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From analog to digital - disrupting the interior design industry

In the second episode, we are talking with Timothy Murenzi, where we’ll go in-depth over Indema, one of over 20 businesses that he’s run during his career.

Episode 02: From analog to digital – disrupting the interior design industry - graphic1

Episode 02: From analog to digital – disrupting the interior design industry, with Tim Murenzi.

During our conversation, Tim told us about his road to becoming a successful entrepreneur, together with all the challenges and failures on the way. We also discussed the technical aspects of running his new company – Indema, goals achieved in 2021, and his plans for the company’s growth in 2022. Listen to the podcast to find out how did he manage to release over 100 features in 9 months!

The second episode in a nutshell:

  • Tim’s professional journey
  • The story and mission behind Indema
  • Purposes and features of Indema
  • “All in one” doesn’t mean the same for everyone
  • Indema vs competitors
  • Needs & challenges of the interior design industry
  • Lessons learned by running other businesses
  • Technology behind Indema
  • The model of hiring external teams or a vendor from a different continent 

About Tim

Timothy Murenzi has been an Interior Designer for roughly 13 years, but recently he decided to switch the industry by creating Indema. Knowing the designers’ needs, he came up with a project management platform that would save time by automating and organizing their work. That’s not his first adventure with running a company though – he’s already developed over 20 businesses in the past where he went through multiple industries.

He also helps designers with challenging business questions and talks about it on his podcast – ‘The Interior Design Consultant.’

Recently, we also asked him a few questions to get to know him better – read it here.

🚨 Thanks to Tim and his kindness, we got something special for you: 30% off for the first 3 months of a chosen paid plan at Indema! Use the promo code: PODCAST

Don’t forget to sign up below to get various bonuses after each episode!

Click here to find the full list of our episodes 📋

Transcript

Welcome to the “How We Innovate” podcast presented by Applandeo, hosted by me, Wiola and my co-host Brian. On this podcast We talk with leading innovators, pull back the curtain on their industry and get to know how they use technology to achieve success, as well as share the stories behind them and their businesses.

Host – Bryan

So welcome to the, how we innovate podcast presented by Applandeo, our second episode, and we are very glad to be joined by Tim, CEO, founder of Indema, plus a whole bunch of other stuff that he’ll get into today. Tim, welcome to the 77th ranked tech tech podcast in Sweden 😉 by the way, this is one episode into it and we are in the top 100 Swedish tech podcasts.

Guest – Tim

Alrighty, look at that. Well, thanks for having me. You butchered my last name, but it’s okay. It’s Morenzi. You almost had it. I’ll give you a for effort. So Tim, introduce yourself a bit, maybe a bit about what you do and we’ll get. Yeah. It all started in 1990 when I was born. I’m just kidding. I’m not going to go that crazy.

I’ve been natural born entrepreneur. I started deejaying back when I was 13 years old.  My dad walked in my house for my birthday and gave me a business card and I was like, what is this? Like, it’s a weird birthday gift.  And it was just a business card from a friend of his who was a DJ.

So I started deejaying, about like three months later, I was like, I want to do it myself. And I want to own a company that’s like, you’re crazy. And the rest is history. So DJ company, we ended up selling that, and exiting right before college. Then just got into a bunch of other things. I even started candle company that completely failed.

Host – Bryan

What was your favorite? What was your favorite scent?

Guest – Tim

Oh man. I would say anything like earthy, like, like woodsy earthy wood was probably my favorite.  Mine is usually like fresh cut grass or like cotton linen, like fresh linen. That’s usually a good. Fresh cut grass. I’ve never heard of that. I think it’s definitely a Yankee candle for sure. Probably they do all sorts of stuff.

Host – Wiola

Why did you fail at the candle?

Guest – Tim

It’s too sciency. It’s that? Okay. So I also tried soap making got me scared because here in the States, apparently you have to have like a license to have a bunch of lie. Cause lie is a corrosive. So I was like, yeah, I don’t want to like get arrested for having too much lies.

So, I got scared. I’m still making, so I stopped doing that, but, yeah, candles and soap or just to science. That’s I’m not a science-y person. So ultimately got frustrated with it.

Host – Wiola

That’s actually pretty funny as we’re we were talking about that with Brian, before we started the podcast about your deejaying career as.

This is the second episode of our podcast. And then in the first episode, our first guest was Ralph Sutton, who is the founder of the gas, digital network, like a podcast company. And he was actually starting as a DJ in the street club. And now he’s a founder of this, like one of the biggest podcasts networks.

And you started as a DJ and now you’re like a founder of a SAS company. So we have a pattern here 🙂

Guest – Tim

And then your third one is going to be a DJ too. Like at different points of their career they’re dipping into DJ 😉 I mean, honestly, DJ is really fun. I was, I was always that like kid at family parties, he was like behind the DJ booth, like just staring it was the weirdest thing. I just like, I love music. Like anytime I’m working, there’s always music on, I’m also like 31 years old and I think I’m the only 1 31 year old who likes Aretha Franklin.

It’s weird, but, you know, music is everything to me. And I think that that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration for a lot of stuff is through music.

Host – Bryan

So, so for the DJ thing, like what was the hardest part? Was it like the management of it or, I mean, being a DJ.

