In this week’s episode, Josh is talking to Tom Welsby who was a Winner in the 2020 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards, South Australia.
Tom Welsby strives to build communities. Tom founded ResVu in mid 2017 as a means to promote and build communities within residential sites and apartment buildings around Australia. Through capital raised from SA companies and individuals, the App provides multiple products. CommunitiLink engages residents to connect with management 24/7, report maintenance issues, and more. CommunitiLocal supports local businesses by promoting their product or service to residents within a one-kilometre radius. FMLink are for facilities managers of large sites while FMLink Inspector offers specific benefits to service providers. A finalist at Urban Developer Awards, ResVu won the Australian eChallenge 2017 and State Award 2017.
Tom recently won the 2020 First National Real Estate Innovation Award, as part of the 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards for South Australia.
In this episode:
- Tom talks about how the ResVu App is improving the lifestyle of residents through easier communication and better connectivity with landlords and fellow residents.
- Hear how close Tom came to missing out on the Awards presentation for the 2020 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards, where he won his category!
- Want to know how to Rate and Review a podcast, see this article
- Connect with Tom on LinkedIn
- Visit the ResVu website
- Want to know more about ResVu? Email Tom at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to nominate someone? (It can take as little as 2 minutes to recognise someone making a difference)
Welcome to the inspirational Australians podcast. My name is Annette, I’m normally behind the production table, but I thought I’d pop on this week and introduce our guests to you. And also just to say, thanks, thanks for listening. If you’re a first-time listener or if you want of our dedicated regular listeners, Thank you. The podcast has been a passion project for us here at Awards Australia, we started it during COVID and we’re just really proud of it. We’re proud of the fact that we can bring you the great news stories from our award recipients, from some of the 14 award programs that we run around Australia every year. So if you liked the podcast and you haven’t rated or reviewed it, we would really, really love for you to do that. It helps our podcast be seen more easily for other people, uh, and that can only be a good thing. We all love a good news story. Now, if you don’t know how to rate or review a podcast, pop onto the website, awards australia.com/podcast and click into this episode, which is Tom Welsby and I’ll put in some instructions there on how to rate and review looking forward to hearing, to reading your rating and review. Award Australia is family owned, and we’re not government funded. We thank our corporate partners for being involved and helping us bring the program throughout Australia. So if you know anyone, any company that might be interested in, in joining with us, let me know the details are in the show notes. All right, so let’s get on with introducing Tom. Tom Welsby strives to build communities. He founded ResVu as a means to promote and build communities within residential sites and apartment buildings around Australia through capital raise from SA companies and the individuals, the app provides multiple products. Tom was a finalist in the Urban Developer Awards and ResVu won the Australian eChallenge 2017 and the State Award in that same year, Tom recently won the 202 First National Real Estate Innovation Award as part of the 7News Young Achiever Awards for South Australia, which awards Australia proudly owned. Alright, let’s cue the intro.
Welcome to the inspirational Australians podcast, where we chat to people, making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. And here is your host for today, Josh Griffin.
Hi, my name is Tom Welsby and I’m really excited to be talking with Josh today from Inspirational Australians podcasts. Um, I’m here to talk about my company Resvu and our journey over the last three, four years and, and where we are now and what we’ve, what we’ve had to go through to get there. So I’m really looking forward to talking to Josh.
Thanks mate. Perfect. I’ve been calling it ResView for a long time. So, it’s ResVu
Makes it might be because I went to Victoria University and it’s VU, it’s ingrained in my head.
It’s, uh at the start, when we, when we named the business, I thought, you know, ResVue, there was technically the VUE wasn’t available. And I just remember thinking, I was like, you know, five letters, easy to grab, kind of gets people thinking. So, um, I remember doing a, what was it, a seminar once? And, um, there was a lawyer, an IP lawyer was talking at that time. And, and I was saying, talking about people, naming their businesses. And they said, look, whatever you do, make sure that you, you make up a name that’s spelled correctly. And I sort of put my hand up and I said, Oh no, we’ve, we’ve deliberately not spelled out as correctly. And it’s ended up working really well for us. So just an FYI for everyone else, you can do it, especially in SAS taught business. You know, there’s a lot of businesses that are in very, very strangely titled. I mean, not many even have.com or doc on dot are you at the end of them anymore? It’s dot IO or.tv or.biz or whatever, you know? So, um, I think we’re talking about now, but yeah, they were the good names we were taken from 2000 to 2010. I think so.
Well, I think you’re right. Cause links don’t even, you know, it’s not that often that you go in directly to a link anymore. You’re searching your through social media. You come across it another way usually.
Correct. Totally correct. Yeah.
But, um, that’s so interesting. It’s so funny. It’s truly what you say about the experts who say, Oh, you know, you should, whatever you do, don’t do this. But then there’s so many examples of when the opposite of that has been worked out so well.
