The OpSiix Monthly
Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Welcome to the first installment of “The OpSiix Monthly”, a series that gives a behind the scenes look at what’s happening here at OpSiix. This is the first one so we’ll dive into the company’s two year history and pick out interesting eras and major shifts.
Since the beginning, OpSiix has been a project about supporting the veteran community and working to help lower the astonishing rates of suicide it faces. The first iteration of how we were going to do that was a “Smart Dog Tag” and an app.
The dog tag would track health metrics related to stress, store health data in case of an emergency, and provide tips on reducing stress. The health metrics would be sent to the app for tracking and analyses, allowing the user to determine stressors and plan for them accordingly. The app was going to have various features related to wellness along with a catalog of nearby health resources and a system that would alert you if other people on the app were nearby. We’ve found that the first step down a dark road is when a veteran isolates themselves after service. A focus of our app has been to create features that combat isolation and point veterans towards useful resources specific for them. The core of our mission has always been to see that every veteran feels at home and is living a happy existence; to see them be successful in whatever they choose to do after service.
This initial concept was developed from the Fall of 2017 to the Summer of 2018 where it would go through some drastic changes in the Simone Center’s Student Business Accelerator at RIT. Here we were given the space to interact with many veterans and veteran groups in the Rochester, New York area. From this engagement we were able to gather a lot of feedback on our ideas and tailor our app and website so that they will do the most good. We discovered that the idea of having your location tracked turned a lot of people off, so we reworked the social connectivity aspect of the app. It is now a space where any user can create an event and have it listed for others to see. This will make it easier for veteran groups like Team RWB to reach new members and for veterans to network with one another. Our community center is a hub for new veterans to find a place where they fit it.
We also learned a lot about the entrepreneurial process and what it takes to have a successful business.The philosophy we came out with is that by being a “for-profit” organization for veterans we are able to separate ourselves from the overcrowded landscape of veteran not-for-profits. Of course all of these organizations do a ton of good, but we’ve found that people who have served find it difficult to reach out for help, especially when that help looks like therapy or something associated with weakness. OpSiix’s position is as a brand who use their revenue to generate good for the veteran community. In order to do the most that we can, we need to generate money to fund our digital services, such as the mobile app. These bolster community so that no one gets left to struggle alone.
So, with our new knowledge from the accelerator on the business side of things we were forced to make some strategic shifts. Firstly, The “Smart Dog Tag” needed to get put on a very far back burner so we could focus on developing the app and our website fully. The dog tag project spread us too far as a company and began to make less sense to pursue. Another shift that happened this Spring was the decision to not catalog veteran resources. It would be a project whose scale is too big for our team, and there are others like AmericaServes who will point individual veterans to resources specifically for them. We’ll point people to services like that instead. However, this doesn’t mean we are done developing in that area, and have plans for the future.
Fast-forward to now and we are just about ready to open our online store, “ShopSiix”, with our first few products. We have never all been so focused on the business and are excited for the future. Be sure to check back next month to catch up on what's been happening!