Trish Mackie-Smith is a Queensland female co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane-based proptech (property technology) company inndox.
inndox empowers homeowners to easily control, manage and maintain their most important asset – their home. Critical information, like plans, approvals, warranties, policies and safety checks are captured throughout the property’s life cycle and transformed into digital logbooks bringing full transparency over the building records for safety and sustainability.
There’s a user-friendly app that gets issued to the homeowner and like a logbook for your car, it passes to the next owner to benefit all future owners and tenants. Users can even set alerts, like when warranties and essential safety checks are due. Homeowners and investors of established properties can also subscribe and create their own inndox logbooks to automate their property management.
We caught up with Trish to find out more about inndox and her journey as a Queensland #FemaleFounder.
What inspired you to start your business?
I felt compelled to find a way to lift the industry standards. I’ve been a property lawyer and also run a building consultancy with my co-founder and husband, Andrew, who’s been a commercial builder for more than 20 years.
After helping thousands of property buyers avoid buying ‘lemon properties’ with undisclosed issues, such as flooding, termites, subsidence, asbestos, flammable cladding, illegal structures and even a few drug labs, I knew that more transparency was needed for potential buyers to make fully informed decisions about what they were truly spending their lifesavings on. I felt sorry for all the innocent, unsuspecting buyers, who have blindly relied on very limited information and misinformation provided by sellers and their agents.
I tried changing the unfair ‘buyer beware’ law by petitioning Queensland Parliament but getting new laws enacted is a very slow process so I turned to technology for a faster solution.
Our tech startup journey began, and after winning a place in Australia’s first smart cities accelerator program funded by Advance Queensland, we learnt how to turn our concept for a digital single-source-of-truth about property into a viable technology solution called inndox.
What milestones have you reached?
We’ve established a viable business model that generates quality data for property owners by attracting property developers and builders as target customers. inndox has more than 3,000 users across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (UK). B2B (business-to-business) customers subscribe to help them achieve their business goals around compliance, sustainability and after-sales care.
Our product and pricing have evolved to meet the market and our recent traction suggests that we’ve reached product-market fit. We have developed proven systems for managing our technology, marketing, sales and customer support that can be reviewed with our team and modified as we grow.
Our biggest milestone has been our entry into the UK market, and acquiring customers there indicates that inndox is truly scalable with global application.
What business achievements are you most proud of to date?
Winning Australia’s Most Innovative Proptech for Property Management 2021 award, as judged by The Proptech Association of Australia was a definite highlight and indicates strong endorsement of our innovation from the industry.
Also, pivoting our business model to offer a `company-branded’ solution has made a significant impact for winning more enterprise customers and we are very proud of our successful entry into the UK market proving that inndox is a global leader.
Have you participated in any Advance Queensland programs, or received any support from Advance Queensland to date?
We are very grateful to have received valuable support and encouragement from Advance Queensland from day one – when we won a place in Australia’s first smart cities accelerator, then as a recipient for the Ignite Ideas Fund, and through various mentorships and education programs including Advance Queensland’s ACE (Advancing Champion Enterprises) Network and Mentoring for Growth program. All of these have contributed to my ability to make better business decisions with more confidence.
What’s your advice for other female entrepreneurs and businesses starting out on their entrepreneurship journey?
My first piece of advice would be to surround yourself with positive people who are like-minded entrepreneurs by joining networks that actively support women in business. I highly recommend finding an inspirational mentor and signing up for the Advance Queensland’s Female Founders Program. If you are a non-technical founder of a technology start-up, find a technical partner early on.
Realise that the start-up journey is a very difficult path, and to get through the rough times you need to have a higher purpose than profit. Clearly define your vision and mission and then apply for as many grants, awards, educational opportunities and accelerator programs as you can. Expect rejections, always ask for feedback and learn from failures.
Female entrepreneurs often face ‘imposter syndrome’ and this can negatively impact their ability to pitch with confidence. I suggest undertaking courses to improve public speaking and to perfect your pitch (because you are always pitching).
Most importantly look after your health, both emotional and physical because you need that fitness to be able to persevere, stay positive and achieve holistic success.