I had the pleasure of recently speaking with Jeremy Lu & Brad Ward, co-founders of Perth SaaS startup, GroupMap which launched in 2012.
\\SN: How would you describe GroupMap in under 100 words?
GroupMap is an online brainstorming tool that allows people to think better together. It does this by letting people share what they think in real time on visual templates using rules set by a facilitator. It is used at workshops to reduce the pain and lag of using sticky notes, in classrooms to give each student a voice and at conferences to allow real time participation from the crowd. It improves meeting outcomes by helping teams reach consensus more efficiently and effectively.
\\SN: What was the motivation to create GroupMap?
As a teacher, facilitator and manager, we needed a way to capture what people were thinking in real time, easily and effectively. Sticky notes were laborious and wasteful, social media was too distracting, and other online collaboration tools were focused on file sharing and a single whiteboard where ideas would be lost and there was no insight into how aligned a group was. Products on the market were simply focused on creating a single process, single screen approach to idea capturing which created edit wars and the lack of accountability.
GroupMap would allow individuals to brainstorm, vote, rank and prioritise ideas individually and automatically combine them to see the overall results. The idea was to capture the 3 most important ideas in the room. Yours, mine and ours.
\\SN: What has been your biggest challenge building GroupMap, so far?
Overcoming the technical and technological challenges associated with the product. The innovation had to be coupled with ensuring that it was still intuitive and simple to use for both the facilitator and the end user.
\\SN: Who is your ideal customer? Are you able to describe them for us?
Work teams who have project meeting with the need to plan strategy, brainstorm and prioritise actions.
Facilitators who lead decision making and strategy meetings.
Educators in the flipped classroom and collaborative learning spaces.
Workshop organisers who need audience engagement and participation in events.
Distributed teams, including Agile work teams who engage in retrospectives
Schools with BYOD or 1-1 Devices who require student participation.
\\SN: What are you most excited about at the moment?
Our expansion into the European market with new resellers
\\SN: What are your thoughts on the Australian software ecosystem at the moment?
Highly focused on just the “high profiled” funded candidates, rather than the vast majority of SME’s.
\\SN: Where do you see GroupMap in 2 years’ time?
The common named tool for group brainstorming, collaboration and decision making.
\\SN: Why should our readers start using GroupMap?
To save time, avoid the delays of manual post it notes and whiteboards, have more real time engagement from their team and audience, and provide instant reporting and transparency.
\\SN: Thank you for your time, Brad and Jeremy, and all the best with your expansion!
This article is one of a series of interviews where I speak with the founders of Australian SaaS (Software as a Service) companies. You can view the other interviews here.