From Ship Driver to Library Space Entrepreneur

3 min read

Recently, Deziner Software partnered with Gale to launch Gale Small Business Builder in the public library space. This self-guided online resource is designed to help budding entrepreneurs and seasoned small business owners create a business plan and discover more about themselves and their finances. It seems now like such a natural path, given the thousands of users the online resource has attracted since its launch at ALA Annual 2017, yet only three years ago, the team at Deziner didn’t even know that libraries offered services for entrepreneurs.

The story began in 2012, when Matt Quigley, Deziner’s COO, was a naval officer on deployment in Manama, Bahrain. On a rather quiet night at sea, he had a discussion with his fellow officers about what they wanted to do when they separated from the Navy. Matt wanted to open a “Geek Bar” in downtown San Diego, the type that would be a perfect fit for Comic-Con goers. After considering it a bit more, he realized he needed a significant amount of money to get started—and a business plan.

He turned to his father, Mark, an investment banker at the time and current Deziner CEO, for some direction on where to get started. After answering a series of questions with “I don’t know,” combined with Mark’s experience working with startups seeking investment capital, they had an idea for a cloud-based business planning system. As luck would have it, Matt knew someone with computer programming experience, his roommate from the US Naval Academy, Greg Syme.

Together, they began to build the software and launched the program in the fall of 2014. Timing was on their side, as they participated in the Ideas to Profits, a business plan competition in DuPage County, a suburb of Chicago.  They won first place among almost 40 companies. Again, another turn of fate. In the audience was a business librarian, Kent Palmer from Naperville Public Library. He approached their team and asked if they had considered selling the product to libraries, which they hadn’t. After some market research and the realization that libraries were expanding their services to partner more closely with their business communities, they retooled their software to appeal to libraries.

During the development process, the Deziner team experienced first hand just how libraries support startups, from help with conducting market research to providing a work space, and the expertise the library staff offered every step of the way. They debuted their updated business plan software made for libraries at the ALA Annual 2015 and found significant interest and enthusiasm. The following year after adding multiple customers and refining their product, they met Gale, and the partnership formed.

Deziner is a not a success story of selling a product to libraries, it’s one of discovering the entrepreneurial spirit, resources, and possibilities available in a modern library.  Deziner is both a child of and partner to the library world and its growing involvement with entrepreneurship.

Complete with a recommended step-by-step workflow, Gale Small Business Builder will help users create essential documents and other deliverables that are standard to the business community, such as Lean Canvas, Break-Even Analysis, Lean Business Plan, and a variety of financial statements.

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