Kylie Davis: (00:02)
Welcome to the Proptech Podcast. It's Kylie Davis here. And I'm delighted to be your host as we explore the brave new world where technology and real estate collide. I passionately believe we need to create and grow a sense of community between the innovators and real estate agents. And sharing our stories is a great way to do that. Now the aim of each episode is to introduce our listeners to a Proptech innovator who is pushing the boundaries of what's possible. And to explore the issues and challenges raised by the tech, and how they can create amazing property experiences. And now if you've been feeling a bit gloomy with the ongoing lockdowns and COVID, this episode will give you the cheer up you need. My guest is Matt Waugh from Conexie, which specialises in connecting both human and appliance data in our buildings, to help make them genuinely smart. And best of all, it works for residential houses as well as commercial buildings.
Kylie Davis: (00:57)
And this is extremely exciting technology that combines the best of the internet of things, with observations by people. And if it's widely adopted, it could have a huge impact in helping us reduce the environmental impact of our buildings. As well as improve their safety and increase their healthiness. Now Matt is an AFR Top 100 Future Leader of Australia. And he's here to tell us all about it. Matthew Waugh, welcome to the Proptech Podcast.
Matt Waugh: (01:24)
Thank you for having me.
Kylie Davis: (01:26)
It's great to have you on the show. Now Matt, we always start off ... I'm really looking forward to diving into Conexie, because we have had a little bit of a pre-conversation about what it's about. And it's made me very excited. But before we kick off, tell us what the Conexie elevator pitch is.
Matt Waugh: (01:41)
Yeah. Okay. I'll try and make it as succinct as possible. Conexie is a native iOS and Android app that is designed for end users to access information, to submit their needs. But also to surface data of the devices and things that are in the world around us today, whether it's in your home or your community, or your precinct. So Conexie's all about being a portal for communication to make living in the new normal as seamless as possible.
Kylie Davis: (02:10)
Okay. Awesome. So I'm going to translate that into human speak for my listeners who are not necessarily complete geeks. So what Conexie does, is it captures all of the data that's going on inside a building through its smart devices. And it connects that with the human observations or input from living in that building, whether it's a house or an apartment unit. And it brings all of that information together, and then shares it so that you can do more with it, I guess. Is that right?
Matt Waugh: (02:43)
Kylie Davis: (02:43)
If I've got it right, I'll edit it out. If I've got it wrong, I'll edit it out.
Matt Waugh: (02:47)
No, no. That was perfect. That's exactly what we do from the ... Yeah. I guess from our side, it's hard because we live in the product. But in-
Kylie Davis: (02:53)
Matt Waugh: (02:54)
... regards to explaining it for the industry you work in, that's perfect.
Kylie Davis: (02:58)
Yeah. So how did Conexie start? So you started off in one thing, and you pivoted pretty quick. Tell us that story.
Matt Waugh: (03:05)
Yeah. So Conexie was initially made with the idea that there was I guess multi-tenanted living in stride, and all those things were starting to become the norm across the world really. And there seemed to be a disconnect between lots of people trying to funnel information through to one or a few people. Whether that's body corporates or strata managers, and building managers. So we wanted to take advantage of smartphones being in everyone's pocket, and create a really user friendly access portal to capture information, or capture pivotal information. And then distribute that information to the right people. Because I think noticing the problem and knowing who to tell are two very different things, but they need come together for something to happen. So that was Conexie in its early days. It was called Fixit. We set about revolutionising maintenance.
Kylie Davis: (03:53)
Matt Waugh: (03:57)
And it was great. So that was probably five years ago now. And as I'm sure everyone's aware, there's a lot of players in this space now, because I think that was [crosstalk 00:04:05]-
Kylie Davis: (04:05)
Matt Waugh: (04:05)
... gap in the market.
Kylie Davis: (04:06)
Matt Waugh: (04:07)
And obviously some people in that space are doing an exceptional job. And I'm sure a lot of building managers, strata managers and property managers are very grateful for the existence of these platforms. But what we've found throughout this process was there was also the incorporation now of devices and smart buildings, and smart cities. And sort of infra-tech was taking off. And so the ability to capture the needs of people were sort of just as important as the ability to capture the data that all these smart devices was creating, or were creating.
Matt Waugh: (04:39)
And so what we set about doing and sort of, I guess pivoting in the way we presented the solution. But the solution was stull very much the same. It was, get the right information to the right people at the right time, for the right outcome. And that's always sort of been the methodology behind Conexie and Fixit. But yeah, so what we sought about doing was creating, I guess, API portals so that all that data which is so valuable if you know what the data is actually saying, and made it really user friendly to surface that on people's apps. And with context of whether it was their commercial property, or their residence, or whatever else. But being able to see that data and then take action on it. That's sort of ... Yeah. That's what we do now. And that seems to be sitting well in the market. And we're growing at a really ... At a rate that we're really excited about.
