CEO, Trish Mackie-Smith wins HIA award!
HIA QLD Recognition of Women in Building & Construction Awards
Amazing business women are all around us who have the ability to inspire, influence, motivate, make things happen and achieve results.
HIA provides the opportunity to raise the profile of professional women within the industry, and recognise and acknowledge women who have overcome significant challenges or reached a great achievement in their business and/or made a significant contribution as a result of their business success.
Business Development Professional
Winner: Patricia Mackie-Smith - INNDOX Pty Ltd
Co-founder and CEO of INNDOX Pty Ltd. With Trish’s 17 years’ experience as Managing Director of BuildingPro, property law and building consultancy saw the need for property professionals and property owners to have a better way of managing their project records, document management, handover, maintenance and due diligence. With this knowledge in 2017 Trish co-founded INNDOX, a property software app and program for builders, developers and homeowners. In January 2019 Trish took on the role as CEO and has been integral to the growth and profile of the business nationally and with international prospects. Trish has received national media exposure for their new property software app, and as a result had to learn to overcome her fear of public speaking.
Cecilia Arendsen - Smartstone
Chantal Kisten - Steel-Line Garage Doors
Sandra Clarke - Wattyl
Christina Elvin - Polytech
CEO featured in Information Age for Australian Computer Society
by Roulla Yiacoumi
Welcome to ‘Female Founders’, theInformation Age series profiling 12 women who have grabbed the entrepreneurial reins and ridden into the unpredictability of start-up life.
We talk to the women about their business, entrepreneurship journey and advice they’d give to other women considering starting their own business.
Information Age interviewed all 12 women on the Start-up Catalyst Missionto London this year. Start-up Catalyst runs regular missions for start-ups, investors, and other leaders to some of the world’s top tech hotspots, such as Silicon Valley, Israel, Hong Kong and London. The goal? To transform both the individual and innovation landscape in Australia.
Today we speak with Trish Mackie-Smith, co-founder of Inndox.
Name: Trish Mackie-Smith, co-founder
Established: 2017 in Brisbane
No. of employees: 3
No. of customers: 250
Information Age: Tell me about your business.
Information Age: Inndox, is a digital property logbook that passes from one owner to the next. Like you have a logbook for your car with all the service history, Inndox is a property logbook that covers the entire lifecycle of a property, starting from the builder or property developer who provides all of the data, manuals, warranties, certificates, specifications, plans, and approvals.
That then passes to the owner who can better manage and maintain their property, keep updating it, share it with a solicitor or property manager. When selling the property, it's passed onto the next owner – that’s very valuable.
We have traction across four states of Australia. We're endorsed by Master Builders, Property Council of Australia and Housing Industry of Australia as a best practice tool for builders.
IA: What problem does your business solve?
Trish: Being a property lawyer and being also a building consultant with my husband who’s a commercial builder, we saw lots of issues around the history of buildings and property, and paperwork going missing when you really need it.
We thought there had to be a better way for us to know what's the real state of that building that you're about to buy or move into, or have work done on – having trusted records rather than paper that could easily go missing or be subject to fraud. I was looking for a solution and I thought technology could digitise all the property records, and help you better manage them.
I also think the ‘buyer beware’ law is an unfair law. The seller of a property doesn't need to provide anything. No information is needed to be supplied to potential buyers and buyers are getting ripped off. They're buying lemons and this is where I've been having to come in as a lawyer to try and sort things out.
Once you've bought the property, you've got no come back at the seller or the agent, especially if it goes to auction. A lot of buyers aren’t getting building and pest reports done at a feverish time at auction, thinking it all looks great. They put down a lot of money and then they’re stuck with it.
All these issues combined, I thought, if we only had records that you could trust, at a trusted central location that everyone could know that history of the property, and then the true value of that property, then that would answer a lot of problems.
I even have a petition in state parliament. I’m the principal petitioner in Queensland, and it's for seller disclosure. It was sponsored by Kate Jones, Minister, and it's being debated in parliament right now. Laws take a long time to change and I'm hoping that we can set a standard in the industry, improve the industry with transparency, safety, sustainability.
IA: How long did you sit on the idea for a business before you did something about it?
Trish: I was talking to my husband about that recently. We remember that we were on a holiday, which is pretty rare [laughs]. We were surfing, bobbing up and down in the surf together. It was December 2015 and we thought, “We're sick of this, records going missing all the time, people getting stressed, losing sales. How can we digitise this? What can we do? Let's work on it. Let's do some research.”
I was also fed up with a ‘buyer beware’ law too. That's around Australia, except in the ACT. They have seller disclosure in the ACT which has been operating successfully since 2003. I thought, “Well, why can't the rest of Australia follow?” The world is changing. Around 30 states in America have seller disclosure. In the UK, they have a form of seller disclosure.
