Teams working in silos is an age old conundrum in many industries and Melbourne based start-up Rundl is tackling it head on.
Rundl is an application that simplifies communication and collaboration between many stakeholders in a business transaction while enabling them to retain control of their own identity and process.
Co-founder Graeme Perkins says the start-up is initially targeting the Real Estate industry to streamline the process of buying and selling houses. In short, the app gives you an overview of the entire process between insurance, lawyers, brokers, banks, agents - even your pest inspector, insurer and removal companies can join in. Documents don’t get lost, everyone knows what steps need to be completed and this means that emails and phone calls can be drastically reduced, if not eliminated.
Perkins, who cut his start-up teeth during the first Dot Com Boom in Germany, says the idea for Rundl grew out of a business he became involved in with his brother Ian Perkins and Richard Bootle, who are both solicitors. In 2006 they launched Lawlab’s streamlined, fixed fee national conveyancing service.
After Lawlab took off Perkins got a chance to step back and take a look at the conveyancing process and spot any gaps.
“Rundl naturally grew out our decision to tackle a major problem in the industry,” he says.
“Through watching the process unfold at the kind of scale lawlab was operating, and through collecting feedback and research, I was able to really understand how a property transaction works from end-to-end.”
“What stood out was how hard it was to bring the different streams of the overall buying and selling process together”.
“Each professional service [conveyancing, real estate etc] was doing okay working on their own, but where they all seemed to falter was when they needed to cross the divide.”
Perkins, the visionary and tech lead on both projects, sensed the need for a platform that supports a community forming around a shared customer in an overall transaction.
After a meeting with the other founders they decided to give the idea a go, and Rundl began as an inhouse project at lawlab in 2010.
The take up has grown steadily. Rundl has more than 5,000 registered users and has completed more than 10,000 transactions. What’s more, the app reduces the amount of professional hours needed to settle a property by 20-30%, clearly a bit saver of time and money. Better still, the platform is flexible and it doesn’t specifically have to be used in the real estate industry, there are plans to expand it to help in health and other industries too.
A start-up always presents challenges, and Perkins says he wasn’t an exemption from the rule. He says the biggest challenge of running a start-up is staying focused on the important things while still dealing with all the day-to-day challenges of running a business.
“At this stage our number one priority is driving adoption of the platform as participation is at the heart of the value we create. But we’re actually asking some large and established players to consider changing the way they deliver services, so it’s naturally a slow process and educating them about the benefits takes time,” he said.
Also the day-to-day running of any start-up can be challenging. “You’re building a team, from sales to developers, and you need to make sure everyone is focused and it’s clear how each day they make a real difference to what we’re trying to do,” Perkins says.
“It can be complex but I believe our vision for Rundl is exciting and it’s something people want to be involved with, and that’s where they need to be to do their best work.”
Despite the challenges Perkins is incredibly proud of what he and his team have achieved.
“We’ve created an innovative technology venture out of Melbourne, tackling a really big problem - you can do innovation in Australia. It doesn’t have to be Silicon Valley,” he said.
His advice for budding entrepreneurs:
“Do the hard yards first in validating your strategy. Get out there and talk to people as much and as many as you can, and share your ideas and get feedback. It’s the number one thing I’ve learned. It will quickly improve your product.”
Perkins will showcase Rundl at CeBIT 2016 and is looking forward to a big week.
“I can’t wait to be to be telling everyone there about us and our vision,” he said.
“2016 is the year of Rundl. We’re working towards some big goals this year and want to get 50% of Australia's Real Estate professionals onboard.”