I caught up with Tom O'Neill, founder of FaultFixers - property management SaaS that lets users quickly report property issues directly to service providers.
What does your company do?
FaultFixers - a simple fault reporting app that allows anyone in a building (residential, workplace, commercial) to report location specific faults direct to the service providers in less than 30 seconds, and receive progress updates. No longer phone a call centre and waste 10 minutes to report a non-emergency issue, instead do it 30 seconds from your mobile.
We offer an integrated cloud-management platform for the service providers/building and facilities managers to manage, monitor and resolve all faults with their building communities to deliver a quicker and more efficient customer experience, saving them time and money, and also allowing them to deliver better quality customer service and satisfaction.
Specific use cases include social housing/residential buildings where leaseholders or tenants want to report issues in their flats, communal areas, or estate grounds. We're offering a solution to encourage them to report issues early, before they become emergencies. This could even lead to accidents and major incidents being prevented.
Other main use cases are within the workplace environment because every employer or facilities manager wants their workforce to be happy at work, so considering buildings are typically the second most expensive assets (after staff), an investment to ensure they are kept well and healthy will positively impact a workforce and improve productivity by ensuring less time is wasted by staff reporting issues when they can be getting on with their business as usual.
What made you start your company - was it a personal passion, or a problem you identified, or a market opportunity?
Myself and my co-founders have all faced issues in the workplace and in residential buildings that we would report, but couldn't be bothered to because the process of reporting was very time consuming, convoluted and manual. Plus, we knew that even if we did report it, that would be it, we'd never hear about a resolution.
We've all been victims of the loose toilet seat or the too hot/cold office. Now you can report it in less than 30 seconds and be told what's being done to improve your building environments.
What funding have you received so far?
We've raised £225k in an angel round completed in October 17. Investors include Chris Whitcombe, founder of Rewards Gateway - an employee incentivisation HR platform used by IBM, BBC, British Airways, Samsung, McDonalds and many more major blue chips.
We also attracted several industry/domain expects to become advisers and investors. They include: Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith (former CEO of Mitie plc), Andy Parker (former CEO of Capita plc), and Adrian Ringrose (former CEO of Interserve plc).
We'll likely begin raising our seed round in late 2018.
How did you find your investors, and were they angels or VCs?
Approached and pitched to them individually through researching possible angels and their prior investments. Also, I strategically approached our advisers to offer them advisory roles, then asked if they would invest. In total we had 7 angels contribute to the £225k.
Do you think your investors invested in the idea, the product, the founders, or the team?
All of the above. We had a MVP live and being trialled with several large trial-customers and interest from plc's for deployment across their contract base and businesses. The founders/team possess a great breadth of skills to be able to execute the strategy and a sufficient degree of previous business founding and management successes.
Any advice for the perfect pitch deck?
Tell a clear, concise, and flowing story. Make the investors anticipate the ideal answers and then wow them with how you are achieving it. Most investors these days, even at the early Angel stage, want to see traction. Having data to support where you envisage what the business will do in the future is so compelling. Also, sometimes overlooked, but investors would like to hear of the longer 5 year + vision and that you have thought about it. So identifying your core proposition and also complementary options only helps build the FOMO.
What was the hardest thing about doing your funding round?
I didn't really find it too hard to be honest. Perhaps it was finding the first investor. Once you can truthfully say you have someone willing to commit money to your venture, it makes the pitch less risky for others join. Also, raising is not done until 'cash is in the bank' - I thought I finished raising, and when I began the close process, I had £30k drop out, so had to search for a replacement.
Shameless plug for SeedLegals, but they made the legals so simple and straightforward for me when raising. Especially avoiding the red-lines, updates and back and forth postal options of the past.
If there were three things you could tell a founder looking to do their round, what would they be?
I'm not being paid by SeedLegals here (honestly!), but I would suggest people to consider them as they save founders critical early-stage cash and time.
If cash is critical, then consider raising using a convertible note, rather than equity fundraising. It will allow you to close each investor and bank their investment as soon as they are ready, rather than waiting for your target raise to be committed to (plus delaying putting a valuation on the business).
For an early stage business like FaultFixers, do a financial model, even if it's basic, it'll tell you things you didn't realise about your business model. Most investors want to see that you've thought it all through, even if largely speculative at this point.
How did you hear about SeedLegals, and how was your experience?
An investor of ours invested in SeedLegals so it was a warm referral. He told me about SeedLegals, I had a look at the offering and although I had been through early-stage raise previously and had all the relevant documents from past deals, the benefit of one clear, clean and concise platform to manage the entire raise, including electronic signing etc, was worth the below-market rate expense.
What's next on the horizon for Faultfixers?
We're looking to increase trials and paying customers to help them improve their environments for all building users.
We'll be finishing a re-brand in early Feb - so watch this space.
If you know of any facilities managers, contacts in housing associations, local authorities or other social housing providers, building managers for corporate office blocks or indeed in any building that is managed, we are offering £1000 for a referral that leads to a trial or customer. Feel free to get in touch with me on: tom @ faultfixers.com