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My Tech Stack: the Founders of The Coven

A little over 14 months since they officially launched their first site, Minneapolis, MN, based The Coven is moving forward with growth and expansion plans. A community and co-working space designed with women and non-binary folks in mind, The Coven officially opened with 150 members at its first location in the North Loop in March 2018. As of spring 2019, that member number has grown to 400, and The Coven is considering plans to add a location across the river in St. Paul before venturing out of state for their first non-Minnesota location.

Starting Up North spoke with its four founders—Alex West Steinman, Bethany Iverson, Liz Giel and Erinn Farrell—to find out the apps and sites that they use to keep their business running on a daily basis.

Slack  – collaboration software that The Coven uses for all internal communication

We use Slack for everything, it’s our go-to communication tool, not only for one another. Our whole staff is on Slack as well so that’s where all the virtual business of the coven gets done. We currently have 42 channels. There was a time where everything was in a text chain, and then, as you can only imagine across four incredibly brilliant and hilarious women who are starting a business together, our text chain quickly evolved into what can only be described as an encyclopedia Britannica length volume. Finding any sort of actual relevant info for our conversation was pretty hard to find pretty quickly. We moved over to Slack, and it’s become a cornerstone of our business, so that’s definitely one that I use all the time.

The Coven App – The Coven’s own white label app for members and staff

We have our own app which we use quite a bit, and that helps us stay connected to what’s happening in the space if we’re not here. It lets us see what members are requesting or if they need something, it allows us to see that our staff is interacting with the community digitally. We’re really proud to have launched with it, and it’s been a big part of our offering this last year. Members can find one another and message each other, they can message our staff, or they can report an issue like the printer’s not working. Members can also see what events and programming we have happening, they can reserve any of our conference rooms or phone booths, basically just about anything they need to navigate through the space and have an excellent experience with us. We really wanted a place where members could connect digitally, and we also wanted to automate some of the booking and meetings so we could use the staff more strategically in our space.

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Google SlidesA cloud-based presentation building tool

 We use Google Slides frequently because we need to collaborate pretty seamlessly across all of our decks. That’s been kind of interesting because two of us come from the world of Keynote, and then the other two come from the world of PowerPoint, so we decided, ‘We’ll meet in the middle and do Google Slides.’ We’ve tried collaborating with other tools, and we haven’t found it to be as seamless as Google Slides has been. That’s usually how our beautiful presentations come to life.

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Copper – A productivity CRM system for business relationships

Copper is our CRM system. It’s kind of a hybrid between current member management and prospective customer pipelines. We track all of the potential leads for membership, for corporate partnerships, even for investors, we have a pipeline. It’s similar to what a Salesforce would do but it integrates seamlessly with Gmail, and we’re able to track who’s had a conversation with this person along the way. We had it really early on and probably weren’t utilizing it to its full potential, but over the last six to eight months we really turned it on and have been using it more strategically to track where sales and pipelines are leading us, as well as to track retention of current members. All of our business and marketing contacts and efforts are organized and coordinated through there.

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Asana- A work management platform for teams

We use Asana for project management, and it has been a beneficial tool for managing all of our programming efforts. We host events out of the space typically two to three times or more per week, and so keeping all of the event logistics or keeping all the tasks that need to be completed for that in one place. It used to just be in all of our brains, and that was really hard. As we look to expand, we felt that it was important, not only to streamline our first location but to make sure future spaces essentially have the playbooks for how to host a Coven event. For now, the programming and marketing teams have the primary ones using Asana most frequently, but it’s potentially something that we would roll out across all business operation.

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Delta App and Citymapper – Travel apps: the official app of Delta Airlines and  a transit navigation app

With all the traveling that we’re doing right now, including trips to Nashville, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, we’ve been using the Delta App a lot. When we travel, we’re doing a little bit of double duty where we’re trying to scope out cities for future locations well as meet with connectors and talk to investors while we’re there. We also try to have a little bit of fun because it’s usually the four of us traveling together, and we’re all still really close friends. We try to make the most out of every trip. When in bigger cities like New York, we love Citymapper. It’s the best in terms of train schedules and public transit, clarity and all of that.

Instagram – The ubiquitous social media platform

We’re on Instagram quite a bit connecting with members or replying to messages or posting content. Our community manager Sydney Roberts does a fantastic job curating our feed. It’s also been a really great place for us to find brand partners. A brand will follow us or like our content, and then we reach out to them, or we find a brand that we want to partner with at The Coven, and we’ll reach out to them via Instagram instead of email. It ends up being a much faster way to broker relationships and partnerships with a little less formal and also just move faster when you’re a startup.

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