What began as a Minnesota startup company with two products and five partners has since evolved into a diversified startup consulting agency with one mission: get more Minnesota tech to market…faster.
Formerly known as Mxapp, Prodality is the combined result of two successful internal technologies (Lunchbox & Waitmaster) and collaborative experiences between fellow developers, tech entrepreneurs and local software companies.
“There’s plenty of people in Minnesota who can produce great technology, but if there no real-world business strategy, what happens?” questions the President of Prodality, Parag Shah. “Clearly, some tech entrepreneurs excel at both areas while others fail. We’re here for the those who know they can’t do it all.”
Shah is the consummate entrepreneur who has been scratching his itch since high school when he formed Shah Ink to seize a middle-man opportunity in the ink cartridge business. While a student of entrepreneurial studies at the U of M’s CSOM, he conceived Mxapp, LLC and Lunchbox — a targeted marketing platform to put restaurant menus into the hands of mobile consumers.
Mxapp, a 2009 Minnesota Cup student division finalist, eventually spawned a text-based paging system for restaurant hosts called Waitmaster. Both products are currently deployed amongst restaurants such as Granite City and Buffalo Wild Wings, which generates revenue to support the greater Prodality team, including Sarah Young and Whitney Johnson.
More recently, the firm has collaborated with local startup 4Crowd, Golden Valley-based IntelAccount, Quality Bunker and another stealth Minnesota startup that operates in the “digital legacy” space. It’s through these experiences that the idea to create an agency model for other local startups was shaped according to Shah.
“There are pain points that we have learned to identify early on. From ideation and market research to sales, distribution and customer development — our team is focused on partnering with ambitious Minnesota entrepreneurs and startups who want to work smarter together to increase the collective odds of winning,” says Shah. “It can be as simple as coming to us with an idea or a problem, discussing what needs to be done, determining who brings what to the table and establishing an equity partnership to get after it.”
It sure sounds simple when coming from the amiable Shah, but will it work and is it sustainable?
“Startups are risky business and it may not work out, but we’re learning every day and are willing to put skin in the game to prove our belief in and commitment to truly innovative technology partners. I want to build Prodality to the point where we’re working with the best talent in the field to help get new Minnesota tech to market faster,” he says.
Considering the noticeable uptick in the Minnesota startup community, it’s not hard to imagine a growing market for Prodality’s services, whereas the real challenge will be in not spreading too thin on stakes under-performing investments. Compared to the incredibly low probability of success that every startup and new technology (in general) faces, more collaborations and diversification of this nature only seem to make sense.