A lot of us are excited about digital technology startups these days. Why? Many times, it’s because as tech disruptors, their innovations revitalize entire business sectors. Seriously. We got to speak to three disruptive tech businesses to learn more about their processes, models and, of course, Cash Flow.
Where Celebrities Go To Stay
Luxico has found an interesting niche in between real estate and hotels. Their goal is to disrupt those two sectors by vertically integrating short- and long-stay accommodation options with full-service concierge and other experiential hospitality offerings. These are the kind of high-end accommodations VIPs or celebrities book. Using Luxico, you can even hire in a top chef for an in-house dining experience or find an art expert to tailor a tour of a new city. And adding to the exclusive feel, Luxico’s listings are exclusive to them. Luxico isn’t a portal. You can’t apply to list your home like you would on Airbnb. Their website is their online shop front for what’s essentially a service business.
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The four-year-old company operates in three Australian states (Victoria, NSW and Queensland) and, despite exponential growth, has actually reduced staff numbers to a dozen. And right now, they’re in discussions with three parties to raise more capital to scale up further. But Luxico isn’t a Legacy Business. Their goal is a franchise operation.
“To date, we have not pursued this path due to the success and fixed cost base of our unique operating structure,” says co-director Alex Ormerod. Actually, that job title undersells her. According to her email signature she’s also “Managing Director, Mum, interior designer wannabe, marketing guru, art lover & (occasionally) cleaner.”
Investing In Developer Tech
Tech is at the heart of what Luxico does. With that in mind, they’ve changed their development platforms a few times. Recently, they bought their own development company.
“We acquired a US tech company in August and are in the final stages of rolling out this proprietary technology to create a unique SMS ops platform for our concierge team to communicate with guests,” says Alex.
Luxico is focused on getting that tech running smoothly. But they have their eye on broader development opportunities.
“The concierge aspect of our business is of great interest to hotel groups and other property management businesses. The acquisition of the HelloScout tech brings with it a number of new possibilities as to how this technology could be rolled out as a licensed add-on to other industry sectors.”
Tinder For Food
If you can’t buy into the tech business, you can always get your brother to develop your own app. That’s what entrepreneur Jessica Koncz did when she created Crave. Basically Tinder for food, when you click through, you’ll see a short business summary and description of the dish itself matched with a mouth-watering photograph. Jessica is a foodie who started out with an Instagram page showcasing eateries in her hometown of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. As of now, she has about 48,000 followers. (Check out Jessica’s Instagram here) That success is what allowed her to set up a social media marketing agency four years ago.
Jessica says the Crave app is an “extension of Instagram page (Crave Newcastle) helping more people in an interactive way.”
“My brother is a software engineer, and he built the app himself teaching himself to use the React Native platform. It’s very solid. We knew if it can host Instagram, it would be able to host Crave.”
Her business model saw her fund the app before launching.
“We pitched the idea to Newcastle hospitality businesses we already had connections with and had 26 businesses sign up, paying a year up front. We didn’t have to take a loan out,” she says, having researched UberEats, MenuLog and Deliveroo’s success.
“We’ve taken what we know about traditional advertising and marketing and put it in a modern and engaging new way with food. People love food and love this way of engaging by swiping.”
In Newcastle alone there have been more than 8,000 downloads since the release this past August. The plan is to extend the apps reach to the Central Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Crave New Media creates the content –
“80% of food businesses that represent themselves on Instagram just don’t know how to take food photographs. The app is visual. We’re not trying to be the next TripAdvisor,” says Jessica.
For now, this millennial is in pitch mode to further scale up the business by targeting non-millennials.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions that millennials dislike structure to their business and are perceived as being quite lazy, but we don’t fall in that bracket.”
Millennials: The Lifeblood Of This Business
Aussie startup, Event Workforce Group, has created a massive event staff rostering and management platform enabling millennials to access opportunities to become job ready at the world’s biggest events. They’ve had two huge US clients, including one of the world’s biggest events, Tough Mudder. And that was even before they joined Austrade’s San Francisco landing pad in 2016. Event Workforce Group covers recruitment, training, communicating about shifts, post-event reporting and timesheets.
“We had this vision to create pathways for students to work in the sports and the event industry. It’s a competitive industry, and it’s competitive to get your first opportunity too through our screening processes,” says cofounder Shannon Gove.
They staff 1,000 events a year and have about 25,000 events staff on their database in Australia. Shannon doesn’t have exact figures for US, but their clients include the Superbowl, Rugby 7, the World Cup in 2018 and the Aspen Ski World Cup showing. They also cover the non-profit and cultural sectors.
Acting As Tech Disruptors
Shannon says: “All of our technology was developed in house. We link with tertiary institutes, but we haven’t had the right reception from them. So [we] decided to go to industry itself and interview and find out what they want in young people to get a job. We’re creating our own content, because we found it was most relevant to our workforce coming through. The training and content, it’s all for free. We want to create as many opportunities for young people around the world to understand the events industry as a whole and to become job ready.”
And that could be a gold mine for them.
“One day, we might package and sell it. Who knows? But right now we’re not making any money [from the training]. We just want our workforce trained properly,” says Shannon.
Disruption—a lot of it comes down to tech
Community Question: We’ve just heard how three Australian start-ups have wielded the power of tech to find their cash flow cures through disruption. Give you any ideas about how your business can shake things up in your industry? Share your experience in the Business Owner Only community.
interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
image credit: Bigstock/Stoathphoto
Margaret specializes in connecting businesses and publications with their customers and readers by writing great content. As an award-winning former Fairfax writer, she has written for national, metro, suburban and regional titles across Victoria and NSW. Her byline has appeared in 100+ online and print publications.