How a piece of paper drove us to the brink.

 

Once upon a time there were two busy parents. Okay, it was 2018 and the busy parents were us. Trying to have it all. Trying to get through life. Trying to make a good life for our kids.

We were living in a state of life admin hell. Our life admin info was a big, ugly mess.

For us, life admin was lots of different things – phone contracts, car rego papers, electricity bills, health insurance policies, bank statements, retail receipts, travel itineraries, birthday party invites, health care cards, pay slips, drivers’ licences and day care invoices just to name a few. All the everyday ‘things’ that needed our attention for us to live our lives.

These ‘things’ were scattered all over the place. Across the kitchen table and piled up on the office desk. In email inboxes, in home letter boxes and shoved into car glove boxes. At the bottom of handbags and school bags. Up in multiple cloud drives and saved on hard drives. Even filed away in good old manila folders. Part paper, part plastic, part electronic. Full dog’s breakfast.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was getting hit with a late fee for not paying our car rego by the due date. How the bloody hell did we miss that? Where the bloody hell were the car rego papers? Why the bloody hell do we have to cough up more money when it’s already expensive enough? All rhetorical questions yes, but as often when things go to shit, you search for answers. You blame others. You fight. You vow it won’t happen again.

We didn’t realise it at the time but looking back now, we know how this kind of mess can impact our mental and physical health, our relationships and our productivity. We were feeling all the things – stressed, frustrated, angry, anxious and often overwhelmed. Our brains were completely scrambled. Our quality of life was pretty crap. Out of luck, out of steam, out of f’s to give, we thought, there’s got to be a better way.

Being the lover of literature that he is, Kirk read a book by a super brainy neuroscientist called Daniel Levitin. The book acknowledges that in this information age, our brains are drowning in a deluge of data. However, the evidence shows that our brains like order. When we get the info storm out of our heads and organise it into categories, it frees up our mental space so we can live a better life. (Sorry Dr Levitin for the massive oversimplification of your masterpiece 😉). This concept started a flicker which led to a flame. Surely this could be applied to our life admin info?

Our first thought was “there’s got to be something out there already”. We reached out to our very dear friends, Pete and Rach Cassidy. (We met Pete and Rach in a bottle shop in Argentina before either of us had kids, but that’s a story to be told another day over a bottle of Malbec 😉). As founders of the successful tech start-up Stackla, these guys were our closest link to the tech world. If anyone knew of an existing solution, they would. Turns out, there wasn’t. So, equal parts naïve bricking it, and excited, we set about creating one.

As non-technical founders, when we first got on this roller coaster that is a tech start-up, we didn’t even know what an MVP was. Once we figured out it wasn’t just a prize given to the best player in a basketball game, we also figured out that we had a long way to go. A REALLY long way. (PS. We still do). But we needed to do 3 key things asap.

  • Step 1. Bring together a team of smart, engaged and experienced people around us
  • Step 2. Raise cash to enable the team in Step 1 to do Step 3
  • Step 3. Build an awesome product that solved the pain that we and plenty of others were experiencing

We started development in February 2019. Fast-forward to August 2019, and here we are.

  • Milestone 1. We’ve brought together a freakin’ awesomely talented and driven team
  • Milestone 2. We’ve raised over $200K to get our prototype built
  • Milestone 3. We’ve built a prototype and are on track to release our MVP in early 2020

We’ve done a few other pretty cool things along the way too. We won a place in Suncorp’s digital incubator program, we’ve had national media coverage here, here, here and here and we’ve been fielding lots of interest from investors and VCs – both at home and around the world.

The absolute best thing though is that we’re hearing from everyday people, from busy parents and from working professionals who all say they’re drowning in life admin. We get unsolicited comments on our social media accounts, and in the street, at events and at the supermarket from people who can’t wait to escape their life admin hell.

We started this adventure with the hope that we could make our chaotic, crazy, busy lives just a little bit easier. Just one less problem to deal with. Just one way to keep our heads above water. Every day we’re getting closer and closer to doing just that. For us. And for millions of other people just like us. An unscrambled life is coming. And we can’t bloody wait.