By Keith van der Linde
Endeavor Entrepreneur Ryan Falkenberg knows that most school leavers have little hope of getting formally employed. That’s why he developed Clevva, the software system that gives ordinary people the decision-making prowess of experts.
What motivated you to start Clevva?
My whole career has been dedicated to solving the riddle of, “How can someone who lacks knowledge or experience but who has the right attitude and aptitude, be empowered to perform effectively without having to endure boring training sessions?” I decided to find a way to enable a person with the right attitude and aptitude, but who may lack knowledge and experience, to become highly employable. Not only would this help businesses grow, but it would make thousands of young people social assets (as opposed to social liabilities).
What exactly does Clevva do?
Clevva allows companies to capture the logic that experts use in making predictable decisions and performing predictable activities. For example, you can now get a sales person to successfully sell hundreds of complex products as if they were a product expert. This is because Clevva guides them through the client discussion, analyses the client need, recommends the right products, and then automates the quote while they talk to their client. It allows them to focus more on their interpersonal skills without worrying about making a basic error.
What do you regard as the biggest success of Clevva?
Our biggest success has been that off one platform, we have managed to enable an inexperienced sales person to effectively sell 12 000 products with limited product knowledge.
The biggest challenge?
As a new brand, operating in a new category of technology, it takes longer than I would like to get companies to understand exactly what Clevva is (and is not), and what it can potentially do for their business.
How would you describe your personal journey with the company?
My journey really began 18 years ago as a change management consultant. It was there that I realised that people were really struggling to keep up with the rate of business change, and the complexity of the environment they were asked to operate in. I then turned my attention to finding ways of helping people thrive in complex, changing environments. This led me down the path of workplace learning and smart performance support technologies. Clevva is the culmination of over 15 years of blood, sweat and tears.
What role has Endeavor played in your personal development?
My relationship with Endeavor stretches over 8 years, as an Endeavor entrepreneur, as a panelist, and as a mentor. What has been most satisfying is the privilege to interact with top corporate leaders and to build friendships with some of the most passionate, talented entrepreneurs on the planet. This incredible network both inspires and teaches. It places you in the company of greats, and thereby asks great things of you in return.
Do you consider yourself a born entrepreneur?
I really don’t know. I have always been very clear about what makes me happy and what I want to achieve in my life. That clarity and self-belief has helped me make certain decisions without necessarily being that clear on exactly how things would pan out. As long as I felt passionate enough about what I wanted to do, and was clear that it would be valued by the market, I trusted that it would work out OK. So far I have been lucky.
Do you have any expansion plans for the future?
You betcha. We have every intention of being a global business within the next 3-years.
If you could advise the entrepreneurs of tomorrow one thing, what would it be?
Once you are clear about what it is that makes you happy, what you value, and what your personal goals are, you can then start exploring the best way to achieve these goals (and whether this matches what the market wants). If any of your goals refer to security or making money, rather consider a corporate career. If your goals refer to making a difference in the world or leaving a personal legacy, then maybe your own business is the right answer for you. Surround yourself with people who share your dream, refuse to ever give up, and before you know it, your collective dreams may just become reality.
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