Steve and Nicole – founders of Konveen

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Founded by husband and wife team, Steven and Nicole Hambleton, from Cairns in QLD, Konveen is a tech startup that’s committed to transformational change in enterprise.

Collaboration is a huge industry, with chat and IM some of the biggest players – however we also know that one of the highest costs to businesses are meetings. Konveen aims to address this space by providing structure, consistency and accountability through a simple web based tool. Though a regional startup, Konveen has global aspirations, and so far there has been no shortage of interest from big brands in the major cities of Australia their since beta launch.

Can you tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

Konveen was born out of the frustration of non-compliant, non-transparent, and inconsistent meetings that seem to plague a professional working day. It turns out that $37b is lost by businesses globally every year through unproductive meetings, and even with a large array of tools, self help books and systems, meetings are still costing millions and wasting productive hours.

We want to bring structure, consistency and accountability to the meeting so that professionals can achieve better outcomes, save money, save time and meet their compliance requirements. The initial benefit is to save the average enterprise customer millions a year in lost productivity, the secondary benefit is to create a more transparent and accountable process that allows a consistent method of collecting, storing and distributing valuable data from meetings.

Can you please explain your business model?

Konveen is a per-user subscription model. A user is someone who organises a meeting; participants to that meeting are free. Enterprise level plans will include additional features such as team accounts and dashboard analytics.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?

At the moment we are refining the core product and ensuring that the existing features are solid, the UX is logical and simple and that the experience people are having is friction free. We are showcasing the product to Enterprises in the next few months and discussing additional features such as analytics, and how this can help to better manage and quality control their meetings internally to see real cost savings.

How do you make ideas happen?

Every idea or concept we have goes through a process – does it fit the roadmap, will it provide value, will it support the existing users and their needs? We get a lot of feature requests and come up with a lot of ideas daily, but we ensure we know where we want the product to go, what it’s value is to users is, and how we can deliver that value. So we stay focused on those values, while still taking on board user feedback.

What does your typical day look like?

We check our emails and line up sales calls and demos. We then manage our social media strategy and content marketing strategy to align ourselves with our values. There are a lot of customer touchpoints at this stage as it’s less of a self service product and more of a sales oriented product. For us it’s about talking to customers, learning how they work and then rolling that back into our product and direction.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

There are several issues facing Australia. Firstly, it’s more risk averse, so there is less inclination to support ideas that have not been fully tested and validated. This means it’s harder for innovators to really try their products out in the open market.

Secondly it’s a big country – travelling from one office to another to meet a client might involve a long plane journey.

Thirdly, there are less investors here than in the US or even Europe.

Lastly, and for us in particular – there are less Enterprise level customers!

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

A startup is a business like any other, but you need to be prepared to sell. Having at least one founder who is comfortable getting into a hands-on sales cycle is a big step in the right direction.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

We’re interested in learning about a lot of different startups but we have to give a nod to SafetyCulture, because like us they are a regional startup and that’s a big hurdle to overcome.

What about internationally?

We’re huge fans of Jason Lemkin and his contributions to helping Enterprise founders find their way. We hope to make it to Saastr one day!

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

Businesses can always look to ensure they are environmentally, socially and ethically responsible, but the real change comes from the employees when they are empowered by their work culture. Where a business can encourage its employees to participate in their social environment in a positive and proactive way and carry on the principles of the organisation, it can affect social change.

For example, a company that strongly advocates gender equality and opportunities for women by creating programs and incentives to support women excelling in their careers, also needs to empower its employees to continue that attitude towards gender equality outside of their roles and be advocates for equality in social situations as well.

Also, offering programs such as paid paternal leave and carer’s leave to men so they can actively participate in their home life and give back to their community (e.g. school runs, tuck shop duties etc.) is extending those values externally. The relationship between a business, it’s staff and it’s social environment is complex and can’t just be a policy on paper, it needs to be a core value.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.

Start Up Smart

Saastr

Product Hunt

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

We will most likely be looking for funding but not immediately. We are talking to investors; particularly those who are interested in the Enterprise space. At the moment though we are actively seeking advisors in Enterprise.

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

Toscas at Cairns Central

 

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