Kylie Davis: (05:26)
So the problem ... So you're solving a couple of problems the way I see it. The first problem that there's quite a few players in the market around, is that when you experience a maintenance issue in especially a multi-tenanted building, you're not really sure as a tenant if it's something you need to tell your landlord, or the property manager, or the building facilities manager, or the strata manager. And by the time you've worked through all of those four people, and sent emails to them, and sent another email to them. And then called them all, because no one ever got back to you. That can take months, and sometimes even years for stuff to get fixed. So there's that human side of it of, "Whose job is it to fix this thing that I've just seen?"
Kylie Davis: (06:11)
But then on top of it, increasingly there's so many devices in buildings or even in our pocket as we walk into buildings that are all chattering away, and collecting data. You're kind of pulling those two really important streams together to ... What kind of information do you get out of that by seeing the two things together, or all the things together?
Matt Waugh: (06:34)
One of the really cool use cases that we're sort of expanding on at the moment is, we started surfacing energy data. So consumption and production of energy. And with the growth in I guess the evolution in batteries and things like that, with solar energy specifically, there's a lot of information behind the user profile. And if I'm a residential building, multi-tenant building, how much energy I'm consuming is one part of the story. But actually what's that energy being consumed on is the other part. And that's where there's that marrying of the human context and the data context. And so what we've actually managed to surface was in one of our clients, at 2:00 A.M. they were consuming a considerable amount of energy. But-
Kylie Davis: (07:19)
Matt Waugh: (07:19)
... for that being ... No, no. The client actually was a commercial side. It was a carwash.
Kylie Davis: (07:24)
Matt Waugh: (07:26)
So not too much Netflix was going on there. But what happened was, they had been getting the quarterly bills. And the bills looked a certain way. And really without diving, spending hours and hours looking at auditing and things like that, there was no way that they would know between 2:00 and 4:00 A.M. there was some hardware within one of their sites that was acting in a faulty manner. And actually costing them, a little bit for the sake of round numbers, a $100 a night.
Matt Waugh: (07:53)
And there was no way to identify that, let alone trigger something for the staff or the stakeholders to act on it, until something could surface this data in real-time, and provide it with context. And so we came in, we're installed on those sites. They've got 15 sites. And the problem was being repeated across all of them, because it was the same hardware that was-
Kylie Davis: (08:14)
Matt Waugh: (08:15)
Yeah. And now you can see how this starts to sort of roll out into quite a big cost. And so yeah, so that's sort of one thing we're really proud of that our software immediately provided a return on investment for those commercial clients. But now we're looking at feeding that back into that, I guess, residential and property sector, knowing this information is only going to create more power and opportunity for large scale landlords, if they've got a number of properties in their portfolio. Being able to optimise their energy consumption for their tenants, potentially knowing what kind of solar that would best suit them. And then down the line, potentially adding additional revenue streams through what they capture in that solar, and pushing it back into the network. So it's all just about taking all the abundance of information we have around us, and putting it into really easy to understand, user friendly dashboards on a phone. And then making it actionable for people.
Kylie Davis: (09:09)
So the dashboard sits on your phone, not on a ... So everyone can see it? Tenants and owners?
Matt Waugh: (09:16)
It's a two part solution. So there's a backend that you can log into. And that's sort of what the admin or the management would utilise. And then the native iPhone and iOS app provides a dashboard which is relevant to your position in the, I guess, the stakeholder hierarchy. So if you're a tenant, you can see consumption so that you can maybe improve the way you're using energy at nighttime. If you're the landlord, you can see consumption and production. So you can see how your solar's being generated. And then if you're the property manager, you can see that across the portfolio and actually make really highly intelligent recommendations to your owners.
Kylie Davis: (09:55)
Right. Okay. Cool. So what kind of devices are in our buildings that are feeding this information?
Matt Waugh: (10:02)
It's quite scary if you start looking at it at a granular level. These devices-
Kylie Davis: (10:07)
I love that.
Matt Waugh: (10:07)
... are every-
Kylie Davis: (10:08)
Yeah. Well, because here's the thing, isn't it? Is that in our buildings, because we've done ... Because we've built buildings and people have lived in them for millennia, we kind of assume that we know how they work. But we really don't. We assume that, "Well, they cost this much to build. And then we put this many tenants in, and they bring us back this much. And the quarterly expenses are blah. And occasionally, annoyingly, people report problems with them. And we have to have a capex or a budget to just fix them. But that's it. There's nothing else complicated about it." But what you guys are doing is actually letting people see that when the data starts to feed in, you can actually really starts to see what's being used, and costing where. So that we can actually start to make our buildings more efficient and friendly, and healthy, and better for the whole planet kind of thing.