Right. We’ve got some big customers now where we’re looking overseas, um, I mean, that was supposed to be this year later this year, but no chance, um, and everyone that we speak to really loves the name. It’s weird, it’s quirky. And, uh, but it still makes sense. So,
Well, the first thing I thought I thought of that popped into my head when you said ResVu, it was like, well, it actually like makes a lot of sense because you’re talking about apartments often, you know, you have a view, so, you know, that’s what I, yeah,
Yeah. You’ve got, yeah. You’ve got a view of your life over the ecosystem that you live within. Yeah, yeah,
Yeah. So the thing is, we’re chatting, we’ll just, you know, I’m going to ask you the question straight off the bat. One thing I’ve learned through the Young Achiever Awards and working with entrepreneurs is that usually they’re driven by something, um, it could be something from their childhood or just an idea that pops into their head and all of a sudden they thought this is, I’ve got to follow this up. Was there something like that for you? Just that, that one thing,
Oh, I thought it was, I thought it was something different when I first started. I, um, the first company that I formally owned and ran and turned over more than a hundred grand was a strata management business. So my, my passion that lay the laid moved in that was, um, to run my own first business. You know, it was to use my accounting degree that I had, it was to do something that involved where I was the decision maker and to see what type of, um, power could come out of that in terms of, uh, you know, the growth of the business and whatever. And I must admit it. I learned out of that, that business gives you flexibility. You don’t really hear that a lot from people, but now I sit down on the road six, seven years on from when I first started that company. Um, I exited that company in 2019, um, you know, made, made a bit of money and paid off some debts and all those sorts of things, which was great, you know, but, um, that business led me to, to, to ResVu, you know, ResVu is a customer service and communication platform, um, that, uh, provides those needs to the property industry, right? So I was yeah, two or three years before I finished that. Um, uh, before I sold out of that company, I had already started ResVu And I learned at that point in time that what I enjoyed most about the entrepreneurial adventure was the risk element. Um, there’s no doubt about it. The risk element was good. Fun. You have to be calculated. There’s no doubt, but not every decision is going to bury your business. Right. So being able to have control over those decisions that had been made is key, but I gotta be honest, I think the biggest win out of it all is being able to genuinely effect and support and, um, and grow the people around you. Um, there’s something about the leadership element of entrepreneurship that I found to be, to be really enjoyable. Um, and I think that’s a direct correlation of the support that I’ve been given by staff and other networks as well. Um, I’ve just found that it’s given me a better way, um, which is just, I feel, I feel more wholesome out of, out of the journey, you know, um, you really do feel like you can support people when they support you. You know, um, that’s not a control thing. That’s not a, um, egotistical thing and it’s just, it’s really nice having good close relationships that you support. They support you and guess what you grow a business together and everyone succeeds out of it too. So, um, that’s, I must’ve made, that’s where I’ve landed with the greatest thing about all this is it’s. Um, I do think about re regulate about what more we can do with this, or what more we could do with that. But success to me is more about being able To, um, I feel better for myself, but also provide for the people around me and have a better life that way. So, um, you know, I’m not someone who wants to run 10 different startups at once. Um, and, uh, but you know, the, the passion and the eagerness and the big wigs and the time spent is definitely there with, with what ResVu is. So that’s where I’ve landed, I think out of all that. Yeah.
Yeah. That’s awesome. And I think that might be something that sets you apart a little bit, because, you know, one thing you do hear from entrepreneurs is it can be a lonely journey at times. I think what you’re saying is that you’ve brought other people in and made it a more of a, a team journey rather than individual journey.
It shouldn’t, it shouldn’t be lonely in the respect of, of what you’re trying to achieve. Um, I’ve always said, you know, the, the greatest thing about building a product is your customer feedback, right? So even if you, so operator, you still have a network of customers that can be your friends, so it shouldn’t be lonely. You shouldn’t be grinding yourself, um, because you’re missing opportunities. And, um, I haven’t had that conversation with a few people prior and don’t get me wrong, I didn’t realize this stuff in the first couple of years and starting a business and you’re onto my third or fourth business now is what ResView is. But, you know, the first two were pre-revenue ideas that I played around with in, you know, 18, 19, 20 years of age. So, whereas look, the big key learning there is that it’s not actually lonely. It’s only lonely if you want it to be. There’s a lot of people that actually really enjoy listening to you, that enjoy being part of something that’s totally different to what they’ve done before. Um, as I said, customers are the first part there or potential customers or the first part there. Um, even if it’s just designing an MVP, you still need to go talk to potential customers to find out what more you need to do. So, there’s always people around.
And you mentioned there, you know, ResVu is third, fourth business kind of thing. So, what’s it like starting a business at a young age in 19, most people are preoccupied with going out clubbing or doing something, and here you are starting businesses.