Guest – Tim

Probably weddings, you know, I don’t think there at the time there really wasn’t anything hard about it. Like not compared to now. I think because it was really my passion. So like everything at the time was just. It was, it just was, you know, like I didn’t have a problem managing, like I actually, I literally enjoy creating contracts. I think I had like five different variations of my contract because like I legitimately loved like doing that aspect of it.

Cause it was my passion. Just as now, like everything, everything that we do on the business side and even for the platform is just, it’s fun because it’s, it’s your passion. And when, when you’re doing something, that’s your passion. You really don’t see it as your job and you don’t see anything that’s really like, challenging per se. At least I don’t think it’s challenging.

Host – Wiola

And actually the funny part is – like the similarity of any business you’re running and the brand you’re building and the deejaying is you’re coming to the point where you know that you can’t really satisfy everyone, you have to find your niche,

Guest – Tim

Host – Bryan

Yeah, that is true. There’s going to be one Dick in the crowd who hates playing regardless. Right. So you just can cater to one dick.

Guest – Tim

Oh yeah. There, there was always that, that old grandpa in the crowd, he didn’t like cotton Nigel, you know, he never got up and, you know, that’s why I also never really did weddings.

You know, weddings are very, very particular, like very cute. And it was very structured and I was like, you know, I aligned better with like, you know, a bar or bat mitzvahs where you could just have fun and sweet sixteens and you know, at the time it was just, it was just having fun.

That’s really what it was about. It really wasn’t about like owning a company or I wasn’t looking to exit or anything like that. I wasn’t even looking for a crazy amount of revenue. It was just the fact of having fun.

Host – Bryan

I guess let’s get into Indema, right? So this is your baby now. You know, get into maybe a brief introduction with in Indema is, and we could dive a little deeper into it.

Guest – Tim

Yeah, sure. So, in short and Indema is a unified platform that connects multiple systems into one for interior designers. We’re also touching a little bit on general construction and architecture, which is really interesting.

So any thing that you can do as an inter designer, GC or architect of meaning, from project management to business management, can all be done within, Indema and now social media, which is interesting. And obviously you are the interior design a designer and that’s your passion. And we know that Indema was actually, is that project management platform created for interior designers by interior design.

Host – Wiola

So yeah, so this is obviously like, it seems like the main motivation for building the product as, or not like what was the main motivation behind yes or no?

Guest – Tim

Yeah, I mean, that’s a really good question. I think that’s true. Motivation was realizing that my myself, including a lot of other designers that I knew were kind of really tired of paying for, you know, 5, 6, 7 different platforms to do everything.

Like at the time when I was actively designing, I was doing everything by binders. So I was, I wasn’t even touching technology, even my own design firm. But I did do task management, which mostly was do paper, but then I touched on this. I had QuickBooks at some point. And then there was just multiple, like other platforms that other designers were using.

So I think on average designers are using upwards of like four to six different platforms to, to accomplish everything. When I realized that there was, there was really nothing that kind of married everything into one, I think that’s what kind of made me take the leap into just developing Indema and seeing where it went. Then it just kind of blew up. So I guess that’s a positive.

Host – Bryan

Would you consider yourself like a technologist or was Indema your first .. no, no, you did Social Mako, right? So you kind of had some experience in to what you wanted Indema to be technology wise. Yeah, I mean, I was my own, my own use case in a sense, because I knew exactly.

Yeah. What designers do on a day-to-day basis. So for me, it was interesting because I didn’t have to go ask, you know, 500 designers, you know, what’s your biggest challenge cause I already knew it. Then yeah, so technology, I was already into it with Social Mako. So I didn’t really have to like learn too much of the SAS industry because I already was very familiar with it.

And then I also failed at a company in between Social Mako and India. You know, I also knew what not to do, with, with SAS as well. So it’s kind of like a, you know, just a universe, I guess, helping me in the best way possible with the success of Social Mako and also the failure of at the time go analyze.

Host – Wiola

So Indema is a project management platform. As far as we know, it’s not only for interior designers, it can serve an industry in terms of the project management tool. Is that right? Or.. let’s go to my second question. How many of the features are actually for managing business versus managing design?

Guest – Tim

That’s a good question. I actually don’t even know if I know that you know I would say, cause we have, I mean, just in the last nine months we, we launched like, I think a little over a hundred different features, some very, very small some much larger, but I would say a vast it’s very, very equal.

And I think that that’s where we Excel too. There’s a really good part of Indema that can focus on the business management and business management and a sense of like, you know, sending contracts to your clients, managing the clients, managing leads, you know, so on and so forth. And then the other part of that early is the project management.

So. There’s really like three sectors, technically four sectors of interior design that we, that we look into we’re in three, the fourth is pro is product procurement in a sense of how inter designers get furniture from the manufacturer to their clients. And we’re dipping our toes into that, that sector, that fourth one, which will complete, you know, pretty much everything that designer does.

So I would say between business and project management, we’re very equal in those two in the sense of how many features that we have for each of those sectors. Yeah. And so I’m not exactly sure.

Host – Bryan

Sure. Yeah. And to piggyback on maybe what Wiola said is like, why would someone who is not a project interior designer use Indema, if there’s other project management software out there, like maybe do you see there’s a few defining features of Indema that may be the other project management software tools don’t have.

