When it comes to government incentives for startup companies, you can’t underestimate the value of the R&D Tax Incentive for a growing business. Founders pushing the boundaries when it comes to the types of technology they building can often find comfort in the fact that leveraging the incentive can in fact help with cash flow, assist them in knowing where to direct budget, and serve as a safety net for the business during research and development projects.
InForm is a practice management platform for health professionals like physios and chiros, but also extends to the fitness and wellbeing sectors, which includes personal trainers, small gyms, massage therapists, and so on. The platform helps to automate their business management processes, looking after their scheduling, acting as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool as well as allowing them to manage their accounts.
Lever started this business a number of years ago, with the platform having been through a number of changes since.
“We have had a number of iterations which is where our R&D comes in,” says Lever. “We realised that our health and fitness professionals needed a little bit more automation around how they managed their business, and we wanted to apply that to the cloud. We’ve got cloud based software to help us automate and streamline processes of those businesses and bringing meaningful outcomes.”
More recently, Lever launched Pleezpay with his business partner Simon Docherty.
That business came to fruition after they discovered that one of their good friends, who manages a couple of large Australian publications, was using a platform from the United States to manage ticket sales for their events and it wasn’t going so well. The friend asked the pair whether they could develop a platform in the cloud that would manage all of the ticket sales, re-ticketing, and payments for their large events. They also wanted to white label the platform.
“We said yes, we can do that,” says Lever. “We started building that and four months later we implemented a system for them to manage those ticket sales and now our business, PleezPay, focuses on online event registration as well as fundraising. We specialise in events, which includes general admission events, road shows, seminars, and conferences, as well as a lot of sporting events, which is where our background is.”
“We’re focused on a seamless experience and white label throughout. Our core model is servicing enterprise clients; we want to ensure that the brand for their publications is seen throughout that process. The platform is all customisable and there is a deep layer of CRM and integrations in the backend where they can basically push the [information] to their large big data or marketing platforms.”
This is the fifth year that Lever has taken advantage of the R&D tax incentive in a business that he runs.
“Originally we started off with a private consultant who just focused on R&D,” says Lever. “It was a very laborious process and we had numerous meetings. It was out of Melbourne, so I’d have to wait for him to fly up and we’d meet face to face. There was a lot of email, and it was a project that would take three months to get finalised and then submitted along with our refund.”
Lever said this was a very drawn out, inefficient process. He then moved across to PwC, but says it was still a long process that involved a lot of phone interviews. Last year they moved to the Nifty Forms service, setting up the project online, where he had 24/7 access and could manage all the details of the project and update as needed.
“The consultant from PwC would always update those as well, so communication was in real time, which was really good. We could upload all of the projects from before, so that was fantastic. So for the first time last year we used those and then this year, when we came around to doing it again, it was great because we could utilise all of the parts of the projects, the documentation as guidelines for this year as well. So we didn’t have to replicate all of that information. So having all of the projects on one account has helped a lot.”
For startups, getting that refund back via the R&D Tax Incentive can be a real advantage. It can be reinvested back into making your startup a better product, more competitive, and more beneficial for customers. It is more than an incentive scheme for innovation – it creates a really positive flow-on effect for the entire business.