In March 2014, The Sydney Morning Herald listed Tanda as one of the top 10 hot Australian start-ups to watch. The start-up is marketing a time and attendance automation tool for “turning payroll chaos into clockwork”. The company was co-founded by four QUT alumni: Tasmin Trezise, Jake Phillpot, Josh Cameron and Alex Ghiculescu.
We spoke with Tasmin to find out some more about Tanda.
What is Tanda?
You might not believe it, but Tanda is actually making timesheets exciting. We automate the repetitive processes (rostering, timesheets, and payroll calculations) which helps employees get paid right and employers can stay on top of their costs. Tanda is about making life easier for small and medium sized business and the people they employ.
Being in the cloud means we can do this all without the expensive setup and installation fees, it’s so easy to get started.
What gave you the idea for the technology?
As the student leadership team [Tasmin, Jake and Josh] of the 2012 QUT Student Guild, we were getting frustrated because our time was being spent figuring out payroll instead of concentrating on the increase of student services. We wanted something intuitive and easy to implement that didn’t cost a small fortune to get started. We quickly found out that there was actually nothing out there that we would feel good about rolling out.
After hearing us complain, our friend and fellow QUT student, Alex, built a very basic system and let the Guild use it (at no cost) to automate some of the data collection. We were surprised at the savings and realised there were plenty of other businesses out there facing similar problems. It was the birth of Tanda.
We love that every dollar Tanda saves the Guild is a dollar that can be invested into critical student services. That’s the passion we take to every business we have the opportunity to help.
How long has your product been on the market?
We had our first paying user about 18 months ago. It’s hard to pinpoint a date on the product creation date because it’s constantly improving and we’re adding to our product mix. It’s constantly being updated because we know everything we do can be done better.
When was the company founded and where is it headquartered?
We were registered on February 18th 2013. We’re based in Brisbane and have no plans to change that. I visited San Francisco in April and we’re excited to prove that there’s no reason you can’t build a high functioning, high quality product here at home. Besides, it would be too difficult to hire QUT graduates if we were based anywhere else.
You have some big name Australian clients already, including Telstra Retail. Is your short-term focus domestic or are you hoping to expand into overseas markets?
I recently returned from a reconnaissance trip to the UK, US and Canada to investigate market opportunities. That’s definitely our goal. However, we think there are plenty of users that we haven’t had the opportunity to talk to yet in Australia. It’s a massive market and we’re having a good crack at taking on the big guys.
All four co-founders are QUT alumni. What did you study at QUT and when did you graduate?
Funnily enough, the four of us graduated with a knowledge mix that entirely comprises the traditional payroll occupation. Accounting and finance is an obvious ‘must have’, but you also need a background in law if you’re working with collective agreements or federal pay rules and a bit of IT if you’re working with payroll programs or systems like Tanda. We had all graduated by the end of 2013. Typically, it was the accountant, the most risk averse, who was the last to leave his ‘real’ job.
[bluebox: Tasmin graduated with a Bachelor of Finance; Jake with a Bachelor of Business; Josh with a Bachelor of Law and Business; and Alex with Bachelor of Business and Information Technology.]
What would winning the qutbluebox Innovation Challenge mean for TANDA?
We’ve got some really exciting plans for our platform on mobile. Most importantly, winning the Innovation Challenge would allow us to take this global. We would invest the prize fully in development, to create a platform that helps process payroll from your phone, in five minutes. If we can pull this off, it would save our clients thousands of hours and allow them to focus on the things that make them great.