Guest – Tim

Yeah. I mean, there there’s that, that all-in-one aspect of it. So when you think about like all in one. All in one kind of is a very vague ambiguous term because what, what all-in-one is for you, Brian would be completely different for me, which would be completely different for the next person. So I think just, just at face value, the fact that Indema can have that business management intertwined with project management intertwined with even social media is enough for just a random person that come join on because now they don’t have to worry about, you know, like even going into buffer Hootsuite, you know, as a separate, you know, solution to their, their process, when Indema pretty much has that in their time with their, their platform.

Host – Bryan

You know, me and you have spoken before. And, you know, I know the old Indema website, you kind of had Indema versus ClickUp or a Asana or stuff like that. Right. And ClickUp is a client of ours, right. We are tech partner of ClickUp.

What separates you from a ClickUp or Asana or any other PM software?

Guest – Tim

You know, I love ClickUp, Zeb is a phenomenal entrepreneurial. I wish I could have lunch with them. I think that the only reason why we even added ClickUp and Asana is because there are our users who are coming from there.

We were getting a decent amount. And I think the one thing that we realized it was the niche. When we asked every single person, what was the defining factor that is making them go from, you know, the other platform to Indema. And it was just purely that we are nice to interior design and we know interior designers in their process.

And when you look at like the business aspect of things, you can have. You know, the software that can really be, brought in software, like ClickUp that can touch on many, many different industries. The matter of fact is that every industry does things differently on their process. You can’t really accomplish, you know, furniture procurement and the way that designers need to with ClickUp, you can touch base on the generalized project management and even then even for project management, there’s designers to have, a very, very specific process.

That’s a traditional interior design process for that. So I think it was purely that we’re a niche software built from the industry itself. And I think that that’s really where we differentiate ourselves from, you know, the standard platforms, like Monday and ClickUp in the spine and so on.

Host – Bryan

And maybe to go back to the, you know, you mentioned before that maybe people, interior designers themselves are using maybe four to six different platforms, right. Even manuals. Like I think we spoke before that the majority of people are still using manual entry and stuff. So why are in interior designers adopting to this all in one platforms?

Right. Are they just not informed that these exist or, you know, it feels like it solves so much of their issues. Right? You would feel that it’s like one Google search away from realizing their issues. Right. So what, what do you think is the main problem of why they’re not getting that?

Guest – Tim

Yeah. When you look at interior design, like as an industry, it’s actually one of the slowest to adopt a digital technology.

I’ve no idea why it just is it’s, it’s one of those things where I kind of get a sense. Inter design traditionally has always been like, you know, an industry where, when you’re in it, you’re in it until you die. And I think that that’s like those type of people, they really love what they’re doing. And with that in 2021 specifically there was, you know, a lot of baby boomers who are designers and they’re just not, you know, really good with technology.

And even in the industry doing your work and stuff, a lot of it’s just in your head, you know, even as a designer myself, for 13 years, I was all in my head. It was all like, you know, I had my own process, I did my own thing and I was just go, go, go, go, go all the time. But what I think is happening now, more so than ever is these designers are growing and there’s only so much you can hold in your head.

Right? So, they have to either resort to hiring employees to, to help manage all that stuff that’s in their head or they have to be able to adopt a digital, digital technology. But finally we’re seeing a massive adoption of that digitalization across the board, which is why Indema is even more a crucial point in this industry because I feel like we’re getting. Like we started when this, the shift of going into technology really started.

And I think that, that we kind of went into this, like this industry with our technology at such a crucial point during this, this shift of being more into technology than not sure.

Host – Bryan

And it maybe to follow up on that, are you seeing more people that are more our age to adopt to this technology or the older generations? So like what’s the average user base of Indema.

Guest – Tim

You know, it’s so broad. And so one, one thing that I’ll premise this by saying is I’m a very, very unorthodox founder. I’m not in tune to our demographic. I simply don’t care about our demographic. All I care about is just a designer in the industry who can use our platform and be successful with it.

I don’t care where you’re from. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care if you’re black, white, gay. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is, is you’re successful using the platform. So I couldn’t tell you you know, the average age, but I can say based on all of the demos and onboarding, I do, I would say a vast majority are much more seasoned designers who are probably, I would say early forties to maybe mid sixties. So it’s a, even there it’s like kind of a, a jump it’s a, it’s a good. For sure.

Host – Bryan

And are they like kind of wowed at what in Indema offers? And they’re like, why haven’t I decided to update this summer as soon as oh yeah.

Host – Wiola

So, just, adding to that I was wondering, like apart from all of these features that make your business and task management easier, what are like – talking about the features that make the design process easier or simplify the whole process – what actually happens here, why interior designers would like to switch into Indema.

Guest – Tim

So, to answer Brian’s question, it’s overwhelming for sure. It’s a huge platform. But I think that that’s where we Excel on the support side, holding designers hands and making sure that they understand it. And the second part of that, that’s a really good question. I think that it’s helping designers really, really kind of tie in multiple different processes in one area.

If you think about an inter design process, like just in general I’ll just throw something out there.If I’m going to do a new project, right. I’m going to go meet my client. There’s email communications before that, that you have to have, and now with our email automation launching today or tomorrow, it would allow designers to automate that whole onboarding process with their clients.

