Christine Churchwell (top right) is the Marketing Director at Tech 2000, an education technology company her father, George Churchwell (left) incorporated in 1991. Like many, Christine has more than one job at her company. She’s nurturing two-year old training and sales support apps: appnetic and Lumious by fiddling, building, supporting, and improving native and web-based apps at the 32+ person company her dad founded in northern Virginia because her mother, Jeanne Churchwell, is from there.
“My mom comes from an operations background and has always been an entrepreneur. She’s sold jewelry and image consulting and has worked for McDonnell Douglas on the operations side.”
Christine describes her dad
“In the 1980’s, late 70’s, my dad was a techie, geeky guy always fiddling with weird networks and computers. He was one of the people certified to teach CRS3, a super technical piece of Cisco equipment. He became a trainer on how to use Cisco hardware, a documentation writer — he helped write Cisco’s early training books — then he hired other people to do the training and write documentation.”
“Today, my dad runs the sales side of the business and the lab area. He’s always massaging tiny ideas,” said Christine. “His favorite thing to do is invest in things on Kickstarter. He’s always seeing connections in things.”
George Churchwell is a training Jedi Master passing along startup secrets to his daughters. This latter-day guild artisan is passing his craft onto the next generation.
Growing Up with the Business
Since age 16, Christine and her younger sister, Jackie, have helped out at Tech 2000 earning allowance doing things like “emptying whitepaper trash,” (Happily, the position is obsolete in 2015.)
Since graduation in 2009, she has added a favorite part of her experience, mobile app development and tweaking of expertly-designed training apps in the company’s innovation workshop. Her younger sister, Jackie, does recruiting HR and manages about 8 interns a year in a paid intern program.
New Spinoff Apps
New native and web-based training apps 1. appnetic and 2. Lumious make it easier 1. to manage marketing and sales resources and promotions and 2. add Artificial Intelligence to self-directed on the job training tools.
What Appnetic Does
Appnetic delivers relevant content to your sales team. Its platform enables quick search on web or mobile devices, prompts interaction, and gathers data on content performance for timely updates.
Appnetic can be customized with company colors, logos, and icon. It is meant to be used in the field with prospects or clients. The platform can be used to manage materials to support the sales and marketing process. It helps:
- Prepare sales reps fully with updated collateral materials for calls
- Direct the proper sales process
- Get new sales reps and account managers up to speed quickly
- Leave an audit trail for how marketing collateral and presentation materials are use
- Provide a feedback mechanism on marketing collateral
- Efficiently push information into the field.
Christine says: A salesperson stopped by to see me and I demonstrated the app’s search accuracy and a salesperson said: ‘That’s great. Yesterday, I looked on my laptop for about a half hour for that document.'”
It also focuses on gathering feedback and measuring most-referenced material. It facilitates regular updates of the most-valuable marketing materials and provides additional answers. It is still a managed service as opposed to a serve-yourself app.
The Lumious SaaS offering captures data and provides analytics and insights on all learning activities, incorporating those of virtual and mobile learners. Corporate learning and HR departments can use this to identify outperformers and underperformers very early in the training process, provide remediation, and personalized learning.
The Love Train
The way Christine sees it, her parents met at work somewhere, fell in love, and got together to build their own company. “Dad and mom balance each other. Mom’s the perfect Ying to his Yang,” she says.
Tech 2000 has been a Cisco Learning Specialized Partner CLSP since the mid 1990s, producing for Learning@Cisco, online training for customers who use their product. The large number of products to sell by a large number of salespersons made mobile apps to keep current sales material within reach.
This past September, Tech 2000 raised $3 million that it will deploy to complete the apps’ self-serve version.
“We’re super excited about this funding round, which will allow us to aggressively expand our appnetic and Lumious enterprise software as service businesses,” said Tien Wong, who led an investor group to acquire 90% of Tech 2000 in May 2013, and became Chairman and CEO.
Tech 2000 has won the CISCO learning partner Innovator of the Year award for the past six years. Christine laughs when she tells you this past year Cisco changed the name of the award to “Partner of the Year, because “…they said we just can’t keep giving you the award every year.”
Tech 2000 expanded its training-facilitation services to HP, and other large organizations with an immediate need to streamline its most effective marketing information by creating software to keep it organized, monitor and assess its content and use, and keep updated, sending push notifications to update.
Their feedback helps to refine the app and identify desired features and experiences. Lean startup meets Santa’s workshop.