I would just reiterate it. I’m especially looking at my holiday mode. I’m not 19 at the moment. That’s for sure. It’s um, um, I spent a lot of time through and I think it might just be the personality, you know, I’ve never dug deep enough into knowing exactly why my brain is wired that way, but, you know, if I want it to sound like a job interview, it’s like just seemed to be one of those solutions driven, um, people that you sort of look at something, Oh, that can be done a bit better or, or, um, there surely has to be a better way or, um, so that’s just how my brains tend to be good early on in the pace, even at school, you know, I was never, uh, the most connected student, the class that’s for sure. Um, in particular, uh, throughout the early years of high school, but, you know, I did flick a bit of a switch in year 12 and ended up getting some great resolves. And then I sort of just started to learn that, Hey, you know what, I think I could really start to apply some of this stuff to do what I want to enjoy. I landed in, as I said, the strata industry at that time that I didn’t expect. But prior to that, you know, I had the ideas that were centered around, you know, we won the Australian aid challenge at one point, um, regarding a phone case that assisted in, uh, minimizing the effect of cyber criminals, you know, so it just seems to be what, whatever I found myself in a position of, I was trying to find a solution for, but the best thing about that was, and it’d be a lot of people who are probably listening to this podcast that will say the same, just be smart in the type of decisions you make. Cause you don’t want to jump down the road of everything in anything. And, uh, I felt like I did that quite a bit at the start. And particularly now that was that really young, you know, the 17, 18, 19, 20, um, everything seemed like a good idea. And, and I think you need to go through a couple of those failures, my favorite comment of all time, and it shouldn’t be everyone’s is a failed fast. Um, Eric Reese, uh, comment out of, uh, out of his book, the Lean Startup. And, uh, I hadn’t even read it by the end, but I just remember thinking what a bad idea, Tom, move on, whatever. And, uh, if you’ve got that mentality, you won’t get glued to every top. Why do you come up with, or if you’ve got a product you won’t get glued to every single type of idea, you have to improve your product, you know? So that can be granular or big ideas. So, um, yeah.
Going back to your comment about high school and how there was a bit of a switch that flicked in year 12, you know, was that because you got to have more ownership of picking your subjects and, you know, was that, is that something, you know, talking about your solution driven, is it, do you get a bit obsessed with not in a bad way, but you know, in a good way it’s obsessed with something, but it has to really peak your interest.
Yeah, correct. Yeah. It has to be my interest. That’s, that’s one thing that I’ve learned. Um, and that’s not a, uh, you know, challenge against, uh, what someone else might be trying to provide me. God, I spend my days learning from other people. There’s no doubt about it, but, you know, I knew that I was always interested in accounting and economics. Right. Um, I knew I didn’t want to be an accountant. Um, but I was always interested in accounting, economics and law. So I, I got to pick those and guess what, you know, I, I enjoyed them, you know, same thing when I started them at school. Whereas, you know, I hated English. I was never, ever good at English. I just hated it. A fan of boring. I didn’t do it in year 12. You know? So, um, those sorts of things, I think may make a big difference in how you want to apply yourself. Because if it’s your decision, then yeah, sure. You do own it a little bit more and it does make a big difference. Yeah,
For sure. Um, that runs over a good mate of mine. He always knew he wanted to be a chef. He had in his mind, I’m, you know, I could finish early and go start my TAFE degree. Um, but he’s like, Oh, I want to finish at 12. But one thing he knew for certain, he was not doing math’s. Yeah. And everyone tried to talk him out a bit. Oh, you should just do some math. It’s like, now I know what I’m doing. I’m going to be a chef when I finished my year 12 and I’m not doing maths, but I think that, that’s the great thing about when you get a bit older in school, you can choose and you have that. It’s more lifelike then.
Yeah. The independence. Yeah, absolutely. The independence is a great part of it. Um, yeah, God, I had my 10 year anniversary last year, so that was a bit scary. But, uh, yeah, that was one of the big elements. And I know that’s still the case now. I think there’s a few, a bit of a different structure. I know around your 11, 12, but still yeah. Definitely made it be part of it.
Yeah. Well, a good point about, you’re saying, you know, your 10 year anniversary, we don’t, we dive right into the questions, but going back to, um, to who you are, Tom. So, you know, for the listeners out there, you’re in Adelaide and, uh, born and bred in Adelaide there in South Australia.
Great man. Yeah, I was, um, yeah, I’ve been here my whole life.
Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, what, what’s your family like? Have they been around in supporting you in ResVu or have you been kind of a lone Wolf out there by yourself?