Matt Waugh: (11:08)
Yeah. And I-
Kylie Davis: (11:08)
I'm having a fan girl moment. This is awesome.
Matt Waugh: (11:10)
Yeah. I think it was really great that you used the word, "Healthy," there. Because that's sort of how we like to look at it. I think when you as a building manager are relying on doing site visits, and walking around, and sort of basic maintenance scheduling. It's kind of like putting your fingers on someone's pulse, and saying, "I can feel it. They're healthy." Whereas what we provide is an MRI, an X-ray, a CT scan, and some blood work to go with it. Because being proactive is so much more cost effective than being reactive. But the way that we deal with infrastructure at the moment is inherently reactive. We wait until we see the crack, and then start trying to fix it.
Matt Waugh: (11:50)
Whereas there's devices out there that could sense vibrations. And if vibrations are creating a trend of data that increases, then you would be likely to start noticing that maybe there's a crack, or a design fault, or something like that, that could lead to more information that you could dive into. And sort of more insights and more beneficial outcomes for everyone. And the best thing about all this is that these devices do this every day, all the time. It's not like you're having to go out there and check these sites.
Kylie Davis: (12:19)
Yeah. So the sorts of things that are providing information are things like what? Air conditioning? Elevators? Security systems?
Matt Waugh: (12:31)
[crosstalk 00:12:31], elevators. I mean, one of the really cool things is the secure buildings. So like in strata, you've got a panel to log in, or to get into the building. That's creating data. That's creating potential business intelligence of foot traffic, of delivery times, of how many people come into a building before you start to notice faults in the lifts, and things like that. All of these things create such valuable data, but it's not viable to expect someone to sit there and look at them all independently.
Kylie Davis: (13:03)
Matt Waugh: (13:04)
Kylie Davis: (13:04)
Matt Waugh: (13:04)
... outcome ... Yeah. Exactly. And that's sort of where we sort of sit in [inaudible 00:13:07], and what we're hoping to achieve blue sky, is by being a light user based interface. We design everything to be friendly for the end user, rather than to be all about the specific job it's trying to do. So some of these devices are extremely ... Like water usage device that'll tell you to the millilitre how much water is going through that pipe. That siloed technology is so powerful in what it's achieving. But until you can access that and put that information into context of other information, it can only really be solved for one thing. Once you put that into sort of an open data portal or where it can be pulled, as I said, with context of other things, all of a sudden that one monitoring devices becomes a pivotal tool in the health of your building. And that's sort of what we aim to achieve with Conexie is reduce those barriers to smart, connected, unsiloed in buildings and communities.
Kylie Davis: (14:00)
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Kylie Davis: (14:31)
The connection process is simple, and Direct Connect's always on guarantee ensures your customers will be connected on the day they move in. Direct Connect offers a range of market leading suppliers. And Direct Connect has now made it even easier than ever to send connections, directly integrating with MRI Software's Property Tree. So in just a few clicks while processing a tenancy, you can send the connection details through, and get your customers connected. To make the right connection and find out how Direct Connect can make moving easy for you, and easy for your customers, visit agents.directconnect.com.au. Or call 1300-558-169. So is it only for commercial and big buildings? Or can I use it for my house?
Matt Waugh: (15:18)
No. So we at the moment, we're onboarding sort of between five and 10 houses nationally a week. Specifically in the ... I guess because energy is something common to all of us, and because of the rising costs and things like that, there's a bit of incentive in it. So right now that's how we are helping the residential market. And what it is, is there's an auditor tool is installed into your power box. And then that tool talks to Conexie. And from anywhere, you can see the usage going on in your house. You're good ... If you wanted to take ... We have sort of different tiered subscriptions. We can build in the ability to switch things on and off. So there is these capabilities and softwares out there for smart houses, turn your T.V. off, things like that. But a lot of, I guess, legacy hardware doesn't have that capability. So we're trying to give a technology overhaul on things that don't have that capability.
Kylie Davis: (16:15)
So what would that look like in a typical house?
Matt Waugh: (16:19)
Yeah. So in a typical house, that hardware device, or the monitoring device, [inaudible 00:16:24] would be installed. And then you would instantly get notified on your phone. And it says, "You're now live with Conexie for your house." So you would open the app, and you would be able to see, depending on if you have a pool pump or you have some things that have their own energy line that you could connect to. That would then identify it as, "That item is using this much energy at this time." And then we can actually translate that in the app to this many dollars. So you could come home, and if you've got kids and they've left the lights on, you could say, "You cost $2.40 today. That's coming out of your weekly pocket money."
