Annie Slattery, cofounder of Sydney startup ConX, will this week set off for California to take part in Blackbox Connect, a two week residential program looking to immerse international founders in Silicon Valley.
The startup was nominated to take part by the team at Fishburners, where ConX is based. With this year’s program focused on female founders, Slattery will join 17 other entrepreneurs from 14 countries operating across industries including health, financial services, agriculture, and Internet of Things.
Slattery said the program, organised in collaboration with Google for Entrepreneurs, is a good opportunity to help the startup think globally.
ConX, which aims to be like a LinkedIn for tradies by helping them find jobs through a reliable online network rather than word of mouth, first launched in beta in August 2014. However, the majority of its members are still based in Sydney, with the team spending time developing its platform and proving itself useful to members before expanding.
“We’ve always been told to think global from day one, but it was difficult to get into a global mindset as we worked tirelessly to make our mark in Sydney. Now, we’ve got the experience, team, product, and mindset to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Slattery said.
The team has spent the last 12 months developing its platform. With Jonathan Clarke coming on as CTO, giving ConX a dedicated resource to work on the product, Slattery said the platform has come in “leaps and bounds.”
It has placed an emphasis on trust, putting in place a two way rating system that Slattery said has helped to further its goal of replacing word of mouth in the trades space. It also implemented a revenue model: it’s free to list a job on the platform but a $99 upgrade will see an SMS go out to all the relevant tradesmen on the platform as soon as a job is posted. With this function seeing jobs filled in under 1o minutes, Slattery said the upgrade has had a significant take up.
The startup began growing its membership base by first honing in on the carpentry space, before looking to partnerships with local businesses and the Masonry Contractors Association. It has found that as well as individual tradies, a number of contractors began looking to find sub-contracting businesses through the platform, and is in the process of building in a new feature into the platform to make this easier.
Slattery will be joining the founders of startups including BioMetrix, Kichink, and Rela, China’s biggest lesbian social app, in the program, which also counts Jess Wilson of Stashd and Holly Cardew as PixC as graduates.
“I think it’s going to be a great learning experience. We’ve been so focused on Sydney but tapping into markets like the UK and key cities in the US, being able to think big and connect to people who have the ability to make that happen, I’m excited about that,” Slattery said.
“This will be our big shot to pitch our vision of transforming how the construction industry connects through an open and connected global network.”
Image: Keith Moore, Annie Slattery and David Stenson (missing CTO Jonathan Clarke). Source: Supplied.