Culture matchmaker: Cloverleaf helps businesses detect, combine personalities for the good of a team

Startup gets help from Oakley's OCEAN accelerator

CINCINNATI -- Cloverleaf, a new startup in the Oakley-based OCEAN Accelerator's current class, has an ambitious long-term goal, says co-founder Darrin Murriner:

To change how corporate American works by giving management the tools to "help people treat others like actual humans so we can all be engaged in our work and doing our best work."

How can Cloverleaf do that? Through an app that helps individuals understand their personalities and teams understand how each member's personality affects team dynamics.

You might recognize Murriner as the co-creator of Newport, Kentucky-based StockPilz, an online market where businesses with excess paper products can sell them. "We're trying to figure out the next phase (of StockPilz)," he said, adding that it's not the primary focus for him right now -- Cloverleaf is.

How does Cloverleaf work?

Cloverleaf gathers information about individual members of a team through a series of tests designed to reveal their personality traits. Then, using interactive graphics, it shows what a team of individuals with those personality traits looks like and how the members interact.

The beauty of the website, Murriner said, is that it enables the team to see how it works without particular team members or if it adds a new team member (who's taken the personality tests). It's perfect for assessing potential employees and seeing how they would fit into the team, he said.

How did Cloverleaf come about?

In 2014, Murriner worked at Epipheo, a Cincinnati digital video studio, with Ford Knowlton, Kirsten Moorefield and Levi Bethune. To them, Epipheo had a great corporate culture, Murriner said, which prompted discussions about how culture is created.

They concluded that culture's not created from the top down, but through peer relationships, Murriner said. The four founded Cloverleaf and launched a public beta test of the site in October 2016.

This month, they joined the latest class of OCEAN. Getting accepted into the accelerator was a huge win, Murriner said.

OCEAN accepted Cloverleaf because it has a mature team driving the business and it's making money, said OCEAN director Ian Smith. OCEAN felt it could leverage its resources to accelerate Cloverleaf's growth, he added.

The $50,000 investment that OCEAN made in the company enabled Murriner and Moorefield to work full time on Cloverleaf. "We've built everything so far working part time," he said, adding that he thinks that's pretty amazing.

How do they make money?

Through subscription fees for using the app. The company has about 700 users already, Murriner said, but most of them use the free version available to individuals. There's a $19.95 per-month "Pro" version and a $100 per month "Enterprise" version, each with more features than the free version.

What's next?

Raising additional capital, so that they can build the product the way they want to and get it marketed to the right people. Until OCEAN, the founders had bootstrapped the company with about $10,000 of their own funds, he said.

Their main focus during their time at OCEAN is to refine the product, focusing on the market need and how it can be shaped to face the challenges of team building and management, Murriner said.

"We're wired to operate in a certain way," he said. "If we could communicate in a way that's more effective for each other, a lot of the dehumanization that happens in a big organization could be overcome."

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