Kylie Davis: (16:56)
Matt Waugh: (16:57)
But what it really does ... And that sounds comical. But what it does-
Kylie Davis: (16:59)
Matt Waugh: (16:59)
... is it gets buy-in and engagement. You really get the ... Almost gamifying the sustainable green living, because you're seeing your efforts produce outcomes in real time. So the ROI isn't just in money saved, it's actually in I guess a change of behaviour as well.
Kylie Davis: (17:17)
Cool. And so from there, I guess you'd be able to assess properly the value of solar on your roof, or-
Matt Waugh: (17:24)
Kylie Davis: (17:24)
... some things like that.
Matt Waugh: (17:25)
So we've partnered with some of, I guess, Australia's leading solar financers, who sort of come in, provide an audit of the house and say, "Okay, with this much roof space you'd be able to get this much solar. That means over this period of time, we could do that for a zero dollar upfront loan." So their idea is to reduce that barrier of the upfront cost. And then we've also partnered with sort of premier installer teams. Because what they want to then be able to do is go to their either existing clients or new clients and say, "Hey, we can chuck one of these things in for a month. You can see it on your phone. We can see how you're consuming things. We can make suggestions on how you can improve the way you're doing your energy consumption behaviour. But also, we can suggest this installation is going to save you X amount of money over X time." So it's all about giving more information to people to make good decisions for a sustainable green future, I guess in that energy regard.
Kylie Davis: (18:19)
Fantastic. That's really exciting. So tell me a little bit about you, Matt. How did you get into this? What's your background?
Matt Waugh: (18:28)
My background was, I was a business manager for an industrial chemical company in Asia.
Kylie Davis: (18:33)
Matt Waugh: (18:34)
And yeah. Bit different. And I was based over there. And my job in that role was to be a part of a software implementation team where we did all the business mapping and workflow, optimization work to then design an interface called an ERP system. More or less what that means is a system that helps all the other little systems going on work together.
Kylie Davis: (18:57)
Matt Waugh: (18:57)
And create a more efficient workplace. Which ironically is quite similar to what we've tried to achieve with Conexie. And that's sort of I guess where my expertise in that field came from. And then our other founders Seb and Jake. Seb's background is purely innovating. He invented a device which is used for saving lives all around the world now in regards to firefighting. So he created that idea. He made it into a market ready product. He then sold it around the world. And since joining this venture has exited that business. So his mind is all about looking at a wheel and seeing how to make it better.
Kylie Davis: (19:34)
Matt Waugh: (19:34)
So bringing those two people together, and then throwing the third one in, which is Jake, who has worked for the last 10 years in the sales of software. And optimization software and innovation software. So he now comes in and brings that third element to our business, which sort of I feel puts us in good stead for the years ahead.
Kylie Davis: (19:54)
Matt Waugh: (19:55)
But yeah. So it's kind of cool. We've got the ying and yang of the ... My background being, I guess, like a bean counter in business. And Seb's background being like, "How can we take this thing apart and rebuild it?" And then throw Jake in, and he can go find people that want to buy it and will benefit from it. That's sort of our business to a tee.
Kylie Davis: (20:14)
Awesome. So what's your business model? How do you ... Are you subscription, or how does that work?
Matt Waugh: (20:20)
Yeah. So we're subscription based. We started out trying to build as a SaaS. As I guess specifically just a SaaS. We're now I guess more of a bespoke SaaS, because we have that capability. It's called ... We've tried to coin the term Coms Plus. So Conexie has, as I was talking about, the surfacing of data and all these other capabilities. But we also come with that initial offering of connecting people to all of this information. And so you could, for residential people, where we sell it as a subscription for monitoring of the data, and the account setup. And that comes with the hardware installation as well.
Matt Waugh: (20:59)
Or if you're a commercial outfit, then we talk about sort of, I guess, the larger offering that we can provide too if you've got lots of staff, and transient communities. We're sort of talking at the moment with a precinct management team with a new project up in Brisbane. And what they're trying to do is create a seamlessly engaged, transient I guess, precinct environment where people come in to go to restaurants, or go and look at a car yard, or go to the yoga. And because our software can identify you based on a geolocation. So you're inside the fence of this precinct, then you're now accessible to information being sent to you, or for you to send the information to the people relevant to where you're standing. So it's kind of ... Yeah, there's tiers to the offering. But yeah, it's a subscription based model primarily.
Kylie Davis: (21:49)
Cool. So I'm going to come back to another question on that. But so what's a ... A typical house, what's the subscription rate?