Nah, a family is a family is awesome. I think everyone will say that, uh, about their own, you know, it’s not a case of going to them for help every five seconds. It’s just a case of knowing that whatever decision I was gonna make, um, you know, that we’re going to back me in. So to be honest, in those earlier years, I wish they’d probably told me not to make some of those decisions by that’s just a, I seem to be one of the people that has to learn from something and poster listening. So my mother’s been a midwife for 30 plus years, you know, she’s, uh, runs the student program there, the, uh women’s and children’s now. And, and, but whereas my old man is more, certainly more Western, more centered around business that he ran and had a number of his own businesses, indefinitely different fields. But, uh, we got very similar personalities in the respect of sort of just going and getting something if you’ve got an idea or, or, uh, at least learning about it and making the decision as to whether it’s a good idea. So, um, yeah, I sort of supportive a lot of my friends were quite, um, innovative as well. Uh, one of my other close mates is, um, doing really well and in, uh, in business, over in, over in Victoria now he’s shifted there. So he’s away. That’s been a good, good part of the network there. And uh, yeah, so I think, I don’t know, I don’t think anyone would have stopped any of those decisions being made. You know, that’s a key thing. If you’re everyone tries to get you down or even inadvertently, um, you feel like someone’s getting you down without them even trying to let that stuff get in the way, you know, you chase what, what you’re thinking.
Yeah, for sure. You know, speaking of, uh, of that journey and getting things started people supporting you, have you had any other challenges you’ve had to overcome maybe specifically with ResVu?
I try not to think back on this stuff. Sometimes it’s very, it’s very humbling to, uh, to really think about what we’ve had to come through. You know, the biggest challenge that I had in my first, let’s just call it 2016 into 2017, early 2017. That was really where we started to actually start to build ResVu and, and, um, what it was. And I obviously I was running what was quite a large portfolio of strata buildings have about 2000 apartments that I looked after around Adelaide. Um, some of those with some of our biggest apartment buildings and very relentless role, that one, you know, a hundred plus emails a day, same phone calls really, um, and a lot of decisions to be made. So even just starting the concept at the time was, uh, was a big, additional challenge at that point. I also, wasn’t totally aware, I was always interested in technology and, and had a really good grip on things. And, but I’ll tell you what it wasn’t until probably go. I almost feel like last year that I really started to get a better grip on how to make good decisions in software. So, and I know there’s a lot of people out there that I’ve got software ideas and concepts. And the biggest challenge for me was just understanding whether I was making a good decision around, you know, should I be contracting someone to do this? Um, who am I trying to contract to do this, making sure I assessed potential candidates, uh, previous work. And, you know, I could make that decision within a matter of minutes now, but God, you know, I, I went on a big journey trying to do that, but I guess I was very lucky as well. Um, in finding who’s out currently our CTO, um, Josh and whilst he didn’t know an awful lot about the frameworks that we wanted to use and, um, the, even he wanted to use, you know, the big element was his attitude and his willing, willingness to learn and, and understand, uh, what we wanted to get out of it. And again, you know, he’s the CTO now of, of what is the company that’s, you know, grew 230% in the last three months of last year. So, um, yeah, we’ve had, we’ve had some really big wins and, and he’s been a big factor in that. Yeah. The biggest learning curves were around in particular, who to pick and how to pick them at that point in time. I still consider a part of it being luck, but I will say that I’ve got a very good gut instinct on who the right people are and attitude is, um, sometimes or a lot of the time, better than skill. You can always teach people skill, you can’t teach them attitude. And, um, that’s been a real key part of that. But second to that too, you know, I went through some, some pretty significant, um, you know, mental health battles as well, just trying to achieve, you know, a hundred hour, week of work was only to maintain. I couldn’t even do anything, put some cream on top for the week in terms of a new idea or plan things out at that point in time. So that was real struggle me and no doubt, the biggest challenge I’ve ever been through mate always go through. So you always put yourself under pressure and resilience is the biggest element that will show on. And, um, but you need to be smart about it too, you know, um, always make sure you’ve got your support networks around you. Yeah,
Yeah. That would have been tough a hundred hours in the week. Barely enough time to do anything other than maybe get some sleep.
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And you know, I, I, I got to thank my, my now fiancé, Kylie as well, because she was pivotal through that as well. I was learning a lot. We were only fresh relationship at that point in time too. So, um, she was instrumental in helping me out there too. And so it was the family and, and whatnot behind the end of the day, it was a challenge that had to be done. Like there was no escaping it, or I guess you could, if you wanted to, but I knew I wasn’t that type of person. So it’s just a case of persevering planning, being organized and hitting it on the head and not learning and get you down. So
It sounds like a beautiful little love story there as well.
Let’s see. You could say that
Must’ve been a good connection if you’re sticking with you and a no dates and the early relationship. Congratulations on the engagement. That’s excellent news.
