09 Mar The Promis Story
Promis was born from my frustration with data entry. While absolutely loving the efficiencies that online accounting was delivering, I still had to deal with supplier invoices in an awkward and time-consuming way. Some coming via email, other where I had to log into a portal (ASIC) to download it, others yet via paper. I had automated what I could and set most of them to auto pay.
And yet, I was left with the difficulty of getting the invoices into my accounting system to take advantage of the tax ready document storage. To use the semi automated bank file upload I still had to enter the supplier bank details and manually upload the file to the bank portal.
The Last Gap in Automation
At the same time, the whole accounting ecosystem was talking about automation and removing the need for manual data entry. So we just had to build the tool. Our first goal was to build a tool that would pick up the data electronically at the source. This means 100% reliable data without the need for OCR or human intervention. Over the first few months, we built a proof of concept that we could actually create an efficient way to connect to all the major accounting systems and interpret their data.
The next step was figuring out how to route the supplier bills to the correct clients. As soon as we had that clarified, we started on building out the systems to deal with larger volumes.
Building the Team
That is the point we started working on the next challenge: how do we get this tool out to small business owners (as they are the ones benefiting the most from it). I had watched Brian Keayes for a while and the awesome community activation projects he ran. He helped transform a dilapidated street into a vibrant cultural hub. He did amazing design work for optimal user experience and he had worked on a software project in the accounting space.
I knew I had to be patient in pursuing him. He was still busy with other projects, so I kept dropping small hints about what I was working on. And finally in November 2015 when I asked him to join us on the Promis research trip to Silicon Valley, he really got the full picture of where we are heading with that. He has been working on getting the word out and following that up with a simple and intuitive user interface.
To make Promis really useful for our users, we know that we need to get corporations on board and let their invoices flow into the Promis network.
Cameron Lawrence had been working as sales manager with me in a previous business and we had always looked forward to joining forces again. Finally the time had come. So he is making connections with larger businesses and helps them through the process of onboarding with Promis.
The team is completed by Neil Rogers, who has been working with me in four previous businesses. He is a genius in translating my ideas into fast, efficient and effective software. He has recently been joined by Fabio Gagno (Development) and Alina Petukhova (Quality Assurance).
We are currently in discussion with some other exciting people to complement our team.
When will it be possible to use Promis?
I have been using Promis to pay some of my suppliers since January and cannot wait to share the full experience with you. We are almost ready for a closed beta launch on the Sunshine Coast as our first trial region, quickly to be followed by the rest of Australia.
Maybe I should share how the name Promis came about, but will leave that for next time.