Matt Waugh: (21:58)
Yeah. So we do everything in five year monitoring. Off the bat, we definitely can do things on a bespoke [inaudible 00:22:04] different to that. But if you're a residential owner, standalone, you're looking at about $1,500 for the five years.
Kylie Davis: (22:14)
Right. Okay. That's pretty reasonable. It's a cup of coffee a day. Not even. So I want to go back to that idea that I'm inside the precinct, and now you're starting to push me. A couple of things. I guess with COVID, being able to track people or see who's come into the precinct seamlessly, it's made us all really mindful of that. Have you had any insights around with COVID happening?
Matt Waugh: (22:47)
Well, not specifically. I guess because we've been so heavily focused in what we've been doing at the moment. But we definitely have I guess, identified a gap that we could move into, because we are connecting people on that, I guess ... What's the word for it? Like a mobile type form that isn't specific to, you have it every day of your life, and it's a day-to-day usage tool. But if you enter a precinct, then it recognises you've been there, and you've left there, and it captures that. And then if you need to be contacted at a later date, there's that capability there. It would just be about re-jigging, I guess the offering to match those needs.
Kylie Davis: (23:26)
And so what's the privacy? How do we manage the privacy around this? Do I feel a little bit violated that I'm suddenly I'm getting text messages, and I didn't ... Or I'm getting notifications about something that I didn't know, just because I've crossed an invisible barrier?
Matt Waugh: (23:39)
No. Absolutely not. So everything with our platform, as I mentioned, is designed with the end user in focus. So everything is opt-in.
Kylie Davis: (23:47)
Matt Waugh: (23:49)
So what we try and set up is something that is of benefit to you to want to be engaged on it. So you walk into that precinct, and then obviously there'll be advertising, or marketing collateral that says, "Hey, if you want to be engaged with all the different stakeholders within this precinct and be a part of this community, scan this QR code. And then that'll localise your phone to be then able to communicate with that precinct community." But if you don't opt-in on that, then there's no contacting you with-
Kylie Davis: (24:19)
Matt Waugh: (24:19)
... unwanted SMSs and things like that.
Kylie Davis: (24:23)
No, no. Okay. But even if I say I don't want to be contacted, you still know that I was there and you know where I went. Which is still feeding into the bigger anonymized dataset, I guess at the top?
Matt Waugh: (24:34)
No. So we again, only ... We'd only identify that you were there if you had the Conexie app on your phone. So you still have to choose to be ... For your phone to be able to talk to by whatever the admin backend system is. So by you walking into the precinct, if you haven't got Conexie on your phone, there's no engagement with you.
Kylie Davis: (24:54)
Matt Waugh: (24:55)
Yeah. So the app is what localises your phone. And then we call them channels, but each individual precinct or account has ... You have your own opt-in capabilities with those independent accounts.
Kylie Davis: (25:09)
Right. Okay. So it's more for people who are going to be going there all the time, or regularly as opposed to just someone who pops in, because they're in town for the day.
Matt Waugh: (25:17)
Yeah. Exactly. And then so we sort of leave that then with the precinct providers. So one of our use cases, we did a pilot with a university here in Sydney. And to incentivize the opt-in, you could opt-in and then gain access to coffee deals, and things like that. Because that obviously creates a two way communication touchpoint. And then in exchange for that coffee benefit, you're then actually giving business intelligence to that university for foot traffic, and everything else that they can use to optimise the experience for all students in the area. So it's very much a, yeah, opt-in only, nothing violating. No big brother sort of things going on here.
Kylie Davis: (25:57)
Okay. Awesome. So we've sort of talked ... We've talked about the benefits in terms of energy usage, and I guess repairs and maintenance. Are there other benefits to Conexie?
Matt Waugh: (26:10)
Yeah. So I guess leaning back to that Coms Plus concept of our software. By acknowledging the needs of people with an automated process. So if it is the submission of, "I need to find out where the bins are located in this multi-tenanted building." Or, "I'm doing an induction." Or whatever else. But acknowledging that through an automated software, you're getting that buy-in and that engagement. And so you're actually creating an intrinsic investment in the communities that you have within your buildings. And then there's metrics on that to decrease vandalism, increase satisfaction, increased happiness, and things like that. So on a non-financial metric, we create that sort of ecosystem and that capability. But then specifically on a financial metric, it's that workflow optimization. You're not having to have three phone calls and asking for two different emails. You're getting one actionable email with photos, with context, with relevance. And all you're having to do is say, "Yes, I accept this is a problem." And then integrate it into your current maintenance system. So it's all about really, we try and make sure that with Conexie, you don't have to touch something twice.