So they don’t actually have to actively be emailing their client back and forth. And then when you go into a project, there’s the, you know, the initial consultation. You know, measurements and then you go into actually sourcing. And now you’re also talking about sending invoices and estimates. And so throughout this whole process, specifically in India, I’ll give you an example of one of our automations that we have when a designer enters in, information as an estimate, as soon as the client actually approves and signs that estimate it automatically converts that estimate into an invoice and a purchase order.

At the same time, what that does now is saves that designer a whole like hour plus of their time, because now they don’t have to go into in Indema and create an estimate. I’m sorry, in an invoice directly from scratch or a PO from scratch. It’s already there for them. Even more so. Because that invoice is automatically created.

If the designer had connected to our Stripe integration, that client can actually pay that invoice right there, the client then would just have to not worry about, you know, pay that invoice a couple of days later. Then designer would be getting that invoice paid immediately versus having to then send that invoice to the client later and then waiting a couple of days and then pushing the client to pay that invoice.

It kind of like our system allows the client to pay immediately when that invoice is sent. So that way there’s no waiting period and that designer can then continue their process fulfilling that, that furniture, or the design essentially. So just, just the way we do things on automated level, really, really helps designers save time.

I think that’s crucial to why designers would want to use Indema is because with. You know, those systems in place, you know, having to then, you know, send a client, an invoice through one system and then go log into another system to do something else, and then having to wait for that client to pay that invoice.

And when a client does pay the invoice, then that process can start over with the procurement. So it’s just really, kind of cutting out a lot of the fluff that designers do and really just kind of helping them, get everything more streamline.

Host – Wiola

Nice. That’s, that’s a great feature, invoicing is a beach, in general, we all know that..

Guest – Tim

It really is. And it’s designed to, yeah, I mean, with design, the last project I took was in a state and I had 210 pieces of furniture. And I remember one invoice I did was 83 pieces in one invoice. So if I didn’t have any kind of system in place where I could kind of automatically convert an estimate into an invoice, I would have spent like a good another whole hour.

And then on top of that, there’s also issues too, where if you’re doing that there’s a lot of mistakes that can happen because if you’re having to reenter information from like an estimate, if there’s no way to automatically convert that or even just click a button and convert it you could potentially create a huge, you know, financial mistake when it comes to carrying over that information.

Host – Wiola

And, in general, what is your favorite feature? If you could choose one,just one 🙂

Host – Bryan

the Gantt charts. I know you’re a big fan of them 🙂

Guest – Tim

It’s actually not anymore. It was before. Yeah, no, I love a lot. And we’re, we’re about to redesign our Gantt charts to be like something I’ve never seen before. So, and I’ll just spill it out because I think it’s amazing.

And if one of our competitors gets to, at first, that’s cool. Like, hey, more power to you. We want to be able to add furniture items to our Gantt chart. So traditionally again, chart is, you know, you have your tasks that you need to accomplish and they’re, you know, collectively put into a chart. So you understand in relation to other tasks where things need to be.

One crucial point of procurement with inter design is designers have a struggle with understanding when certain pieces are coming into the warehouse in conjunction. Certain parts of a project like demolition or installation of cabinetry. So in order to properly project management, you really need to understand w at what point are items coming in into the warehouse are what point items are estimated to be installed into the space.

And so we’re going to be able to allow designers to add all the furniture and items that they’re sourcing in their project, into the Gantt chart. So that way they’ll know, oh, you know, sofa a is coming, you know, at the very end, the talent of, you know, the demolition, which is great. And if they need to adjust any part of their project management to, to help, you know, certain pieces of furniture in certain places, or maybe they don’t want that sofa to go in that particular point in the project, they can easily just adjust thatcor at least plan for it.

But I would say my current feature that’s my favorite is our email automation. I’m really, really excited for the launch of that. Not even the social media part, it’s not even my favorite. It’s the email automation probably. It it’s, so it’s so easy and it’s so amazing to get that onboarding that client onboarding on an automated level that will really help designers not have to worry about the, you know, the back and forth between their clients, at least in the initial stages.

Host – Bryan

Oh, wait, Tim I think this is a good question first. You know, we, we saw that you were obviously the principal designer at Studio Tumo right. That just ended the summer, right. So 13 years. So what, what was the story? So were you just juggling too many things and, you know, Indema and certain other projects take priority where,, it’s just like I need to focus on other things.

Guest – Tim

You know, I actually started, I would say I’m falling out of love. In my design firm a couple of years ago. When you’re, when you’re in interior design, specifically residential, there’s a lot of emotion. Well, you know, you’re dealing with clients who are homeowners who work really, really hard for their money. Rightfully so. And it gets to a point where you kind of just get sick of hearing the, oh, I want to finish my 4,000 square foot house with only $10,000 or, you know, oh, I want, you know, I only have a budget of a hundred thousand and then they’re changing everything in that budget goes from a hundred thousand to 200,000, but then you’re still the fault for that budget going over.

Yeah. So I think just over time, it just started chiseling away at my morale. And you know, it was just time. Once I saw that in Indema was latching onto something amazing. It really made it easier for me to, to kind of walk away. But I think that that was, that was the biggest deciding factor on switching to technology in the first place.

And being okay with, with that because of how things have been going for the last couple of years with like, you know, getting pretty bad clients and getting that whole emotional aspect of residential design.

Host – Bryan

Yeah. But, you know, that’s very similar to app development, right? Like, so I want the greatest app and I have a budget of $5,000.

