PaidAde takes the pain out of invoicing and quoting
Trio use inside knowledge of construction sector to develop targeted app for tradesmen
Ken Lambe, Ciaran Brennan and Niall Brennan. The Brennan brothers teamed up with former colleague Ken Lambe to begin work on a more focused and refined version of their system.
PaidAde is an invoicing and quoting app aimed at busy tradesmen. It is the brainchild of brothers Ciaran and Niall Brennan who left Ireland during the recession to work in the construction industry in Australia. Carpenter Ciaran left in 2007 while builder Niall followed in 2011. Determined to work hard, build a nest egg and return home, the brothers set up their own building company in Perth in 2012. Within three years they had scaled and sold the business. Ciaran Brennan says a system they designed inhouse to speed up job throughput helped make their company an attractive buy. It also provided the inspiration for PaidAde.
“Running our own company, we were constantly dealing with price fluctuations from suppliers and contractors and waiting around for them to quote. This was time wasting and also meant control was out of our hands,” Brennan says. “We developed an internal system, initially using Excel, based on agreed pricing with suppliers and contractors. Because we weren’t constantly on the phone looking for prices this speeded up jobs by days. The system was a bit of a beast to use but it showed us what you could achieve with technology.”
The brothers returned to Ireland and teamed up with a former colleague, Ken Lambe, to begin work on a much more focused and refined version of their original system. “We started on the prototype around May 2017. That got us through the initial customer discovery phase where we established if people were interested in our idea and were willing to use it,” Brennan says. “PaidAde was born out of our frustration when trying to run a trade business and our aim was to leverage our experience and combine it with technology to help others become more efficient. It’s like a digital personal assistant built by tradesmen for tradesmen and it’s our depth of knowledge about our end user that differentiates us from the competition.”
Serious development began in October 2017 and PaidAde was set up in January of 2018. The main features of the app include instant invoicing, a quick quotes mechanism, customisation and the option to build a personal catalogue of materials, prices and labour. Electricians are the first group to be targeted and the aim is to onboard 1,000 of them within a year. The next group will be plumbers. The trades have to be handled separately because they need/use different data. “With PaidAde users have the tools to run their business on the go. Unlike invoicing apps PaidAde links quotes and invoices back to suppliers making it supereasy to get pricing and to quote, invoice, and move on,” Brennan says.
Free for electricians
The app is available on Android and is free for electricians to use. Other trades can use it (and are doing so) but because they require sector specific information, which has to be assembled on an individual basis at the moment, the charge is €20 a month.
Startup costs to date have been in the region of €130,000 with about €50,000 invested by the founders with the remainder coming from the NDRC and Enterprise Ireland’s competitive start fund. The company is based at the NDRC and its next step is an investment round. The founders want to raise about €800,000 to fund the app’s UK launch and to hire technical and marketing staff.
“Our niche is between the large quoting software companies whose customers have 10 or more employees and the sole trader using an invoicing app,” Brennan says. “Our sweet spot is a customer with less than five staff who needs more than an invoice app but not large, expensive quoting software.”
PaidAde won’t be revenue generating until 2019 by which time it hopes to have built critical customer mass. This will allow it to start making money from materials’ suppliers who will pay the company a percentage on orders that come through the app.