Kylie Davis: (27:22)
Matt Waugh: (27:23)
It's that ... Yeah. So yeah, that's a big part of it. And then the other element is, we build in a triage capability to our platform. So if I'm going to submit something, if it's a query or if it's a troubleshooting capability based submission, you can actually as the manager build those troubleshooting options into the app. So before I can event submit what it is I'm trying to submit to you, as the building manager, I have to have tried X, Y, Z. And then when that submission comes through, it comes through with the context of, "I tried these things." So you're not having to double handle that again as-
Kylie Davis: (27:55)
"I turned it on and off. I've checked the power's on."
Matt Waugh: (28:01)
Kylie Davis: (28:01)
Matt Waugh: (28:01)
... seems funny. But in so many cases. We did some work with a petro-chemical company here in Australia, which has 800 sites. For abundance of half a million people going through their stores every month. And their staff, one of the things for that was the signs for the cost of the fuel. They were getting call-out fees, because their current maintenance system once you submit that, then goes to the sign technicians. And then they come out there, and then they turn the box off and turn the box back on, and the sign works. And it's something as simple as that more often than you'd like to believe. So just-
Kylie Davis: (28:38)
Matt Waugh: (28:38)
... creating that accountability, and also creating that process for people to be a part of. Actually yeah, just something as simple as that reaps massive rewards for our clients.
Kylie Davis: (28:50)
It makes you realise, doesn't it? How much work we give ourselves. When really just a couple of extra questions can help solve a lot of stuff. So Matt, tell us a little, who are some of your clients? You've sort of alluded to a few of them. But I mean, not names necessarily, but you're obviously doing stuff with residential clients individually.
Matt Waugh: (29:12)
Yeah. We're working a national ASX listed company at the moment to optimise their energy consumption, but also create engagement within their staff. I don't know how to say it loosely. But they're a retailer of homewares. And what they started with was just Conexie to audit their consumption and be able to provide business managers or store managers with which stores are working effectively, and which stores aren't. And that's now been farmed out to a full-scale operation where we actually can trigger at 6:00 P.M. at night, store managers with the context of, "Hey, your store is utilising this much energy when it's triggered to say it shouldn't be any more than [crosstalk 00:29:53]-"
Kylie Davis: (29:53)
"Turn the lights off. Turn the lights off in the storeroom."
Matt Waugh: (29:58)
We make a very friendly notification at 6:00 P.M. "Maybe go back to the office and turn them off." And things as simple as that have created almost a work culture of competition between stores who can be the most efficient, who can be the most engaged, all that sort of stuff. So we're really I guess now finding out feet in what all of these capabilities can provide for that sort of scale client. Outside of that, as I mentioned, we've partnered with a solar financer, who they're sort of our ... And national now, installing panels on people's roofs every day. We're now a pivotal part of that onboarding process, and the reduction in barriers for getting those residents and owners to buy-in. And then obviously blue sky for us is if we're providing that data to enough people, we can then turn around and look at ways to create additional revenue streams for those investors or landlords.
Kylie Davis: (30:47)
Cool. I'd love to get the details of your solar provider. We'll put that in the show notes too. Yeah. As well as your details. As a real estate agent, you know you need to be doing more content marketing. But creating posts for social media, creating videos and reports is hard work, lots of hard work. And it takes time. So that's why you need HomePrezzo. If you're a typical agent posting one or two social media posts a week, HomePrezzo can save you between 75 to a 100 hours a year. How many more properties could you sell if you had that time back?
Kylie Davis: (31:26)
HomePrezzo can help you create engaging informative videos about how the property market in your local suburb is performing. Plus it makes creating suburb reports, winter videos for landlords, and social media infographics an absolute piece of cake. If you can type in a suburb or type in address, you can create a Prezzo using HomePrezzo in just a few minutes. Listeners to the Proptech Podcast receive a 14 day free trial. Now that's twice as long as the normal free trial. So go to homeprezzo.com.au and click the Sign Up button. And use the code, "Proptech," to get your extended free trial. Or click the link in our show notes. So is much competition in this space, Matt? Who else is out there that ... Or are you guys the only ones?
Matt Waugh: (32:15)
I think we'd be very naïve to think that we're the only people who are doing something like this. I think what potentially makes us a little bit unique is that we are very comfortable in saying, we specialise in the communications part. We take the information, and give it to someone to do something. And we have no intention on ever being anything outside this part of the scope. There is incredibly powerful and successful softwares that do maintenance and accounting, and payroll, and all these other elements that you sort of start to see the scope creep coming towards.
Kylie Davis: (32:47)
Matt Waugh: (32:48)
But we are very absolute in where we sit, which is we are going to be the industry leaders in capturing information, whether that's device or person. And handing that information to the right person at the right time. And that is where we will stop.