It only makes sense, and it provides consumer protection. You've got consumer protection for every other asset except for your own property, which is the most valuable, biggest asset you'll ever buy – and there's no consumer protection.
IA: Who is your ideal customer?
Trish: A mid-tier property developer or builder doing about 200 to 250 handovers a year of multi-unit complexes.
IA: What's the biggest challenge you have faced so far on your journey?
Trish: There have been so many challenges [laughs]. Number one, I'm a female in the tech space. I'm not a tech person, but I knew technology could help.
IA: What are some jobs you’ve had previous to Inndox?
Trish: Lawyer, registered nurse, flight attendant, model.
IA: Who has mentored you on this journey?
Trish: I got into an accelerator course back in 2017. It was a smart cities accelerator course, and that was with BlueChilli in Sydney. I found that that was very helpful in knowing how to plan ahead with regards to validating our product, getting it out to market, and having the right technology. Our mentor came from BlueChilli and his name is Brett. He now works at River City Labs, a few desks away from me – he’s awesome.
IA: Have you ever wanted to throw the towel in?
Trish: Yes, of course. A few times because there are some very huge decisions and things can go wrong. I have a family as well. Of course, there’ve been times where I've contemplated giving it all up, but I do feel I need to do this, and I have a purpose, so I want to see it through.
IA: What do you think is the first international market you’d enter?
Trish: UK. I've done research into the market and there's a definite need and a greater willingness for customers to use technology. They have home information packs in the UK, which means that at time of sale, the seller has to provide all of the information about the property to the buyer.
That was legislated in 2003, and at the same time the ACT had its legislation. However, it was all paper-based and abolished in 2013 because it wasn't working, because paper kept going missing.
There was an actual call by the UK government last November. It was in the Law Gazette – an urgent need for digital property logbooks. They need us. We can do what they need us to do. We've got the solution. There's a big marketplace.
There's already a competitor that does a bespoke expensive siloed service for the high-end property developers, but they're not about transparency, one owner to the next or due diligence or anything beyond just servicing high-end property developers.
They've got 250 property developers using it and it's not a self-management system. It's like a consulting service. I already know there's a market for what we're doing. And we’re less expensive.
IA: What's been your experience in hiring staff and how have you found that process?
Trish: It’s very difficult with tech staff, getting the right person, feel, culture. You need that right fit in your team. It's not just about the person with the right ability tech-wise, but they also need to understand what we're about, be on board with our purpose and mission, and be excited by it.
Finding the right person has been a bit of trial and error. We did use an agency to begin with and that was really a big, big mistake. Very expensive and the quality wasn't great either. We now have an internal full stack developer and he is a genius. We love him and if we come to the UK, he said he'd come too. We've found a star!
IA: How would Inndox work? If I'm looking at buying a property would I buy the Inndox record for it?
Trish: Hopefully the seller would already have an Inndox with all the records there to help with their sale and then it's online. When you do a search, like on realestate.com, you can see, "Okay, they've got all the information about the property. Do they have an Inndox I can look at?”
They've got the plans, approvals, the flooding maps, other reports, building and pest reports, all of that is in their Inndox. It’s got all the maintenance history, all the trades that have been there, the warranties – because we do residential and commercial. If they're all there, that can help the buyer have confidence to go ahead and buy that property.
IA: How would you go about creating an Inndox for an existing building?
Trish: Our market entry is with brand new builds but we do have the ability to provide all the records for existing buildings as well. We're building that right now – it's in development and will be released shortly.
Anyone who owns a building no matter how old can set up their own Inndox and they can put whatever records they wish to in there. Some of it will be able to be pulled from council. We're in partnership with Australia's biggest online digital conveyancer, so you can pull records from other places and have it in your Inndox.
IA: How have you funded your business to date?
Trish: Some self-funding, then we got into the accelerated course. With that, we had an MVP [minimal viable product] built. That would have been worth about $100,000. Then we had a VC come in with some cash. Currently we have one sophisticated angel investor and three VCs on board as investors.
IA: Who put you on the path to entrepreneurship?
Trish: No one really put me on a path. I think I've just always been a problem solver and being a lawyer as well has made me very aware of problems and how to solve them. It's given me confidence that, yes, you can actually do something about solving real problems. I think it's just been in my blood.
IA: What is the vision for your business over the next five years?
Trish: To set the standard for having all your records in one place in a trusted central location. Every property could be using this. There are 2.5 billion properties in the world so I don't think that'll happen in five years, but I'd like to be known in the industry. I can see that eventually, it'll be a brand known as a standard. “Okay, I’m buying that property. Does it have an Inndox?”