Right. So it’s, you know, expectations versus reality, or just create and to go back to the technology part, is that why you required Social Mako? Was it just because, you know, you felt I’m a technologist now and, you know, let me know. Yeah, no, that was really interesting.

Guest – Tim

It was purely because of the users you know, I acquired it for pennies on the dollar required it, I should say for pennies on the dollar.

And I think it was the customer really, I could’ve just let it die a hundred percent. I could have just said, you know, I sold it. It’s not, you know, it’s not my baby anymore. I really want nothing to do with. But what I saw was there was an opportunity when I made it successful the first place.

And now it’s kind of gone down a shithole. I feel some sort of obligation to, to reacquire it and, and build it back up to where it was before I sold it. And it was just one of those unfortunate things where, you know, I sold it and it went to a bad situation and now I have it and I can, I can bring it back up.

But I only did it for the consumer. I didn’t do it for my own self. I didn’t do it because, you know, that was what we were going to use for India, because we’re not actually using Social Mako for in Indema. It’s completely different system. 100%, not even remotely the same. And you know, it really was the consumer.

It was the current users. And not just like throwing the platform away and saying, okay, good luck, you know, go to Hootsuite or buffer. And. I would hate to do that to someone.

Host – Bryan

So it was like protecting a baby. Right. You know, you saw that, you know, it wasn’t maybe in the right place. And, you know, as the daddy, you’re like, you know, I have to make sure that it’s fed and it’s properly cared for because it wasn’t before 🙂

Guest – Tim

Yeah. I mean, I think the other thing too is I was so new to technology. I was really intimidated by the success of it. I was pulling, you know, 50, 60 hours a week in support alone. It got to a point where it’s like, I can’t, you know, I can’t give a hundred percent to this, so that’s why I really sold it was because I needed to give it to someone who, who had, you know, the capability of developing a bit developing even more and you know, having the time for it.

And then, yeah, so I gave it up for adoption and I felt bad at the end of the day. This is, that’s actually the tool for automating the social media stuff. Yeah. So Social Mako was my first technology platform for social media management. And then even from the beginning of Indema, I’ve always wanted to have a social media aspect of Indema because then designers can touch base on their, their social media marketing and stuff.

The reacquisition of Social Mako at the time, I was like, oh, this is perfect. Cause then I could just copy that system. And that will cut down development time, like exponentially and, and my budget. But that’s why we thought you required it because of the social media. It’s yeah. So the question is what’s changed and why it’s changed, why the whole technology behind it changed in short, because there’s a lot of things that are wrong with social media.

Argue, you know, admittedly there’s, you know, there’s still, there’s still growth with it. When, when I sold it before I sold it, I actually told the new owner, I was like, look, you need to really focus on stabilizing the platform. At the time, there is such an influx of users that we were, we were seeing a lot of bugs and a lot of things not working properly.

So I knew that whoever took it over and needed to focus on stabilizing it and they didn’t, they just immediately went into new development of features. When I required it, that was part of the thought pattern was to just introduce Social Mako into Indema and marry the two. But shortly after our client, like literally like maybe a couple of hours after acquiring it and me really digging behind the curtain and understanding.

Really how bad did it get on a development side? That’s what made me change my mind. It was a lot easier for me to go into a different route to do something and build something that I knew was going to work from the get-go for our users versus throwing in an already damaged product. And, you know, getting the backlash from that from our current users from Indema, it just didn’t make any sense.

Cause then I would’ve had to spend a lot more time, a lot more money trying to fix something, you know, for in Indema when, you know, I could just take that time, money and develop something else and, you know, have it work and right out the gate. Then, you know, focus on the current user of Social Mako and just keep that separate as a separate entity.

Host – Wiola

Okay. And so what’s the main lesson you’ve learned since that time..

Guest – Tim

..of the re-acquisition or..

Host – Wiola

Yeah..

Guest – Tim

You know, I think the main lesson I learned was stop trying to make things easier. That’s really what it was. It was, you know I did, acquire it or require it at 50 50 in part that I was going to use it for Indema, but also because I didn’t want it to just die.

You know, I think a bigger part of me just didn’t want it to die and didn’t want to like have the existing users say, oh, well now this platform that we invested in, it was just going to die. And my name was attached to that too. Right when I reacquired it, I sent a really long email to kind of explaining everything, just being transparent about it.

I’m huge on transparency. Like I think everyone should be transparent with everything they do. So I just explained it, you know, I sold it because I couldn’t really have. And, you know, this is what happened and we actually got a ton of emails, like thanking us for taking it back or thanking me for taking it back and kind of regaining trust in that, that we, that we took it back.

It was the weirdest thing. But it was, it was also really like amazing to, to get that support.

Host – Bryan

Cool. Hey, you know, I, I think now we could talk about, more about the technology right behind Indema, right. So what was your main goal and not the goal in building Indema? Did you have a specific tech stack in mind or was it kind of what was convenient for you to build?

Guest – Tim

Right. And, you know, maybe go into a little bit more about the tech behind Indema. It’s a really good question. So ironically the developer who I still use for Indema was actually that same developer for Social Mako and we build Social Mako off of Laravel. And that’s the only reason why it was just because we looked at well, if we created a whole new platform or this whole thing, with a different language, I would have to hire a different company or developer.