Yeah, it was, uh, we couldn’t believe it. We finally saw our family for the first time over the Christmas break when we were up in Queensland instead. And um, I mean, it happened back in May, but God, just because of the world and the way that it is, you know, we probably would’ve got married within 12 months, but there’s no way that’s happening. So probably, a long-term engagement knowing what the world’s doing at the moment
Now for the listeners out there who are thinking, all right, we’ve talked about ResVu a lot, but you know, sometimes the little elevator pitch is handy is people can wrap their heads around what you do. I’m going to give you mine, my understanding, and you can give the real one. So my understanding of it is it’s, uh, an app that helps, uh, renters to really link in with the tenants or the real estate. So that there’s a good connection there. And also to engage them in their local community where they’re living, where they rent do, they might be new to an area. Um, and they might not know that area very well. Is that about right?
Yeah, you’re not far off in particular. That’s certainly what the product and the new pitch was back in probably 2017. Um, our being focused at that point in time, I’ll give you mine in a second, but just to highlight to people that are listening, um, when the product first started, our target market was an apartment building, right? So we would walk into the apartment building and go, Hey, you need our products. Um, or your residents can have an app. They stay connected with each other. They can book facilities, they can talk amongst one another. They can access local business deals. Um, they can access their own documents. You know, it really boosts their ecosystem for that, for that building. It’s a very big industry, the apartment building industry or the strata industry in Australia, there’s 2.2 million apartments here in Australia. And, um, about 1.8 million of those are professionally managed. So, like I said earlier, I, I was one of those, um, professional managers and obviously, you know, you’ve Victoria and new South Wales have got far more than what we do here in SA, but we knew that that was the market that we needed. And we also knew that going to going and knocking on every single apartment building’s doors, uh, was not only very resourceful, but it also wouldn’t allow us to scale as quickly either. So we made some development last year, um, that put us at the forefront of the strata companies. We’ve now got several companies that manage anywhere over 50,000 apartments. Um, the biggest that we’ve got about a hundred thousand apartments. So they’re some of the biggest in Australia. And in some cases, it’s actually easier to sell all the products to a director of a strata company of a hundred thousand apartments than it is to sell to a management committee of a building with 50 apartments, that was a big learning curve for us as well. And that’s hence why we spent a lot of time developing. So what was the product was very similar to what you just spoke about? And I just spoke about, um, the current pitch is actually more centered around, um, whereas we’ve been a customer service platform for strata companies. So our role within Australia company is to improve the internal management efficiencies of a business, um, through communication, um, through engagement and through supporting contractors and, um, the external, uh, parties that, that perform works for those strata managers. Um, for the resident, we provide a mobile app, um, that’s, uh, ecosystem that, that each resident can, again, connect with one another access, local businesses. They’ve got their own community walls, um, their own social clubs. They can access documents regarding their property. Um, we not only connect renters, we connect owners of those properties, real estate agents, and other also authorized representatives. And ultimately as, uh, what we’re doing as a product is developing an entire ecosystem that connects the management of those strata buildings and the residents of those strata buildings. Um, and the better we connect that and the more efficient we’d perform, uh, or the more efficient we allow the managers to perform their duties. Um, at the end of the day, we’re improving the wellness of the industry through, you know, reducing emails and phone calls and the relentlessness that I spoke about earlier of aware really it’s, um, and also improving the lifestyle of the resident through easier communication and, um, better connectivity.
Yeah. That sounds as someone who’s through a lot pre you know, it sounds like a really good thing. Putting myself in the shoes of the real estate agents, it’s like, they must be getting just, you know, the phone calls, like you said, they’ve lent listeners of that would be incredible for, you know, a leaky tap that can situation that would make sense to kind of, uh, handle that in a more efficient way.
Correct. Yeah. So, yeah, to give it a genuine example of, of where our system, um, acts now is the, again, you know, two, three years ago, a resident could a maintenance issue on the app. Um, it would end up in the hands of the real estate agent or the strata manager, depending on, um, where it needed to go and, you know, they would copy and paste and get the information. And I put it into an email or put it into their own work order system. And then, you know, that was quite a fragmented work flow. So again, as we caught on to what we, what these companies really needed in terms of efficiencies, and we built out our own work order platform now, um, so if a resident requests something by the app as a complete automated workflow between that request through to the work order, through to the contractor, the contractor has their own platform through our systems as well, that allows them to digitally log into the system, add photos and comments. The resident is always updated about the status. The manager is always updated about the status. Um, and the end result of that is less phone calls, less emails, but better customer service.
Yeah, it sounds great. I think what some, one thing that, uh, you know, we’re used to now with information at our fingertips is just wanting to know that our request has been received and it’s being actioned. Don’t need up to the minute updates, but that’s the only problem with leaving a voice message or sending an email usually like, well, are they actually looking at that? But I guess that’s why, um, so many of these that things you’re talking about just seemed to me like, wow, that’s makes a lot of sense. People put their minds at ease.