Roulla Yiacoumi travelled on the 2019 Startup Catalyst Mission to London with the Female Founders.
Roulla Yiacoumi is the Managing Editor of Information Age. She is an award-winning journalist who has been covering business and consumer technology news for more than 20 years. Roulla was recently awarded Best Editor 2019 at the Consensus IT Writers Awards. She lives in Sydney and loves writing about IT start-ups, dodgy practices and the tech job market.
Copyright © Information Age, ACS
Master Builders QLD to showcase inndox!
We’re proud to announce we have the support of Master Builders Queensland to showcase inndox!
Come along to the 2019 Master Builders BUSSQ Road Show and locate our stand where we will demonstrate all the benefits of inndox.
The Road Show is a FREE event and open to members and non-members, but registration is essential!
The 2019 Roadshow is not to be missed! It’s a great opportunity to get up-to-speed with the latest industry news. It’s also the perfect chance to network with like-minded people, discover our exhibitor’s exciting and innovative products and services as well as win some awesome lucky door prizes!
inndox is an award-winning app that helps builders and property owners better manage and control their valuable records from any device.
For new builds, builders can provide owners with handover files on inndox (all the plans, manuals, specifications, approvals, certificates, warranties and more).
Don't miss this opportunity to see us in person at the Road Show and unearth the latest trends in property!
Hot off the press!
Check out page 45 in the latest issue of Master Builder Magazine where you will find inndox featured in the "Members Corner - The Real Deal". Master Builder is the official magazine of Master Builders Queensland. As the peak body representing the building and construction industry of Queensland, the publication is the trusted resource for news, services and advice.
Thinking about going paperless? Beginning with one part of your process can help to prevent digital overwhelm and allow you to ease into the online world.
There are so many products and services offering to digitise different areas of your business, or your life, that it can be hard to know where to start. Beginning with one part of your process can help to prevent digital overwhelm and allow you to ease into the online world.
Your clients should benefit as much as you do from digitisation, so look at the stages in your design and building process which are currently slowed down by paperwork and potentially frustrating for customers. It’s possible one of these is handover, the point at which a client is usually keen to move in without adhering to important protocol. Digitising this process can help to reduce admin costs and post-build issues, while speeding up progress and improving transparency between yourself and the homeowner.
A competitive option for Australian building professionals is inndox, a fast, inexpensive and secure way for builders to provide a compliant digital handover. Bridging the gap between builder software and property owners, inndox automates the ongoing communication to owners using an online owner-management platform. This includes sharing and retrieving data, maintenance scheduling, warranty alerts and transference to future owners.
With access to tools, such as templates, information cloning, contacts and branding capabilities, and after sales services, including referral opportunities for the life of the property at no extra cost, the system is helping to keep builders out of the office and onsite.
HIA members can enjoy a 20 per cent discount ($39 per property handover) and a no-obligation demo.
Presented inndox at Qld Parliament House for the Pacific Connect “Women in Business & Digital Delivery” !
17-20th February 2019
A warm and welcoming hug by the distinguished Special Advisor for the ICDP, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu from Samoa, set the tone for the Pacific Connect dialogue that took place in Brisbane recently.
As a guest presenter, I was asked to deliver a presentation about my technology business, inndox and to talk about the challenges faced in trying to run a successful digital business in Australia. I was told that my audience would be female entrepreneurs and business owners, and ICT specialists from: New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji who would be interested in networking and learning about how IT innovation could help with development in the Pacific nations.
In preparation for the event, I did some reading and was struck by the potency of the message conveyed in the 2017 report titled Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Pacific that: “where women can achieve their economic potential, economies grow, societies prosper, families are wealthier, [more educated] and more resilient [making the world a better place].” To me the message was loud and clear - we definitely need to encourage and empower women in our communities because it is the women who are instrumental in bringing about significant and long-lasting change that will benefit future generations. As technology plays an important and integral role in most businesses, it has become ever more urgent that we all learn and adapt quickly lest we get left behind.
So it was with the purpose of encouraging other like-minded women in business, that I told my story of how I went from being a tech founder of a not-for-profit business to help children back in 1999, to being a property lawyer, then business owner, and now the CEO of a software business.
I spoke about how I wanted to change our property laws in the interest of fairness and that I had submitted a petition that was sponsored by a parliamentary Minister and tabled in Queensland State Parliament in August 2016. I went on to explain that despite the petition, I was frustrated because I knew that laws do not change overnight - laws can take years or even decades to change.
I relayed that because I was driven by a purpose - to make a difference in the property industry - that strong sense of purpose became the motivator to keep me searching to find a better, quicker way and that is why I turned to technology.
