Project Management Tools Get A Much-Needed Makeover With Charlotte-based Leantime

It’s time to say goodbye to the project-by-project to-do lists, says Charlotte entrepreneur Gloria Folaron.

The future of work has to be more than a task list. Engagement is dropping, productivity is dropping, people are thinking about quitting their jobs all the time. The generation in the work force and going into the workforce is disenchanted by the idea of “living to work” and we’re ready for meaning. We’re ready to do the things we love,” she told Hypepotamus. “For many companies, though, communicating vision, strategy, and purpose is often a siloed process. It’s lost in large documents, lost in the messages coming from the top down, and it’s not personal – an employee down the line doesn’t know how their specific work (or specific tasks) impacts the overall vision.”

After building up her career in the project management space, Folaron said she wanted to create a new type of platform that gives “tasks purpose again.” So she launched Leantime, an open-source and cloud-based project management system for the non-project manager. 

The platform focuses on creating a “holistic and cohesive goals-oriented work experience” without users getting bogged down in checking off to-do lists. The project management system is designed to be inclusive and includes features designed to help non-traditional project managers and those employees with ADHD. 

Building Leantime as an open-source platform means that its users can “maintain their sensitive data and integrate with their internal tools directly,” she added. 

It is all about building better and more strategic workforce tools, she added. 

“Up to 90% of all strategic business initiatives fail and often because they were poorly implemented and executed on,” Folaron said in a statement. “And even if a strategy is well planned, only 7% of employees will be able to say they understand the business strategy and what is needed of them to help the company achieve it. That’s where we enter the picture, bridging the gap between strategic management software and project management tools.”

The team told Hypepotamus that to date the platform has had 16,000 installations and has been growing at a 20% cumulative rate month-over-month. 

Building For Project Managers 

Leantime initially got off the ground in 2019 when the team made the code available to the online community. But she said that it “started to grow on its own, and by 2021, it gained incredible traction” as a standalone platform. The startup has launched with a tiered plan with strategy, program management, and AI features. 

This is Folaron’s third time in the startup founder’s seat. She is building the platform alongside co-founder Marcel Folaron, who previously worked at tech giants Google and Twillio. 

Gloria said she believes the Leantime platform can help even more people start their project management journey. She herself pivoted into the space after first training and working as a nurse. 

“A good project manager isn’t just organizing to do lists and tweaking deadlines. A good project manager has high emotional intelligence, empathy, foresight, is great at communicating value, communicates purpose, gives the team the important context, keeps the team engaged, and coordinates priority,” she added. “They are often big picture thinkers – able to hold large amounts of complexity in their brains at once. They help the team AND stakeholders understand how all those pieces connect and work together, and even remind them when things are going off course (when they can). But not everyone on the team is meant to do all these things – it’s as much skill as it is an art and our tool is intended to bring along the engagement, context, purpose, and priority, and communicate that across both stakeholders and team members.”


Building In Charlotte 

Folaron said that Charlotte, North Carolina is a solid ecosystem to build up something like Leantime. 

As an underrepresented founder, the statistics can be pretty depressing – everything from how investors will ask women more prevention-focused questions compared to a man’s future growth focused questions, to the rates of investment in both the Latino and female-founded organizations even when the numbers support that women founders bring more returns to a dollar invested than male counterparts,” said Folaron. “As someone determined to change the way we manage work, the statistics aren’t something that’s detouring. What I will say though is that finding a community makes it even easier to stand up taller as the founder’s life gets tackled. Charlotte is truly up and coming and the work and growth is absolutely going to make a big impact in startup success as a result.” 

To date, the Leantime team has brought in $140K in non-dilutive grant funding through NC IDEA and the AWS Impact accelerator Latino founder cohort. Now, Folaron said the team is kicking off its fundraising journey.