I would have to build this relationship that I’ve already built with our current developer. That was what Social Mako from the very beginning. And it was more of a strategic move to, you know, I’ve already built trust with this guy. You know, he already knows how I work as, as a person, as a founder, he knows me personally, he, you know, we, we have many conversations and it was just easier.

It was easier to, to keep that relationship and say, You know, you’re already familiar with how we built Social Mako. You’re already familiar and pretty awesome with PHP at Laurel. Just build it the same way versus going with a more robust type of language where, you know, he would have had to spend a decent amount of time, which of course is money out of my pocket to, to learn a whole different, a whole different language.

And then the other thing too, is when you, when you go into that route of learning a whole different language or using someone else, you have to realize too, that kind of sets back the, the development process. And I think that that’s, that, that, that decision alone is what’s made us be able to get to where we are today in such a short timeframe, because of the fact that, you know, I’ve already built a relationship with the developer and we already knew each other and knew how each other worked.

And it was a lot easier to communicate versus, you know, hiring a different developer who has never known through a hole in a wall.

Host – Wiola

It was two years ago, right?

Guest – Tim

Yes. Social Mako, I think 2016, 2017.

Host – Wiola

And then you set up Indema in 2019, 2020.

Guest – Tim

Yeah. 2020, we started developing probably early, early 20, 20, like right after, right after Social Mako sold switches, April, 2020.

So this was the Social Mako and yeah, that was, that was the karma of the universe selling Social Mako. And do you think that PHP addresses the needs of your growing platform and obviously your, your being a SAS product you want to scale. Yeah. No, of course. And I’ve actually, actually, Brian and I have had this conversation too.

I know that one of the downfalls of Laravel is, is scalability. Right. I feel like when we cross that road, when that happens, you know, we definitely will have to kind of pivot and go to a different language. And whatever that looks like, hell, I’m up for the challenge. Yeah, because, you know, again, when we, when we spoke, you know, I’m just, I’m just speaking from experience and what our client base uses.

Host – Bryan

ClickUp uses Angular, node on the backend. And a lot of our clients also use React. Right. So, you know, obviously these are the new technologies, right. But it seems like this is where the industry’s going. Right. In terms, especially SAS platforms. So, you know, obviously you want to be with the industry.

And, you know, we felt that those, those, those languages allow you to scale. And, you know, and obviously also the can, the developer base is a lot bigger, right. Because there’s a lot of developers learning React, Node, Angular. Right. So finding, you know, really experienced larval or PHP developers, you know, that, that could hinder your growth. Finding the right people.

Guest – Tim

Yeah. And it has, I mean, like, I think. This is gonna sound really, really bad. I think in hindsight, I’ve, I’ve tried to part ways with our current developer, I think twice, two or three times, for sure. At least since I’ve known you.

In hindsight, amazing, amazing guy. If you’re listening, I do love him to death. Like he’s, he’s literally family to me, but I think that’s the that’s the problem is that we’re so close and we, we were so laid back with each other that it causes on the business side and you should never mix business and family.

Like I don’t, I will never ever design for a family member. I’ve I’ve rejected designing for my mom even or denied design for my mom. So. Right. I think that’s the problem though, is because we got so laid back, it got to a point where he would be making decisions, which granted they were, you know, they were decisions that he thought were the best decision possible.

You know, but there were, there were decisions that were made from him that really weren’t necessarily the best. And I think that we really have to separate that family and friend and business component of it. But whenever we went to go to a new developer, what we quickly realized is that that no one knows obviously Indema as good as him.

And so it was causing delays on everything and it was just like, it was one of those things where we eventually had to contact them to be like, Hey, can you kind of help this new developer understand your system? And even though there’s a lot of notations in the backend and, and stuff like that, it’s still a complicated thing where you’re learning.

Like, you know, even though that one developer may know Laravel, it’s kind of. To my understanding, being a non-developer by the way, it’s to my understanding that there’s like different ways people can code. And so kind of learning the code on how, like our developer made the code is different from how the other person would code.

It caused a lot of delays even too. So it was just one of those things where, you know, we really wanted to part ways and I don’t think we will. I don’t, I don’t really want to, but yeah, always challenges on the development side. I think that that’s probably our biggest challenge is the development side, until we can afford you guys, but, you know,

Host – Bryan

Oh, so Tim, that’s actually a really good point because we actually had a potential client come to us because they wanted us to do some documentation for them.

So, and then our CTO, Marcin is like, it’s kind of like reverse engineering because then we have to get into the developer’s head. Why is he thinking why he did that? Right. So all the documentation could be great, but you don’t really know why that developer did that or that. Right. So, you know, it, I completely get where you’re coming from with, with that point.

Host – Wiola

That gets me to the question that I had in mind. What’s your product development philosophy in general, I’m asking about the generall flow, the sprints and releases..

Guest – Tim

So we, we don’t work in sprints at all. Really it’s, like I said, men, like I mentioned before, it was really just laid back.

Like I never, even with Social Mako, I don’t know the development industry. I don’t know, you know, the languages I don’t like, all I know is like HTML and CSS, you know, from high school. You know, I don’t know any of that. So for me, not, not understanding, but also it’s my own fault because I’m not like actually learning really, you know, the proper ways of doing it.

