We live in the age of digital clutter, with messages overloading our email inboxes, smartphones, and web browsers. Given the influx of digital applications, there’s no better time to Geddup and get organised! New app Geddup helps us manage the communication clutter in our lives by putting messages from our favourite organisations in one place.
The app simplifies the way we engage with organisations, making them more accessible, more responsive and more integrated with our technologies. Whether schools or sporting clubs, dentists or doctors, councils or utilities, hairdressers and personal trainers, Geddup can be used by any organisation.
“The problem with current arrangements is that there is no simple way to manage communication with organisations. Our insight was that if we made the individual the initiator of a relationship then they could have more control over it. Once we’d made this intuitive leap, more opportunities became apparent,” says Rohan Clarke, Co-Founder and Director of Geddup.
Clarke adds that Geddup starts with the individual, “empowering them to become the controller of their communications.” The app allows the user to receive messages from organisations they choose; share contact details with organisations at their discretion; receive push and email notifications; drop events into their calendar; open maps directly to an event location; respond to messages sent by the organisations, and easily access an organisation’s phone, email and web.
The application is also beneficial to organisations, making communication with clients more efficient. Adrian Clarke, Co-Founder of Geddup and Rohan’s brother, found it challenging to keep his customer database up-to-date when he was working as a hairdresser at his salon, Zedi Hair. To address this problem, the brothers designed the app so it would allow organisations to request client details with a click of a button; and once approved by the client, the organisation will receive the details automatically.
“Not only are they always up-to-date, this reduces his processing overhead as there is no need to have someone manually input and check these details,” says Rohan.
But more importantly, he adds, organisations can still communicate with clients even if they don’t want to reveal their personal contact details.
“When the client subscribes on Geddup they are inviting the organisation to send them messages. The client can choose to receive push or email messages without sharing their details,” says Rohan.
The idea for Geddup emerged in a conversation between the brothers. Adrian was seeking a better way to manage his client database and appointments, while Rohan was looking for a simple way to manage communication with his children’s schools and sporting clubs.
“Once we had cajoled the initial idea into some understandable form, and had realised there weren’t any existing solutions, we set out to design our own,” says Rohan.
“We built prototypes in JQuery Mobile and tested them on schools, sporting clubs and Adrian’s hair salon clients. The response was uniformly positive.”
They started recruiting developers to help execute their vision and by July they had a working base model. By September, they had their first round of beta release feedback.
“We have a couple of major features to add before we are ready to launch. But based on the feedback that we have had to date – both from the organisations and the subscribers we have introduced it to – we know we are on the right track,” says Rohan.
Rohan and Adrian decided to bootstrap the idea, because they wanted to establish proof of concept before inviting investors.
“Having managed capital raisings in both listed and unlisted markets, I have a pretty keen sense of the effort required to raise money. And as we had a clear idea of the development costs, our view was that our time was better spend on understanding our customers,” says Rohan.
They anticipate demonstrating proof of concept early next year. With one or two key organisations and some early take-up subscribers, they expect to be better positioned to begin a more aggressive roll-out.
Rohan says Geddup is a big concept: “by starting with the individual, Geddup offers a truly scalable solution. Its value will grow when more organisations begin to use it to communicate with their audience, and more individuals begin to manage their communications with organisations.”
Although any organisation can use the app, their initial focus will be on a few key industries – namely, education, community radio, sports and recreation, and hair and beauty.
“On the one hand, we are very interested in large organisations that have a specific need to communicate with their constituents and realise that current alternatives fail to take advantage of new technologies. Geddup, through our API, has the flexibility to deliver a bespoke solution,” says Rohan.
“On the other, we are building Geddup’s subscriber-base organically by postcode. If we start with a school then there is an incentive for the users from that school to get their children’s sporting and other extracurricular activities onto Geddup. They simply request an organisation and with enough requests, it becomes abundantly clear to that organisation that they should try Geddup.”
Geddup was named as a finalist in Best New Product category of the 2013 Australian Mobile Awards.
“Pretty darn good for a startup in beta!” says Rohan.
Rohan says they have two immediate goals for Geddup. The first is to introduce the app to a wider audience; and the second is to continue working with large organisations so Geddup is tailored to their specific needs.
“The needs and feedback from these two initiatives will help drive the development of the additional functionality that we are working on,” he adds.
The biggest lesson they learned through this ambitious journey is to become “strategically resilient”.
“It’s not enough to push through rejection in its many forms. There is incredible inertia built into our society as people are busy and generally just want to do what currently works for them,” says Rohan.
“Finding the triggers and motivations to get them to try something different is the challenge. We’re getting better at it. Probably by the time we’ve mastered it, we’ll have a whole different set of problems.”
Geddup is free for subscribers. Organisations will be charged based on the number of messages they send. Implementing the “user-pays” business model means they can avoid advertising and other similar approaches that seek to monetise user data.
“Importantly, given the scalable industry-agnostic nature of our model, it also enables us to subsidise the use of Geddup by non-profits,” Rohan adds.
The app is currently in beta mode and will be launching early next year. For more information, visit www.geddup.com.