Kylie Davis: (33:02)
Fantastic. So you're doing a lot of work in obviously big data and automation. What do you see the future holds in proptech in this space over the next five years?
Matt Waugh: (33:20)
I think there ... And it's starting to sort of become more evident now, there's an increased appetite for [desiloeing 00:33:29] these data streams. And actually sharing them between what would've traditionally been seen as competitors to create additional opportunities. And I think, probably realestate.com.au started this. Where prior to that, everyone went to market through their own channels, and they wanted their channel to be the number one channel. But actually what it created was too many channels that people didn't know what to look at or where to find it.
Matt Waugh: (33:53)
Whereas if you create one single place which can bring in this really, I guess, succinct and powerful information from all of these other real estate agents, the buyers know where to go. And they can actually make their choice with a lot more confidence and ease. And so I think you've probably found with the increased exposure to the different information portals, you've actually increased the appetite for consumption as a whole. I kind of like to think about, I did a chat at a open data session for councils. And what I've tried to say to them is, I think a lot of people look at data and power, and things like that as an absolute pie. And if they give part of that pie to someone else, they have less.
Kylie Davis: (34:35)
Matt Waugh: (34:36)
When really what it is, is an infinite opportunity. And if you share your information with someone else's information, you create more opportunities.
Kylie Davis: (34:45)
Matt Waugh: (34:46)
And I think that's where people are starting to realise this is all going. It's not about protecting what you know. It's about specialising in one part of it, and adding value to every other part that you may be one or two degrees away of separation from.
Kylie Davis: (34:59)
So as we head into the future, it's products like yours that are going to enabling ... Making our cities truly smart, I guess. Making our buildings really smarter.
Matt Waugh: (35:09)
Yeah. I would hope so.
Kylie Davis: (35:11)
Yeah. How long do you recon, what's your prediction on how long will it take to get Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, how long do you reckon we've got before we really are all ... Our cities really are connected properly, we're living in smart cities?
Matt Waugh: (35:29)
There's some incredible flagships that make it seem like this could be sooner than later. I mean, Newcastle is an incredible example of a city and as a council that all got buy-in. And wanted to create sort of that flagship opportunity of smart cities. So I definitely don't it's in the unfathomable future. I think though there is an element, and maybe in the cities like Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, we forget we're in maybe a bubble of population as well. Where what works for us probably doesn't work for the other 80% outside that bubble.
Matt Waugh: (36:05)
So I think it's all about maybe going at a pace which keeps the ... It's not the people at the back of the line. But keeps sort of the greater population invested as we set forward, rather than leaping ahead with one part, and then expecting the rest to sort of play catch up. So I think we'll definitely see more and more of these bubble flagships, sort of pioneering communities and cities. And then eventually I think those will creep up to being closer and closer to each other. And then eventually they'll be neighbouring. So maybe-
Kylie Davis: (36:40)
And then they'll start to connect to each other, and it'll get really clever then.
Matt Waugh: (36:44)
Yeah. Exactly. So I would hope ... COVID obviously has changed a lot of that priority in terms of people are now maybe, how you look at where their budgets are and stuff like that for a more sustainable ... Get through the next year or two before we start looking a bit further ahead like that. But it has also created a really great opportunity for a reset button for so many businesses to go, "The way we were doing it as is or as was, we now have the opportunity to completely look at that, reflect on it and innovate." And so-
Kylie Davis: (37:14)
And probably too, the ability to think, "You know what? Let's instal ... Where are we going to find our next cost savings to get us through COVID?" Knowing that simply turning the lights off at six o'clock in the store room could actually have a big impact, and maybe save people's jobs down the line, because you're using what you've got-
Matt Waugh: (37:36)
And that was something that we were really sort of I guess, proud to be a part of. And we didn't realise that a big part of maybe the barriers to our entering the market pre COVID was, there wasn't really that much appetite for the saving of a $100 here and $50 there. That's a very different story now in 2020.
Kylie Davis: (37:54)
Oh, yeah, "We want it now."
Matt Waugh: (37:54)
Yeah. And for us, 2020 has been by far our biggest year. Our annual recurring revenue is nearly doubled month on month since March. And as I mentioned, we're in five year contracts. So there's definitely been a shift in the needs and the wants of our clients. And also to be able to sit there in our sort of, when we have our team meetings and say, "Well, we potentially ... We've optimised over half a million dollars worth of energy for this company." How many jobs did we just save? Or how many ... What has that created in terms of opportunity, rather than just more money in the bank. So yeah, in a very horrible time, there is some silver linings and things that I hope will create for a really sustainable future for Australian business.
