Teamwork start-up’s product goal

BOULDER — Steven Beckman, founder and chief executive officer of Boulder start-up Achieve Communications, aims to do just that: Achieve communications.

The company’s soon-to-be-released product is a team management methodology tool that’s software, training and management philosophy all rolled into one.

“We have a complete team management tool to organize and systematize the team management process,” Beckman says. “The philosophical basis is that it’s the responsibility of a manager to create and focus on his employees to create and focus on their own success and the company’s success. The old paradigm of hierarchical command and control has been shattered by this product.”

Users of personal or group productivity tools like an old-fashioned Daytimer or an integrated computer-based system like Microsoft Outlook or a PDA (personal digital assistant) will find the look and feel of Achieve’s ActiveManager Team Management System familiar. The software runs on an ordinary personal computer in any flavor of Windows and is designed to be networked. Screens look like pages out of a notebook with tabs labeled “Active Planning,” “Active Team Management,” “Active Action Management,” “Active Time Management,” and “Contact Manager.”

But, Beckman insists, ActiveManager is much more than software.

“The key is learning the proprietary method,” he says, which is currently patent pending. Training will be available in different styles to suit the user: video, audio, print and interactive computer-based training. Achieve also will provide training at its facility or at the user’s site.

According to Beckman, the entire package will cost between $400 and $1,000 depending on user license, and also will include a leather-bound organizer, “since most managers are used to carrying around documents and notes,” he says.

Beckman brings an enthusiasm and charisma to this endeavor that instills the goal to “achieve communications” to those around him. When he was vice president of Boulder-based natural supplement manufacturer 4 Health, the company grew to more than 100 people and $20 million sales in a 30-month period.

His plans for Achieve are similarly aggressive. The company went from six to 17 employees since mid-1997, and Beckman plans a hiring path of 100 to 150 by the end of 1998. Currently relying on private investors, Beckman believes the company will be profitable by the end of the first quarter 1998, and “we intend to be public by the end of the year,” he says.

Although the east Walnut Street office is primarily staffed by 20-something software engineers (Beckman is 29), newly hired President Maxwell Steinhardt lends an air of maturity to the enterprise. The former chairman of document imaging software leader TMSSequoia of Stillwater, Okla., is in the process of moving his family to Boulder in pursuit of what he believes is a terrific opportunity.

“The product concept is a very strong one,” Steinhardt says. “There’s a very large market for it.”

Steinhardt also is impressed with Beckman’s team. “The group has done a good job in creating it. They’ve gotten a lot done in short period of time.”

Finally, says Steinhardt, it’s “Steven Beckman himself. It takes a lot of drive. It takes more effort and sweat. The leader needs to be able to handle it.”