Company: QLess, Inc., Altadena, CA
Company Description: QLess eliminates standing in line by letting people use their cell phones to enter a virtual line, roam freely while they wait, then receive a call or text message when their turn arrives at DMVs, doctors’ offices, retail stores, theme parks and everywhere that people wait. QLess is interactive, allowing users to request more time, leave the line or request a status update at any time.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Overall Company of the Year - Up to 100 Employees
Nomination Title: QLess: Eliminating standing in line to extend useful lifespan by 2 years and return $1.2 trillion to the US economy
1. Tell the story about what this nominated company achieved since January 1 2009 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
When Alex Bäcker got stuck standing in line in a Southern California theme park,
he asked himself if there was no better way to wait than standing in line, a
custom that dates to Ancient Egypt. Three months later, QLess was born.
Americans spend 2 years of their life standing in line. While they do,
businesses lose up to 50% of prospective customers, who walk out while waiting
Founded by a team of entrepreneurs from MIT, Caltech, McKinsey & Yahoo with 4
previous start-ups under their belts, QLess eliminates standing in line by
letting people use their cell phones to enter a virtual line, roam freely while
they wait, then receive a call or text message when their turn arrives at DMVs,
doctors’ offices, retail stores, theme parks and everywhere that people wait.
QLess is interactive, allowing users to request more time, leave the line or
request a status update at any time.
QLess is a Software as a Service company, requiring no special-purpose hardware
nor any software installation, and is available from any device with Internet or
In 2009 and 2010, QLess saved more than 400,000 users more than 9 straight years
of standing in line. In the last year, QLess users grew by 489%, and continue to
grow by more than 50,000 users per month. Customers claim to be ecstatic with
QLess, and 63% of them have already referred us to others. Since January 2009,
QLess was installed at Sprint stores, DMV offices in multiple states,
restaurants, doctor’s offices, government offices like the City of Austin, and
colleges, among other locations.
Simultaneously, QLess reduced its customers’ no-shows by 15-40%, turn-aways by
75% and ticketing workload by 91%.
QLess was recognized by the 2009 American Business Awards as Best Business
Innovation Finalist, was a winner of Vator.tv’s JuicePitcher’s awards for the
ten most promising technology companies, was honored as 2009-2010 Significant
Achievement in Web and E-Government Services by the Public Technology Institute.
Next month, it will be honored with an award by the Government Finance Officers
Association. It was recently submitted as Best Innovation of the Year by Mesa
QLess is best described by its users:
“the best government experience I ever had”
“Absolutely love, love, love, love the system!! I had a 90 minute wait with 108
people ahead of me. So I left to do shopping, contacted my insurance company and
had the insurance emailed to me home, dropped off the groceries, got updated
wait times, came in with the insurance and was called to the window for
service...Whoever came up with the system is a genius! Everyone should be
calling in to praise the system…!! Awesome experience.”
MIT Professor Richard Larson estimated that Americans spend 55 billion hours per
year waiting in line –causing a loss projected at 1.2 trillion dollars a year in
the U.S. alone. QLess is returning these 2 years of life to their rightful
owners, on its way to inject $1.2 trillion into the American economy.
2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated company:
Argentina’s Olympic Champion of Informatics at 18, Alex holds 3 degrees from MIT
and the California Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the Dean’s
award for ‘great contributions and outstanding qualities of Leadership and
Responsibility’. Formerly at McKinsey & Co. & Sandia National Labs , he founded
Adapt Technologies™, abinventio™, the invention factory, Whozat™, the world’s
first semantic and interactive search engine, which beat Google and every other
search engine tested 3 to 1 in a blind comparison, Social Diligence™, the first
resume-based search engine, with over a million visitors and growing at 66% per
month, QLess and mynew.tv. Under Alex's leadership, ab|inventio,'s companies
have grown their aggregate revenues 960% annually since launch. Alex serves in
Caltech’s Information Sciences and Technology Board of Advisors. Alex and his
work have been featured in Nature, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times,
Business Week, ...