I am now for sure. But I think that from before. A lot of it was here’s, you know, here’s what I need in JIRA tickets and get it done, you know, and then we’ll test it and then we’re released it. A lot of the problems that we’ve had were also because we were pushing a lot of the bug fixes to direct live instead of creating a test environment, pushing those bug fixes to the test environment, retesting them and then pushing them out.

And then there was a lack of, you know, organizational structure and a sense of like, you know, how get lab is set up. And now we have that, thankfully, you know, we have our test server that things are pushed to, you know, our test, branch, and then they’re merged into the master and then we do a do more testing and then it’s merged into, or put into live.

And so I think that, you know, the developmental failure or the development failure really is my lack of being able to, or being really wanting to learn that industry. And, and really leaning heavily on the fact that developers know what they’re doing, right. But if you’re a developer and this is what you do, you create, you know, your environment, which makes you work at your best at your best.

And I think that that’s another reason why we kind of like filling out development side is just because I put that, so much into the hands of other people. Look, I’m not a micromanager either. So like, I’m not the one to say it. Like you have to do it this way. A, B and C X, Y, Z, but I’m quickly realizing too that as India is getting bigger, it has to be that way.

You know, I can be a cool boss and other ways in the business, but you know, on that side of things where there’s so much at stake with, with the code, it has to be more strict.

Host – Bryan

Well from a CEO perspective, I don’t think you’re cool unless you wear a shirt with a hundred different colors, like Zeb 🙂

So the fact that you’re wearing (for the viewers who are just listening, he’s just wearing a black hoodie and a black shirt!). This is as boring as, as it could get 🙂

Guest – Tim

It is so funny. My whole closet it’s pretty much like black and gray, so everything, very earth tone a closet. Yeah. I honestly, no one can compare to Zeb. I still want to know where he gets his shirts and he won’t tell anyone!

Host – Wiola

So I want to know it too. I was just asking Bryan. The best shirts I’ve seen 😉

I’m pretty sure at this point it’s custom made or something because no one knows 🙂 I think also to feel this point, you know, so how do you prioritize certain features over others? Right. So I know when we’ve spoken in the past, right. A lot of new features come from the user base. Right. So they’re like, you know, there’s something you don’t have that I think would be really cool.

And you’re like, let’s go, you know, if I see the business. It still is that way. Yeah, no. Cause at the, at the end of the day, it’s the users, right? Like I think it would be naive for me to be like, yeah, I’m a designer and, you know, have my chin held up high and say, I know exactly what every designer wants is that that’s not realistic.

And so I, you know, every feature that we come out is really from feedback from existing users. And I, I think that that’s another reason which differentiates us, even from our, our competition is the fact that we’re, we’re still such in our infancy stage where we can do that. I can’t even imagine how I’m pretty sure, like we’ll have to do it, you know, in a way of like a voting system.

But we haven’t reached that. And I don’t think we will reach that for about another year where, you know, we’ll have to say, Hey, you know, we can’t do this because the majority of users don’t want it. But yeah, so far it’s been amazing where we’ll get feedback. From a decent amount of people. And I think our, our stance on it, as long as it doesn’t change the functionality of the platform, we’ll do it.

I think that’s a big thing because obviously if it changes the functionality, then we have to worry about other factors that go into it. And then at that point then I’ll go into our roadmap, but yeah, it’s always been like, Hey, you know, what do you want? And if it’s, if it’s small enough and quick enough for us to do it and we’ll just do it, if it’s a little bigger, you know, then we’ll just have to see how, what con what kind of complexity, what kind of issues like we’ve wanted to do for the longest time.

Maybe Brian, you can help with this, but we’ve wanted to do sort of like a DocuSign situation with an Indema. But that doesn’t work really well with Laravel because it’s gotta be asp.net. And that, that causes a lot of issues with, you know, how we can implement that. So, that’s one of the features where we thought it would be easy.

And we really want that, but it’s not, it’s not at all easy for us to do so it’s got to stay on the roadmap and so we can figure out.

Host – Wiola

So I’ve seen this your LinkedIn post and there was some mention about 100 features released. Yeah, that’s pretty impressive, was it only for the last year?

Guest – Tim

I think nine months, roughly. Cause really it last year we, we technically launched our beta. October, 2020. Our first paying designer was April 2nd of this year. Oh, last year, 2021. And so a hundred new features that’s near features, also connected with like features on existing. So like adjustments on existing things to enhance those features, which I still see as a feature, because if we could still do one thing and we’re enhancing it, that’s technically a new feature because it’s something that we didn’t have before.

I went back and I looked at, cause we keep, we keep really amazing notes. Even publicly to our users, like we, we show, we share, I’ll send you a screenshot, but we share everything from every bug fix we do to everything that we’ve released as a new feature to, you know, enhancements or improvements to existing feeds.

We also talk about what we’re working on and what’s the upcoming with statuses to all of our users and anything noteworthy. And so those, those categories we cover on every single update and we do probably one update per month. When I went back and I counted all of the brand new features, we did plus all of the enhancements to existing features.

It was like 105 hundred and six. It was pretty insane. So then why be modest with a hundred? Why don’t you just do like the, I want to be, I don’t want to be exact, I leave it out for people’s imagination. If I say over a hundred, because it could be anywhere from 101 to 199.