Kylie Davis: (38:40)
Fantastic. And so what does ... Well, five year contracts means that you guys are positioned pretty well. What does the future hold for Conexie?
Matt Waugh: (38:49)
Yeah. As I said, we sort of want to become the go-to tool for connecting all these other siloed technologies, to become that conduit for smart cities, and smart living, and smart communities. We're looking at now, what opportunities our energy information can create, and what we can do for our customers. One of those things, I think it's sort of a buzzword at the moment in the energy space is the virtual power plants. We have the ability now to take the production data from solar, and the consumption data from solar. And then by creating purchasing agreements, we are looking at how we can offer our landlords or our property managers to their portfolios, a no-cost upfront installation through the financer. And then an additional revenue stream as the landlords can actually sell their energy back to their tenants at a much cheaper rate than what the tenants would be paying for off the grid. So you're adding value to your asset. You're adding value to your tenants. You're creating additional revenue stream. And this is all with the existing software and technology that we have. And it's now just about sort of creating that reach and-
Kylie Davis: (39:55)
Joining the dots.
Matt Waugh: (39:57)
Yeah. Exactly. And that's sort of where we are at the moment is just making sure what we deliver is everything we say it will be. And so that we have our happy customers. And then on the back of those happy customers, find out what it is we can do for them tomorrow, and the next month, the next year.
Kylie Davis: (40:10)
Fantastic. Well, Matt, look. Thank you so much for being on the show. This has been a really ... It's been wonderful to have such an optimistic and positive conversation about what the future holds. I mean, we always talk about amazing technology. But I really love these conversations around making it easy to save money and save the planet, and all of that stuff. So thank you so much for your time. It's been awesome.
Matt Waugh: (40:40)
Not a problem at all. Thank you so much. Yeah. I get excited talking about it.
Kylie Davis: (40:41)
No, no. It's fantastic. Now, we will include your contact details in the show notes. And what I'd also love to do is, if you are a proptech out there, or a business out there that has an app or a product that probably should be connecting into Conexie, we'll put some contact details in there for how they contact you for those sorts of inquiries as well, right?
Matt Waugh: (41:01)
Yeah. Perfect. Yeah, we sort of have the hello@conexie email.
Kylie Davis: (41:05)
Matt Waugh: (41:05)
Kylie Davis: (41:06)
It'll get to the right spot. All right. And I'm looking to put solar on our place. So I'll do that with you too. Fantastic.
Matt Waugh: (41:15)
For anyone ... I don't know if anyone listening, the solar financer company that we work with is called Upstream. So if there is anyone that is interested, and then they're looking at it. It's a 15 minute sort of call, and then they work it out from there whether it's a feasible thing based on roof size, and all those other factors. But yeah, Upstream Energy. They've been an incredible partner of ours. And they're helping households around Australia go gree every day.
Kylie Davis: (41:42)
Fantastic. All right. Well look, it's been wonderful to have you on the show, Matt. Thank you so much for your time.
Matt Waugh: (41:47)
Not a problem. Thank you so much.
Kylie Davis: (41:49)
So how are you feeling? Like world actually does have a chance to be a better place? And like we could possibly, maybe, actually fix global warming? There is so much that I love about this technology. Most importantly, that it's bringing both the best of human and machine notifications. And putting it all in one place, so it can be used by building owners and managers. In proptech at the moment, we're seeing a growing number of proptech businesses that are helping tenants report building faults and make repair requests. And equally, but separately, there's another branch that is pulling in the automated data to help create smart buildings. But Conexie is the first that I've seen that is actually doing both of these things together.
Kylie Davis: (42:34)
It's also the first that is actively available to residential houses. Everything else I've seen in this space has been focused on multi-dwelling or commercial buildings. And I really love how they're partnering with businesses that can help solve the problems that they're identifying through the data. And that really removes the pain points to action. So look, I've included a link to Upstream as well as Conexie in the show notes. Please check them out. And now if you have enjoyed this episode of the Proptech Podcast, I would love you to tell your friends. Or drop me a line via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn or Facebook. And you can follow this podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor and Apple iTunes, and anywhere great podcasts are heard. I'd like to thank my audio support, Charlie Hollands, the fabulous Jill [Escadero 00:43:22]. And our sponsors, Smidge Wines, Exclusive Wines, available only via The Cellar Door. Direct Connect making moving easy. And HomePrezzo, now part of ActivePipe, and making real estate marketing easier than ever before. Thanks, everyone. Until next week, stay safe. And keep on Propteching.
Content marketing strategist, researcher, journalist and presenter specialising in the real estate industry. I'm passionate about proptech, digital disruption and all things property, big data, leadership and entrepreneurial ideas, have an MBA and specialise in social and digital media content creation and automation.