Tradify

Taking the pain out of admin for tradespeople.

tradify-logoMost tradespeople are really good at what they do – be it plumbing, joinery, construction, or a myriad of other specialist trades. But like most of the rest of us many hate the admin part of the job – keeping track of costs, time, invoices, etc. Every hour spent doing admin is an hour not doing something that you love, like spending time with family in the evenings or weekends.

Tradify provides an app that makes it easy to keep track of time and materials working on client jobs, and integrates with accounting systems like Xero and MYOB so you can spend less time doing paperwork. It also covers employee scheduling, dispatching, and quoting so you can keep the whole team organised.

Born in Auckland, Tradify has many hundreds of customers in over 20 countries, although most are in Australia. They’re getting ready for a big global push.

Curtis Bailey
Curtis Bailey

Founder Curtis Bailey is a software developer by trade, and passionate about solving problems and making stuff work. He worked as a software engineer on a variety of business software, ERP, and mobile apps, but in the late noughties decided that his IT career was really ordinary. “Why am I doing this,” he asked himself, “when I could be extraordinary?”

When you wonder who you’re going to work for next, just look in the mirror.

Around that time, Xero was just gaining momentum. Curtis was blown away by how good the Xero user experience was, and was inspired that it was created by a Kiwi company, with an exceptional product, an exceptional brand, and an exceptional marketing team, going up against the big players and making a success of it. Curtis was inspired to build a business that hit the Xero quality benchmark.

In a previous life, Curtis had worked as an apprentice at an electrical engineering company. This gave him first hand experience of the admin pain tradies experience. He combined this with his ERP experience from previous jobs as a dev, and for the next two years spent nights and weekends building the first version of Tradify. In August 2013, the first version of Tradify went online.

In the first month he managed to attract two customers, and in the second month he got another six, and a year later, after attending some trade shows in Australia and getting great word-of-mouth referrals, he had enough revenue coming in to quit his day job and go full time on Tradify. The company has continued to grow at a good clip since then, and he’s continued bootstrapping by hiring additional people as revenue increased. He’s just recruited employee number eight.

Tradify took on some seed investment early this year, and their investors (ex-MCOM legends Adam Clark, Graeme Ransley and Serge van Dam) have helped them really step up growth. They’ve become fanatically data-driven, and a lot more methodical about marketing – testing hypotheses, measuring results, iterating, doubling down on stuff that works, chucking out stuff that doesn’t. The next phase of the company is all about sales and marketing, stepping up the growth rate, and building Tradify into a massive global business. They’re planning on raising a seed round in the next few months to validate assumptions necessary to attack the North American market, and then go for Series A.

You need to be good at getting good at stuff quickly.

Curtis has found it really interesting making the transition from being a dev to being a CEO. He uses the analogy of making music to describe it:

“In order to write a song, you need to understand the elements of what makes a good song, and take an idea and turn it into reality with composition, orchestration, and conducting. Business is the same thing – a dev is focused on making a good piece of software, and a great entrepreneur is focused on turning an idea into the best possible business. You can’t be a musician if you can’t play an instrument, and you can’t be a dev if you can’t cut code. It’s the same in business – you need to gain the hard yards experience selling, hiring people, managing finances, and a hundred other things. You need to be good at getting good at stuff quickly. You don’t need to be great at it, but you do need to be quick, understand what’s required, and then hire people to do the job properly.”

His bottom line: “Why be ordinary? Let everyone else do that.”


In Other News …

The Project 2016 takes place in Auckland at AUT on 1 September. This year’s theme is creativity in business and beyond. They’ve got a great speaker lineup, and there are still a few tickets left.

The MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Asia Innovators Under 35 Awards nominations close on 9 September. If you know an outstanding young innovator deserving of international recognition, do nominate them.

Payments NZ has announced a Fintech Innovation Challenge. Entries close Monday 12 September 2016.

Spark CEO Simon Moutter is planning on setting up a $100m fund to fill the gap where Corporate VC lives to help NZ early stage businesses with commercialisation and internationalisation.

Andrew Simmonds, Marie-Claire Andrews, and Rod Drury are hatching a conference with the working title Foundercon, by and for founders, “an opportunity for NZ founders to network the heck out of each other”.  Watch this space.

What kind of events would you like to see in the tech sector? Please fill in Verve’s quick survey.

“In Other News” is a new experimental feature of this blog. If you’ve read this far, like it, and want to see more, please let me know.

Eight Wire

Migrate your data, from anything to anywhere.

eightwireBusinesses of any size have mission critical data sets that reside in a variety of systems on different platforms. If you want these systems to use each other’s data, or when you want to migrate data from one platform to another, you have a headache proportional to the size of the data set times the number of formats involved. How do you get from Excel on Windows to Postgres on Linux? Or from DB2 on your old mainframe to SQL Server running in the Azure cloud? Will the date formats translate correctly? Eight Wire‘s Conductor product makes this easy and reliable.

Jason Gleason
Jason Gleason
Nigel Thomas
Nigel Thomas

Founders Jason Gleason and Nigel Thomas are solving a problem that’s been driving them nuts for over a decade – transporting data from one system to another is a lot harder than it should be. Eight Wire makes it easy, and supports most industry-standard SQL databases including Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, as well as AWS, Azure, Salesforce, MongoDB, CouchDB and others, and anything that can be accessed via an ODBC driver. Oh, and that persistent and omnipresent Excel – believe me, you don’t want to know how much mission critical data is stored in Excel and even worse, CSV files.

Migrating data sounds like it should be simple. But the devil is in the detail, particularly in dealing with each system’s nuances around how data is formatted. I know this because I have suffered a world of pain myself when trying to implement my own point solutions – looking back, I wish I had Eight Wire around many times during those moments (which often turned into days or weeks) when I had to wrangle data between systems during my career as a dev.

Jason claims that for one implementation, they were able to do a data migration in four hours for which another supplier had quoted four to six weeks. He also says that their data feeds are “self healing” – most format and translation errors are fixed in flight.

Eight Wire’s revenue model is simple – it’s based on the number of rows of data moved through their system. The price per row drops with volume.

Eight Wire have an impressive client list in New Zealand including Resene Paints and Tuatara Brewery, and are making inroads overseas. The have established distribution relationships with five New Zealand service partners, and have partners in Australia, the UK, and the US. They also run a direct channel using content marketing and SEO which is working well and provides good returns for effort and cost expended. But they see the biggest potential rewards from expanding their existing technology partnerships with IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon. This is really impressive for a two-year old company with seven employees.

They have a strong board, led by the unstoppable Serge van Dam along with Green Button alumni Darryl Lundy and Mark Canepa. These guys between them know marketing, data, finance, infrastructure, the US market, and capital raising inside out. And most importantly for investors, how to build strategic value and exit.

Eight Wire are just completing a capital raise through AngelHQ, and are also looking for a technical pre-sales and support person.