Yeah. Correct. And you just think about that. As I said, I manage 2000 apartments right now, if Josh has the app on his phone and you’re able to go in there and you be able to say all cool. So the maintenance requests that I sent three days ago, Oh, that’s in the hands of the contractor and he’s attending site on the 17th, but you don’t need to do anything more. You’re happy. You’ve got your answer traditionally. And this isn’t just the case for the strata entry. This is the case for lots of different industries. Um, if you want to know what’s going on, like you’re going to pick the phone up where you’re going to send the email and that on the other side of the fence with 2000 apartments in 2000 potential, Joshes every single day. Um, in fact, it’s probably double that on average 2.5 people in every apartment. It’s technically four and a half thousand people, um, that that’s a lot of Joshes. So, um, you know, if you can mitigate that, that initial email, the initial phone call Josh is happier and the manager’s got less work to do because the system’s automated it. So that’s, that’s where we sit now. And I think, um, it was a really good decision on their behalf to go down that enterprise level roads. Um, the one decision that we did make though, was to not, um, implement any trust accounting functionality. Um, there’s already software in the industry that does that. And this is probably more entrepreneurial advice to the people. Listening is find your niche. Don’t try to do everything if there’s already key plies in that industry, have a really good to think about how you can partner with them. So we spent a lot of time building a system that no one else does. That’s allowed us to become really good friends with the trust accounting platforms. There’s four of them here in Australia that provides services to that 1.8 million professionally managed to, you know, apartments here in Australia. So now we have a big strategy for 2021 through our partnerships with them is to integrate further in and be part of their networks and extend back to that part where our target market was each apartment building. Well, now it’s a case of it’s the strata company. It’s the, it’s the trust accounting systems. And that’s for us definitely the most scalable way.
I think that’s great advice to people to, uh, get to partner up with others when you can work together towards that rather than try and compete when realistically you probably won’t win because they’re the expert in that area.
We had two competitors in the space. If we continue to sell directly to the apartment building, then we had another two competitors. It actually made it quite difficult for us to sell as soon as we kept that base product and added those layers on top around customer service and those workflows were well and truly above the services that those competitors can offer. And now the companies that we’re working with are going, yeah, we need you to across all of our sites. And a lot of our competitors are on those sites, but we had the ability to go through the top, um, and, uh, and, and work on it that way. So that’s awesome.
That’s great. So you’re talking about things are evolving and correct me if I’m wrong. You initially kind of pitched this at an eChallenge many years ago through University of Adelaide, is that right?
And, uh, how close to what you do now was a, you know, is it something completely different? Is it not even the same pitch anymore, or, uh, what what’s kind of grown since then?
It’s funny actually may like our initial pitch, which was similar to what we spoke about before was we’re building an ecosystem that enhances lifestyle and convenience within apartment buildings. Right. And it was, you could connect with one another connect with your local businesses, have access to your buildings, documents and, and stay connected. Um, that honestly hasn’t changed. Like that element still sits within the only thing that’s changed. Well, the two things that have changed is we’ve actually built the software since then. Um, not just an idea anymore. Yeah, that’s it. And, uh, we’re continuously building the self-aware. And second to that is we’ve got that new layer that I spoke about where it’s the workflow styled enterprise level access. Now I’d never spoken about that. That was really a 2020 innovation that came as the light bulb moment as a way that, how do we better secure this industry as fast as possible? And that’s where that came from. Yeah. You’ve always never, ever, ever think that your initial concept is going to be the same moving forward. We’ve, we’ve kept the elements of it. There’s no doubt, but you know, a picture’s always pretty broad as well. So, um, I think if I can buy, if I compared actual feature in, you know, in depth feature analysis back then to what it is now, I’d be totally wrong, but the actual itself was very similar.
And what was that like to win, to win the challenge? Cause that was a, what year was that in? That was going back…
- That was, yeah. So 2017 was the year that we had our first lot of investors come on board as well. So, um, two companies here in SA, uh, one being a large strata management business and another one being a large hardware and supply business. Um, we have digital notice boards as well that go up insights and sort of screens that people can interact with. So the hardware and supply business was obviously a key part there. Yeah. I think about a month later, we did the, uh, we went through the motions on the, uh, on the eChallenge and, uh, yeah, ended up winning it. And I think the best part about that was the recognition for the time the two software developers that, that, uh, were part of the team. Yeah. Um, Josh again, is our CTO at the moment and, and the other guy that he doesn’t work with us anymore, but it was a big win for them. Um, but putting so much effort, if anything, I sort of walked out, they’re really happy that they could be recognized as well. You know, of course I was happy, but, you know, I think just gave them really good recognition. And again, back to my earlier point, you know, this is a big team scenario and you don’t want it to be lonely. You want people to be recognized and happy.
Yeah. And how cool that Josh was there at that I’m in, he’s still the CTO today. That’s awesome.
