Powered Now is an award-winning invoice, quoting and scheduling app for small businesses, tradesmen, contractors and self-employed professionals. The application gives the ability to manage your business from your Android and Apple device and computer, creating and managing invoices, estimates, quotes, job sheets, appointments and diary. With Powered Now, businesses can be run from anywhere – it works both on and offline and clever sync technology means that you can keep in touch with your team (and office) while on the road, with a customer or even on holiday.
How did Powered Now start?
Myself, and our other founders, Chris and Zoltan worked together previously at an e-Commerce software company founded by the Powered Now chairman Chris Barling. Chris’ company was a real pioneer in the industry, it went from a garden shed to full listing on the London stock market in only a few years. So, building and scaling startups has been in our DNA since the beginning.
E-Commerce in 2013 was a pretty fascinating, especially around payments. The online payment providers, such as PayPal were really interested in the offline space, how to get a slice of face to face transactions. We decided we were quite interested in this ourselves, having built our own payment solution for the e-commerce company so commissioned some research to understand it a bit more.
Trade companies such as builders, plumbers and electricians featured fairly highly in our research. Its unsurprising really, if you have ever had anything to do with the trade you will know yourself, they tend to be very good with their hands, not so good around the administration of running their business. The more time we spent talking and immersing ourselves within this space the more we learnt that not only is it one of the last uncomputerised markets in the world, but it’s also one of the most highly regulated, the admin burdens these companies have to maintain is horrendous. Powered Now was born.
In 2013 with a version of our software that was held together with duct tape we decided to enter a Microsoft sponsored startup rally in the Netherlands against 500 other companies. There we were, three grizzled B2B software veterans, going up against hundreds of sexy consumer facing solutions. We were solving admin issues for UK plumbers while our direct competitors were solving world hunger or helping art collectors buy paintings from the comfort of their sofa. We were out of our depth.
Remarkably we won! It was an unbelievable boost to our confidence and really helped kick start our business. Over the years we have raised a couple of rounds of funding to help scale the business and are happy to now be backed by the Peter Hargreaves.
So while the best ideas often come from the blue, and I would love to say the genesis for Powered Now was an “eureka moment”, in our case we spent months researching and evolving to find product market fit.
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How has the need for Powered Now evolved during the pandemic?
Yes, it really has. The pandemic has been really interesting for the UK trade market. While the sector didn’t really close down, the domestic market took a real hit as homeowners shut their doors to tradesmen. Then there was a secondary issue with supply chains. While the UK media was obsessing about panic buying of loo rolls and pasta, trades companies were running out of cement and plaster board, putting further strain on a market that employs over 2.5 million people in the UK.
These problems forced many people to reassess how their companies operate, specifically around efficiency and compliance, and it’s a good thing, post first wave the trade sector is booming.
We have recently also commissioned some research that shows post-Covid 15% of Brits are considering a move into this space. During these uncertain times the idea of being your own boss is very appealing at the moment; we are seeing that with a lot of new businesses coming to us startups for advice on how to get going.
Secondly the chancellor’s decision to introduce a stamp duty holiday has poured petrol on the simmering domestic market. Those jobs that were put off at the start of the pandemic are now being completed at record pace, very often as people are looking to take advantage of the tax break and move to a new house. So, keeping on top of the jobs a trade company needs to do is more important than ever before. All of these changes since Covid has really meant that the black book on the dashboard of the van just doesn’t cut it anymore.
What can we hope to see from Powered Now in the future?
We are very focused on the needs of UK trade companies and that challenge is enormous. Our immediate focus is to help these companies both be more efficient, and the business owners get their lives back from paperwork.
There is also a lot of change in the industry right now, from Green Home improvement grants, to tax filing changes. As an authority in the market we see our role expanding to help trades companies navigate this complicated space.
Product-wise we have big plans with some new features that will help our users simplify their lives while helping their customers at the same time. Watch this space.