Matthew Rowan reveals his journey to software success
Matthew is one of the startup founders involved in tech-event Myriad in May this year, where he will be pitching his story to thousands of tech enthusiasts.
This week TechYeah managed to score a few minutes with Matthew Rowan (pictured above), and get some insight into his company Process PA; currently producing a new cloud-based software.
“I had stopped trying for ideas and started looking for a problem to solve with software”, Rowan said.
He found a perfect problem to solve at his old school’s parent committee; where he was working in admin. The workload turned out to be a lot bigger than he had initially anticipated – and found thought the systems in use were outdated and inefficient.
“I thought this could be a problem I can solve with software guidance and automation, but the market is small’,
“With a bit of investigation, I found it would apply in about 9,000 schools in Australia, 30,000 in the UK and 90,000 in the USA. After a couple of months, I found that the problem applies to all associations, 600,000 just in Australia”, he explained.
Almost two and a half years into the business, Rowan admits he still doesn’t feel fully established. He started by stating that he had always received the support that he needed from his friends and family when he started his venture,
“Very good support, and even investment,” he told Tech Yeah.
To find out more about Rowans’ emotional ride, we asked him how he picks himself up through the hard times,
“I fall back to doing a part of the business that I really enjoy which is software development. Unlike sales, work put into development usually directly correlates with results, so I then get a boost that I’m being productive and progressing, giving the motivation to get back into the other things that need to be done.”
Rowan set himself up securely from the start of his venture with a record of ‘best moments’. Sharing with us his proudest moment of pre-selling to 10 committee’s before the software was built. Followed by the biggest moment in his career, being accepted into the River City Labs Muru-D Accelerator,
“I knew would be a pivotal moment,
“It thrust me into a different direction I had been trying to transition to from Software Engineering and Product Management into running my own business. Even if I wasn’t to succeed, the increased speed of learning and the skills I’ve gained puts my career in a much better place overall”, he said.
Rowan’s most difficult obstacle to overcome through his continuing career was learning that the solo-founder journey is really quite lonely. Although, Rowan explained,
“Now, I have surrounded myself with mentors, other founders and the startup community in Brisbane”, making the journey less lonely and more driven.
In addition, Rowan also expressed gratitude to the advisors he brought on early that “have kept him accountable and motivated.” He felt these people were the key reason for his success,
“You can’t do it alone”, he adds.
Is there anything within the tech startup sector that you would be interested in incorporating into your business?
Our long-term roadmap includes AI cognitive services for speech and language understanding. The shoulders of the giants we are standing on, especially what is provided by the Cloud providers, provides so much opportunity.
Is there anyone that you hold to be a major role model in your life?
Business-wise currently is Rod Drury co-founder of Xero. How planned and well executed he built that business is inspirational.
If you could pass key advice on to other entrepreneurs, what would you say?
Don’t look for ideas, look for problems. People love to talk about them, and then see how you can solve it.
How often do you find yourself having to change?
Interestingly I think there is more for me to be consistent at the moment. I need to prevent “shiny object syndrome”. Consistent process yields results.
Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
Hindsight is 20:20 and there are little things, like the over-engineering product, hiring too soon or not moving to other market segments sooner. Fortunately, I don’t think is any major things, if so, I don’t think we’d still be here.
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