I think, um, we laugh quite regularly actually. Um, you know, we’d go out for beers and catch up and he, uh, I remember he did this mock-up, um, it was his first real trial of using, we used angular as our front end. And at the time it was that angular one, angular two, I think we’re up to like on nine now, something like that. Anyway, Josh’s first dashboard that he built for the business and we every now and then I’d bring it up and we have a bit of a laugh, you know, because his skill level now is just, you know, a thousand fold what it was back then inside. It’s always a bit, I mean, that should always be the case, you know, you should always be learning and improving again, the attitude’s always going to be better than the skills he gritted his teeth and learned it. And, um, yeah, so we do laugh about that cause pretty stark difference.
That’s cool to hear. Um, and then correct me if I’m wrong, you are then involved with Think Lab. Was that following the challenge? Is that right?
Yeah. Yes. We were we’re still in the Think Lab actually. So, um, Think Lab has been great. We’ve had a great time in there. Um, great group of people always really, really enjoyed it. Um, we’ve got, we had two offices in there since COVID, we’ve now only got one just because the team rotates quite regularly. So really this, the development team will work in there on, um, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. And then you’ve got myself and, uh, Brett who’s, our National Implementation Manager will generally roll in and out of there, but we find it easier to work from home because we can be as noisy as we want. We can make as many phone calls as we want, you know, all that type of stuff. Um, whereas the dev team prefers to be together so they can collaborate and brainstorm. So it’s really worked out quite well there.
Yeah. That’s great. And so, is there a much opportunity? Um, you know, I’ve heard a lot about think lab and we, through the 7News Young Achiever Awards in SA, there’s a long list of people who, um, have been finalists and winners, who’ve been part of Think Lab or associated with it comes to mind that believe Sean Greeley.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sean’s a great guy. I get along with Sean super well. Yeah.
And for those who don’t know, Sean was actually the Young Achiever of the Year for 2019 for SA. Do you guys get to collaborate together much and you know, do you run into each other and um, is that a bonus or is it more you are in your own little space?
No, no, it’s a really collaborative area. I mean, yeah. You’re regularly going out having a coffee, catching up with people talking there’s some awesome stuff going on there. So, look great space, I know at the moment there’s quite a few, um, desks out in the hot desking area that are available and that’s purely, I think just due to the break that we’ve had. Um, I would urge anyone if they’re thinking about it. I know it’s not, not too expensive. Um, even if you wanted to just email me, I could forward you on Tom@resvu.com that I, you, um, onto the team there. So super good team, some really good mentors. I think that’s probably the biggest part where the think lab. I got some really good ones. I think we’ve got some really good overseas ones. I got great guy Sanjay out of Singapore at the moment, you know, and, uh, Think Labs, is sponsoring ResVu for you to head over to the, to Singapore when you know, the world is okay. And, um, that was, it was, it was supposed to be May last year that we were supposed to get a new sell. Um, yeah. Quite funny how that works out. Yeah. It’s an unreal network. It’s some great, great, great mentors in there. They’ve got entrepreneurs organization are involved as well, but the largest entrepreneurial organization in the world and that’s been amazing people part of them too, so yeah, you’re not lost. And then you do things like forums every now and then where everyone gets together, whether it’s fast or whether it’s someone who’s just an idea and you just talk and you, and you help and you go through it, that sort of stuff. So yeah. Awesome place.
Oh, that’s great. And uh, I guess I wanted to quickly talk about also the, you know, you won the eChallenge and other thing you won was the First National Real Estate Innovation Award, part of the Young Achiever Awards. And, uh, just wondering if I can get some of your experiences, you know, being involved, I guess, from the nomination through to, uh, being that sort of finalist and then, you know, all the way through to the end being selected as the winner in that category.
Yeah. It was awesome experience. I must admit, it, would’ve been a bit harder if I, uh, didn’t have such good input from you. They might. So, and the rest of the team over there. So, um, I know that made it a lot easier and uh, we had a huge amount going on with ResVu. We’re going through another capital rise at the mine and we’re going through, um, you know, implementing some really big customers. And I think having that assistance there made it a bit easier to actually get through look experience was awesome. I thought being able to have a good connection with previous winners was great. Um, look, I saw Sean regularly anyway, but also seeing videos from the others and understanding more about the process from them was brilliant. The First National Award was a big one from our end, obviously not, uh, we didn’t really fit the mix on many others and I think, uh, having the support there and taking that out, it was great. I think, uh, yeah, look, thanks for getting the First National. It was brilliant. It was, was it Ray?
Ray Ellis is the CEO.
