Monday, December 12, 2011/
Connect2Field is a field service software for service businesses, hosted in the cloud. It allows business owners to schedule work to their staff and dispatch the work to their mobile phones.
Founded in 2009, the Sydney-based business eliminates the need for job sheets by offering a complete electronic system, which includes inventory management, invoicing and quoting.
Once you have invoiced a job, you can download your invoices into your accounting system of choice.
Chief executive Steven Orenstein talks to StartupSmart about the company’s interest in mum-and-dad businesses, and its plans to go global.
What inspired the idea for Connect2Field? What niche did you identify?
Connect2Field evolved out of the time when I was running a business that helped small businesses manage their computer networks.
We provided IT support to SMEs around Sydney, with about 10 IT support guys moving around and trying to manage their schedules of work. I realised there needed to be a better way.
From the start, it was designed to assist in helping service businesses schedule their staff and dispatch job information to their field staff.
The whole idea is to improve their customer service, simplify their communication and organise their back office.
We’re aiming for ma-and-pa blue-collar companies here – think maintenance companies, electricians, plumbers, trash removal, repair companies, etc. They all have a need for software like Connect2Field to run their business.
How long did you work on the business before you launched it?
We started by building some custom applications for specific customers and then in time evolved into building Connect2Field into a product.
It’s taken about three years to get to the point where we are 100% focused on Connect2Field.
How did you fund the business?
We managed to fund the business through other projects we were working on. However, we are in the final stages of finalising funding to enable us to sell Connect2Field internationally.
Our investment isn’t going to be used for the general running of the company – we’re already cashflow positive and can fund product development. Rather, it will be used for growth.
We aren’t planning on just burning through a bunch of capital – we have a strategy on how we plan to execute our growth throughout Europe and the US.
How do you promote the business?
We promote the business online via SEO, SEM, referrals, word-of-mouth and social media.
We currently have customers from all over the world and our product is improving on a weekly basis.
How many staff do you have?
We now have about 10 staff from development, support, sales and marketing.
What are your points of difference?
Simple, easy-to-use software. Usability is key to our users – it’s a cloud-based product.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Keeping up with the speed at which the company is growing, because we are able to service so many customers worldwide.
What’s the biggest risk you face?
Growing too fast.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Running a business, I’m constantly learning, so there are always lots of things you can look back on and wish you did differently.
The key thing I’ve found is to make sure you learn from each experience, so that you don’t repeat mistakes.