Ditching the suit and a comfortable job at PwC to develop a startup is something Tim Clover, the founder of consumer feedback app Glow, did almost two years ago.
Glow is an app which allows consumers to give instant feedback on products while they’re shopping.
He came up with the idea while working at the advisory firm as director of retail analytics and realised there was a need for businesses to connect with consumers.
“Consumers were getting sick of being bombarded with apps from different companies,” he said. “We saw that as an opportunity to connect consumers and businesses.”
Developing the app over the past 14 months, Clover has teamed up with Woolworths’ Thomas Dux stores in Victoria to run trials.
Setting up the trials took about six months of navigating through the corporation to find the right person who was willing to give it a go.
“I’ve basically risked everything to go after it. It’s been particularly hard to go after the Australian market and get the big businesses to innovate,” Clover said.
But in just over a year, Clover has gone from himself and one IT guy to hiring another eight people and raising about $600,000 in seed funding.
“It’s definitely a different story from rocking up to work in a suit and tie every day,” he said.
The one thing he learned from his PwC gig was that building a business on your own is much easier when you’ve got a strong network to call on.
“The ability to access people is much much easier once you’re connected,” he said.
The recent Nannas frozen berries debacle, which has seen 18 people infected with Hepatitis A, has pinpointed the company’s next growth area. Clover wants to build out the app to provide more information about a product, including where it is sourced.
“In 2015 we really should be giving people more information about what they’re buying. Not just foods, but I want to know where my electronics and clothes are sourced,” he told Business Insider.
“Manufacturers need to provide more sourcing information than can traditionally fit onto the label of a product, and it needs to be time-dependent.
“Any full solution to this problem needs to take into account in inherent delays and complexity of food supply chains, which cause problems when catastrophic failures occur like this one with Nanna’s berries.
“Ingredient sourcing, manufacture, packaging, distribution to retail, consumer purchase then consumption can take months – or years where shelf life is long. Given the seasonal nature of ingredients, manufacturers often need to switch between suppliers, so who’s to say where the contents of this bag of berries came from?”
He said providing more information through the barcode and the app is one way to give consumers a “real-time” connection with manufacturers and make it simpler to communicate product announcements or warnings.
“In a mobile, digital world (over 85% of Aussies now own a smart device) there are great opportunities to connect directly using things like barcodes and QR codes, and Glow provides solutions for both manufacturers and consumers,” he said.
“When a customer scans a product with Glow they’ll be able to get as much information as the manufacturer decides to display.”
With over 800,000 products registered the app enables consumers to connect directly to provide feedback, communicate ideas and even earn rewards through product research.
“This combination of better information and better communications will transform the way businesses provide real-time connectivity and help reduce the impact of issues (such as product recalls) when they arise, offering a win for consumers and a win for businesses too,” Clover said.
Glow is hoping to attract somewhere between 1 million and 4 million users this year.