My re-entry into the technology space was daunting and difficult at times but I remained determined. I successfully launched inndox - a property app for builders and property owners, into the marketplace in 2018. The app is now being used by customers in the ACT and across three states of Australia and there are plans to expand into international markets.
As part of the presentation, I shared some lessons learnt throughout my journey by listening to other founders, business mentors, reading and by just doing!
The 5 tips that helped me overcome challenges along the way were:
Have a strong sense of purpose. Knowing that you are in business to help others is a powerful motivator whenever times get tough.
Set one big audacious goal each year. I use this as a beacon to help with my decision-making as I often find it difficult to say no.
Be self-aware. It is important to know your true strengths and weaknesses and then find ways of overcoming those weaknesses so that you create the most capable team.
Find your “tribe” as success brings success. According to Oprah Winfrey: “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
Customers are your gold. Listen and spend time with them to understand their needs and wants then find ways to make their lives easier, better, less stressful, less costly. This will give your business a competitive edge. “If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will” according to a quote by Sam Walton.
My presentation ended with a quote (from the same paper referenced earlier): “Women’s economic empowerment is a matter of human rights and social justice”.
In my view this is a fundamental right that should exist in every nation but unfortunately it does not. To help improve the situation, we need programs such as the Pacific Connect Network Dialogue because it supports and facilitates the sharing of important knowledge and business experiences - it provides opportunities to network and make real and enduring business connections that should lead to increased economic prosperity.
The next presentation by Sarah Mak, co-founder of Folktale, a visual story-telling app, was very inspiring. Her desire to empower people and businesses to tell their own stories was well demonstrated in the authentic and emotionally-charged video clips presented to us.
Following the presentations and panel discussions, I quickly learned that my challenges in Australia paled into insignificance compared to other remarkable stories shared during the dialogue. Some obstacles regularly encountered by the Pacific women seemed insurmountable to me! Yet despite such incredible difficulties and hardships they often faced on a daily basis, they seemed incredibly optimistic.
Some of the actionable outcomes of the dialogue included launching a waste management project; establishing a new support network in Fiji; designing more inclusive apps for people with disabilities; launching incubator programs for smart business ideas and many more exciting projects that will make a positive impact on the communities and businesses into the future.
Pacific Connect is a Federal Government funded program managed by the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships to help Pacific Women in Business and Digital Delivery.
Trish Mackie-Smith, CEO of inndox - a property app for managing and maintaining property assets. This includes property records, appliance manuals, building plans, warranties, certificates, specifications, tenancy agreements,insurance policies etc. No need to worry about paper files going astray when managers leave or the owner dies or getting damaged or destroyed due to natural disasters such as flood, cyclone, fire or earthquake. All that important and valuable information can now be safely stored and accessible by the property owner on their mobile phone. inndox is FREE for the first 12 months and only $2 AUS per month if continued.
Builders use inndox to provide better customer service by giving owners a “digital handover” of the property via the app. Builders globally can use inndox to help them with compliance and save them money. The cost is only $49 AUS dollars one-off fee for each property handover.
Andrew Mackie-Smith wins 2018 Queensland housing and construction award for Inndox
Inndox wins national award
Your Investment Property magazine recently announced the winner of "Best Building and Pest Inspection Company" at their Inaugural awards. Inndox founders Andrew and Trish Mackie-Smith won the prestigious award thanks to their start-up Inndox. Read the full article here:
Advert in the Master Builders Queensland State Awards Magazine 2018
Inndox promoted to 9000 Master Builders members in the State Housing & Construction awards publication due out October 2018.
Exciting news!! Inndox 2nd in pitch competition
On 19th September 2018, Trish Mackie-Smith pitched inndox at Urbanity and came 2nd place! Lots of interest from the audience and attracted many new customers! Thanks to Adam Di Marco (organiser) for including inndox in the session “PropTech is the new Black”. Great event and looking forward to Urbanity 2019!
Trish Mackie-Smith was selected as a Female Founder to pitch inndox shark-tank style at the Urbanity Conference. A competitive pitch against 2 other proptech start-up founders in a session titled: Proptech is the new Black.
Sydney Proptech Summit 2018
From over 50 applicants, inndox won a place along with only 5 other proptech startups to pitch to an audience of Real Estate Investors, Real Estate Managers, Business Angels and VC Investors. Inndox also won a booth to exhibit during the 2 day event. An exciting opportunity to present & demonstrate our innovative solution to the property industry and potential proptech investors.
Inndox on real estate with Kevin Turner 4BC radio
In September 2017 – a program called inndox won a place in the CityConnect Smart Cities program – a six-month accelerator to support, design and build a smart cities solution partnering with BlueChilli for technology expertise and support from Advance Queensland. Inndox co-founder Andrew Mackie-Smith joins Kevin Turner on this morning’s programme.
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