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Business creation, incubation, acceleration

Oplign, LLC- The Most Advanced Employment Alignment Engine in the World.

Oplign, LLC- The Most Advanced Employment Alignment Engine in the World.

Oplign, LLC started in 2017 as a Virginia-based, Veteran-owned, Small Business. Oplign (a combination of 'opportunities' and 'alignment') was founded by Mike Grow (CEO), Jeff Gibson (COO), Alex Calfee (SVP), and Brian Halstead (SVP), four former US Military Veterans. These Veterans had been deeply involved in the defense services industry since 2005, encompassing, leading, and operating various companies. Their experience and lessons learned spawned a labor optimization solution that solves the systematic flaws on how companies recruit, staff, and employ Veterans.

Jerry Cronin, Executive Director of TempO and ODU's OpenSeas Technology Innovation Hub says, "As soon as we were introduced to Oplign I immediately saw the great potential of their solution. In addition to its general use by companies around the world, it could have a huge impact on the Hampton Roads region as we try to manage and attract talent across maritime and other areas. We are pleased that funding from the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment and other sources has allowed us to work with companies like Oplign that can improve the resiliency of our economic ecosystem."

Through the use of technology, they have successfully created a labor data exchange that automatically sources, structures, and values every job requirement in the Global Labor Market and configures it in a manner that provides useful and actionable data to companies in the area of workforce optimization, risk planning, trends analyses, gap analyses, operations resource planning, etc.—think, supply chain management for people. It just so happens that their system works great for translating military occupation specialties to its civilian counterpart.

Earlier this year, Oplign was featured at the AFCEA Hampton Roads [https://hamptonroads.afceachapters.org/] monthly luncheon's Small Business Spotlight, where a selected local small business gets 5 minutes to pitch their product and/or services to the attendees. Steve Bain, who was in attendance, approached us afterward wanting to learn more. He then introduced us to Jerry Cronin of TempO at ODU.

"I really liked the structure and methodic Business Opportunity Assessment (BOA) that Steve Bain guided us through. Through experience and intuition, we already conducted some of the steps but in a more random and disconnected manner. The TempO BOA process forced us to go hand-over-hand critical elements of validating assumptions. The market interviews with actual potential customers was probably the most valuable process step for us." -Jeff Gibson, COO

In general, there is a fundamental and endemic problem with how labor demand (jobs) and labor supply (people) align for job seekers and employers. The problem stems from the overall archaic, chaotic, and analog nature of current job searching where resumes and job descriptions tend to be the only currencies to match jobs with qualified applicants.

Unfortunately, the problem is even more pronounced for a Veteran because of the cultural and vernacular divide between military and civilian ecosystems. Companies consistently fail to successfully recruit Veterans, transitioning military, and military spouses at an acceptable level even though that pool is deep and full of professional, talented, dedicated, and driven individuals with highly relevant and valuable skill sets.

To solve this problem, Oplign has created, developed, and proven an innovative and disruptive technology to automatically match labor supply and demand efficiently at scale. Through a proprietary and cutting-edge technology platform, Oplign understands how every Veteran, transitioning service member, and dependent spouse aligns with every employment opportunity in the market.

Oplign can align Transitioning Military and Veterans to all employment opportunities simply through interrogation of their Branch, Rank, and MOS. Alignment is based on job requirements and not job titles. By using Oplign's technology, companies can optimize their labor demand to their market's talent supply. For Veterans, the platform and its intuitive interfaces revolutionize the way they automatically match to relevant jobs across the country. This gives each Veteran a revolutionary new tool to improve access, to raise their awareness of the labor market, and to show them how to rapidly find the job they qualify for and the job they want.

Because of the way that we ingest and organize demand labor on a continuous basis, we are amassing a very powerful depository of the ebb and flow of labor demand in the United States. That data can be mined for multiple uses that include economic development initiatives, business intelligence, gap analysis, trends, etc. that can be used by local and state governments, education institutions, insurance companies, career development, etc.

Additionally, we can help the Veteran job seeker understand what is required from the market for other careers that he/she is interested in. Oplign can measure the distance of anyone's current position on the 'map of jobs' based on their current skillsets to any other position on that map. Meaning, they can now basically do a job 'time-speed-distance' calculation for anybody who wants to change careers. As an example, if a Navy Boatswain Mate E5 coming out the Navy wants to be an Accountant, Oplign can show that individual exactly what the market requires to be an accountant AND how long it will take to get those qualifications AND how much it will cost. Transitioning Military and Veterans can now make labor market data-supported decisions that were not available before.

We're heading toward a robust data analytics resource for anything related to data.

Because of COVID-19, companies are now beginning to look hard at their workforce and determining what is the optimal labor force that they need going forward. Oplign can help a company optimize their workforce by comparing all its labor supply (people) skillsets against all the company's labor demand. So, companies can now make data-supported decisions to optimize workforce.

COVID-19 has actually, in a perverse way, helped Oplign in a couple of areas, it allowed them to increase their exposure through conducting more meetings via Zoom and other similar platforms. Before COVID-19, they were on the road a lot meeting with potential customers at their locations allowing them to only meet with 1-2 customers per day. Since everyone is now working from home, their exposure rate has increased where they are conducting 3-4 demos per day. They even host weekly webinars to educate both job seekers and company reps on Oplign, which has yielded a lot of company leads for them.

We asked COO Jeff Gibson to share his top three lessons learned and any advice for other entrepreneurs who want to start their own business:

  1. It's a heavy lift. There are no short cuts and you have to be a master of all business trades: product development, marketing, web design, finance, accounting, legal, human resources. There are plenty of resources out there to assist but you still have to know what you're doing. There are no safety nets.
  2. The sales cycle takes way longer than expected. In 2017, we expected to be fully operational with over a hundred customers within a year. Unfortunately, our customers do not move as fast as we would like, which takes a lot of patience and perseverance.
  3. You have to believe in the product that you are selling. There will be so many obstacles and issues that pop up that will always challenge your decision to start a business. But if you truly believe that your product (or service) can make your customers' lives better, you will be able to stay focused and keep moving forward.

Oplign, LLC
Website: http://oplign.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oplign
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OplignJobs

"The first step is the hardest. Basically, we had to consciously decide to give up the security of a steady paycheck and benefits in exchange for the freedom and autonomy of starting a business from scratch. All of the Oplign founders were very successful in their past military and civilian careers and operating at a high functioning and high-speed tempo. We made a lot of money for our past bosses and were in high demand by other companies. The second step was establishing goals such as, grow to sell as soon as possible, grow and hold, dominate the market, etc. This was critical to establish so everyone is working toward a common end state."

- Jeff Gibson, COO

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