Prior to joining Harvest, I spent 9 years at American Express OPEN, which is the small business card group. I worked on a number of initiatives including OPENForum.com, customer acquisition, live events and account development.
What motivated your company’s founders to build this tool?
Danny Wen and Shawn Liu, Harvest's co-founders were running their own web design studio called Iridesco. As their business grew, they searched for tools to help them scale. One particular pain point was time tracking. They wanted something well designed that took user experience seriously. Since they couldn't find what they were looking for, they decided to build it themselves.
Which types of businesses do you mainly target?
Our product is ideally suited for professional services organizations who bill for their time. However, we have seen a large number of non-profits and product driven companies use our tool. It's a great tool for helping you understand what you and your team are working on. The data you collect in Harvest is very important for keeping projects on time and profitable.
Why should we opt for an online invoicing tool that has time tracking?
We live in an on-the-go world. It's important that your most important tools travel with you. With Harvest, there are more than 10 ways to capture your time while you work. Harvest provides the flexibility to work anywhere and access your data wherever and whenever you need it. Plus, with online software you never have to worry about upgrading to the newest available version. You benefit from all updates in real time.
What is the best tip you'd like to give to current users of Harvest to optimize their experience with the product?
The best way to really understand how much time you're spending on tasks is to track time as you go. Once you make it a habit, it becomes second nature. It's more efficient and more accurate than filling out your timesheet at the end of the week.
Are there any other neat apps that will soon be compatible as an add-on with Harvest?
We have more than 50 products that are integrated with Harvest and are always adding more. You can see them here: Harvest Add-Ons.
How is working in the Harvest team like?
Harvest is a great place to work. We have a collaborative environment and 2 very approachable and engaged founders. Ideas and opinions are respected and we strive to create an environment where people can also pursue outside interests. In short, it's a group of smart, talented individuals with a varied set of interests.
What is your personal favorite feature of your product?
There are 2 features that I can no longer live without. First, I use the reports to understand where my time is going and make sure I'm focusing on the right things. Second, our iPhone app let's you snap pictures of receipts and use them for your expense reports. That makes travel so much easier. In my old job I used to return to work with a ton of paper receipts, now I just snap a photo and toss them out.
What does the future hold for your company?
We want to continue designing and developing great solutions for our customers.
Why should entrepreneurs choose New York as the haven for their startups?
New York is a cultural and business hub. When you're based here you have the benefit of being surrounded by a wide variety of industries which means you have unlimited expertise to tap. Our start-up culture is supportive and growing. It's a great time to build a business here.