According to Aussie business owner Danny Gorog, “an app is for life, not just for Christmas”.
And Gorog would know, being the former director of app design giant Outware Mobile, and now the founder and chief executive of Snap Send Solve, a Melbourne startup helping Australian citizens report issues from their neighbourhood to their local council.
The entrepreneur also has a number of other eclectic office holdings, including being a board member and director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and a former board member of troubled publishing house Melbourne University Publishing.
However, apps and software were Gorog’s first love, leading to Outware being acquired by ASX-listed Melbourne IT in 2015 for $67 million. The founder tells SmartCompany Snap Send Solve was actually launched while he was still running Outware, inspired by a run-in with a broken swing at a local park.
“It was back in 2012, and my son was quite young at the time, and we were down at the local park and the swing was broken,” he says.
“I remember thinking to myself: ‘How do I get this fixed? Who do I report this to?’ I had no idea, I didn’t even know what council I was in at the time.”
At the same time, Gorog says the Victorian state government was running a business competition, inviting startups to build apps and software using publically available government data. Gorog put two and two together, and Snap Send Solve was born.
The app allows anyone to report issues they see with their local public infrastructure and get the report to the right authorities, such as a particularly nasty pothole or a broken NBN maintenance box.
“People have no idea how many different companies and authorities are involved in our communities. I’m on a tram right now, and PTV would be responsible for any graffiti on the tram, Adshel likely responsible for any issues with tram stop advertising, roads would be VicRoads. There are lots of complexities,” he says.
Today, Snap Send Solve gets about 30,000 reports a month through the platform, and is involved with 700 local councils and authorities across Australia. The founder says he’s seen 100% year-on-year growth in users and is expecting half a million reports through the platform this year.
The app sends reports to every council in Australia, and forges commercial partnerships with other companies and organisations, which the company uses as its main income stream. Gorog says it currently has “hundreds” of these partnerships, including with large-scale organisations such as Melbourne University and Agriculture Victoria.
“Software development is hard”
Right now, the team is more focused on the medium term, looking at locking in as many authorities and organisations on the app as they can. In the future, Gorog says he can see opportunities in AI and machine learning to help councils better understand the data they receive from Snap Send Solve.
Having lived and breathed the app development life for the last 10 years, Gorog says despite some significant failings in the market in recent times, apps are still as important as ever, as long as they’re used in conjunction with other channels.
“Apps are still really important tools which enable people’s experiences through their mobiles. However, while they’re important to think about from a business perspective, they’re not the answer to every business’ issues,” he says.
“A lot of businesses don’t understand that software is hard, and app development is hard. You can’t just throw $50,000 at an app, build it, and then never update it again.”
“A lot of times, you’d be much better off just building a website.”