That’s it! Yeah. Yeah. So thanks again to Ray as well. So great experience, great help from the, the team, uh, being yourself, Josh and the rest over there. And, uh, yeah, I thought we’d, I felt connected quite a bit out of it. You probably didn’t feel that connected makes and you are what was putting so much time and everything else in my head, but I really did feel that I knew what was going on and what we needed to do. And again, very happy to take it out. So…
That’s brilliant in, uh, you know, not wanting to, to our own horn with the awards too much, but thank you for the kind words about the support of the, you know, through the nomination process, because that’s one thing that we find that we kind of do differently to a lot of awards programs is, uh, we don’t just run the award programs to show something on our website or, um, you know, a lot of places, they just have awards program just to have one, that’s actually what we do. And we do it because we believe in sharing stories of people who are doing great things. And so that’s actually, uh, our team is just, so one of the best parts of the job is people who have a nomination, like might need a bit of help with it or something. Yeah. And we actually, you know, we’re there to help. A lot of people get surprised by that, but, um, it’s one of the best parts because we’re doing it to talk to people and connect with. And, uh, so that’s, that’s the best way to do it. So,for anyone out there who is thinking of nominating a young person, that their young achiever awards are open now for nomination, it’s as easy as email info at awardsaustralia.com. If you want help with the nomination, if you want to talk to someone real, we’ll give you a call, um, and, and walk you through the process. It’s, uh, for us, it’s all about ensuring that people are recognizing their stories are kind of shared because, uh, there’s a lot of negative stuff going on in the world. So,we just try and push a better positive stuff out.
Mm. Yeah, definitely. That’s actually really important bringing up. Yeah. It was a really big contributor, I think whether or not we would have, uh, whether or not we won or not, um, with the year that everyone had last year and jeez might be this case this year, um, fingers crossed. It’s not, it’s something that you should do for yourself or for someone else that deserves it because recognition in times like we currently have is, uh, can go a long way.
Yeah. Good point, Tom, for anyone out there thinking, well, you know, unlike Tom, I’m an entrepreneur, but I would want to nominate myself. I’d like to challenge that. And there’s actually an early episode of this podcast, so that Louisa Nuccio and she talks nominating herself because as a woman in STEM, sometimes she had to create her own opportunities. Um, and that’s a really good if people want to listen to that though. Uh, I think we’ll be inspired and say, Oh, it’s more like actually adding something to my resume. You know what I mean, take that approach rather than, um, kind of thinking I shouldn’t nominate myself. So, uh, that was a good point. You brought up there, Tom, and just quickly you mentioned pP ort Lincoln, that was kind of funny, wasn’t it? So, um, through quite a bit of context with people, uh, you know, 2020 was the year that events didn’t go ahead and a lot of places unless they were online. So of course we held our awards presentation online and, uh, I got an email or a message from you, Tom. And you’re like, ah, you gotta be in port Lincoln and literally driving there on the day of the awards. I think it was like, Oh, hopefully we get there in time. Otherwise we trying to somehow get a connection to zoom or on your phone or whatever it was, but you made it there in time. The connection worked seemed to work all fine.
So, I forgot about that. I was freaking out because tonight our driver is no longer over there. And I remember, I think one ceremony started at 7:00 PM. We didn’t get into like 20 to seven. We got a boat on the back of the car and unhooked that, was all this stuff started to go wrong in 20 minutes. And I remember just, uh, Johnson and Sharon’s was shared on, so things, things worked out, I got the laptop working and whatnot. So, and the other unlucky part was your award category was the first one. Lucky like it was, if it was last, we would’ve given you some an extra hour and a half be the craziness.
No, that’s great. Well, Tom, want to say thank you for taking the time to have a chat, to share a bit about your journey and about ResVu, um, and, uh, some of the insights as well that the entrepreneur’s journey. I think a lot of people will, will get something from that.
Do you have any, uh, any last little message you’d like to share, whether it’s, you know, to, to fellow entrepreneurs or, um, just in general?
Thanks very much to you. So Josh, not only for today, but also be helped throughout the awards process. That was fantastic. Um, again, to Ray Ellise at First National, it was, it was a good win for us. And again, mainly about the recognition, um, of the team, but, you know, if I was to have some parting, uh, comments, it would be that Irrespective of what anyone is doing, always try to find the reason as to why you’re doing something, but I let it be many. That’d be something to do with supporting yourself, supporting friends, supporting your team. Um, there’s a lot of, a lot more success comes out of those wins than it does out of, out of a financial element. And, um, financial element will always come with that, you know, be, be proud of whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re focusing on, give it the best crack possible, but be smart. And when you think you need to leave, um, or beast to mine, when you think you need to make the big decisions too. And, um, that can be hard when, when you’re young, um, you know, you almost need that experience, you know, experiences expensive unless you, uh, unless you use it. It’s one of my dad’s favorite comments. So, um, good luck to anyone out there with, with all their ideas and maybe listening and, um, feel free to reach out to me too. If you’ve got anything that you want to ask.
Perfect. We’ll put your shown, put those comments in the show notes about, um, your contact details and get in touch with you and a great advice and a brilliant quote from Mr. Welsby.
He will be pumped that I’ve, uh, finally, uh, quoted him on that. He’s been telling me that since I’ve been about one.
All these years later, finally.
I finally let him know I’ve been listening to him.
No, no, thanks, Tom mate. Much appreciated.
No worries. Thanks, so much Josh
Talk to you soon!
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