Host – Bryan

I think it, you know, in the previous point, I think you were talking about, you made a good point where, you as the CEO, kind of want to be focused on growing the business, right.

Maybe not the technology side, right. You know, is that it, was that an important step for you for like finding the right tech partner is someone who deals with the technology you, while you focus on the business side. And I know you’ve mentioned that, now you need to get a little bit more involved into the technology side, maybe more than you would want.

Right. But, you know, for maybe the future, maybe finding the right partner, is that what you’re looking for? Someone to just take the technology off of your hands?

Guest – Tim

You know, that it’s funny cause I kind of enjoy the technology part to an extent, you know, my current business partner who’s is really on the sidelines.

His name is Justin. He, he takes on a lot of the marketing, which I’m not very good at. Luckily like even until today, all of our marketing is all organic. Like we haven’t spent a penny on any, any actual marketing, which is insane to think about too. In probably the third quarter of this year, we’re we’re going to start utilizing our marketing budget for that.

But yeah, I think. I enjoy it, but I do know that there’s a timeline to that. You know, I can only do so much as a founder. And once I really have, you know, my fingers like fully wrapped around our process for developments, then I can eat. I think I would more easily be able to say, you know, Hey John, or whatever this person’s name is here’s, you know, here’s what we have and have at it.

Versus if I were to do that now, I feel like it could be something that causes an demon to fail. If I don’t have my finger wrapped around it. At least at first, and just handing that over to someone who may not know our industry and be able to tie that into it. Cause I do fully believe that you really need to understand the industry that you’re in, in order to, to be a developer and then industry.

I haven’t had a teach, you know, both our developers, like a lot about our industry and how we do things for them to accurately be able to develop that and the way it needs to. So, I hope that answers the question.

Host – Bryan

Yeah. Yeah. And I think that the, so I think that also goes with followup. So like, what’s, what’s important to you when you’re looking for a tech partner, you know, I know right now maybe you have the one to developers, but maybe when you’re ready to scale and everything.

So what would be some important things that you’re looking for?

Guest – Bryan

Yeah. So one thing that has always stood out to me about our current developer is his passion for the platform, not even being in interior design. You know, we’ve been really, really lucky where he’ll wake up in the dead of the night, if there’s a problem.

And I know I can’t get that with a development house. Like, I’m not going to be able to say like, Hey guys, this is happening. And then someone’s going to jump up out of their bed and be like, yeah, yeah, we got you, Tim. I’m not really expecting that at all. I didn’t expect that with him. But just a pure.

You know, he puts our users first. That’s huge to me. Like he’s got his list of things that he needs to do and prioritizing it. And if there’s like a bug in the system, he’ll drop everything he’s doing to handle that bug because it’s coming directly from a customer at that particular moment. And having someone that just naturally does that is really great.

Like I’d have to teach him that. And he just, he just knew. So I think for me, it’s just the, you know, the sharing that passion that we have for our platform and our product is, is kind of like what we’re looking for. Yeah.

Host – Wiola

So you’re the main inspiration in terms of interior design. Then you have a technical support from your partner. What about the project management?

Guest – Tom

Task management skill kind of me too. Yeah. I mean, ’cause, I’ve been doing it for years. You know, I’ve failed at a lot of interior design projects, even, you know, I’ve lost a lot of money, you know, doing project management in the wrong way. But in the, in the truest sense of project management, we don’t really work with a consultant or anything like that.

So it’s just really, a lot of it comes from listening to existing users in my own use case, of course.

Host – Wiola

Of course. It’s like you said you lost a lot of money, but like for the longer, in the longer run, you’re not losing, you’re actually weaning. You’re learning through these mistakes  and you’re getting to the stage where you are now.

Guest – Tim

Yes. I love making mistakes. It’s a hundred percent. I’m weird too, because like I see people cause I’m also a business adviser outside of Indema and I do that completely free, please. Don’t bombard my email. It’s very specific, but I see it all the time where people just don’t, they don’t like they, they, they base their decisions off of fear and off of risk.

And I’m just not like that. For me, I love, I love the fear of risk and so the bigger, you know, the risk is the more I want to do it. And I think that stems from my childhood too. Cause my stepdad always used to tell me like, no, you’re not going to do that. And I would just do it. And you know, anytime someone told me not to do something, I would just do the complete opposite.

Host – Bryan

Are you sure you don’t have a rebel tattoo on your anywhere or? No, that’s a good idea though.

Host – Wiola

So what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now? Maybe like at the stage of development or brand building or, you know, whatever you think is the biggest challenge in terms of platform developing.

Guest – Tim

That’s a really good question. I would say, I would probably say my biggest challenge right now is the development side, you know, even though, so we just hired our second developer and he’s, he’s actually really amazing too. He’s, he’s a really kind of like done stuff that I don’t necessarily want to do, like in a sense of holding our other developer accountable for certain things.

So that’s really nice thing to have. But when we get to a point, like I told Brian, like, you guys are already hired in my mind, I just need to do a 4g guys. So our biggest challenge really is, is trying to afford a bigger development house where we can really Excel, you know, on, on our platform and, and be able to get bigger, better things in involved in stuff like that.

So you know, eventually we’ll get there. It’s not gonna happen over night for sure. And so I think this really is, is really a good segue because you know, me and you know, me and you have spoken for over a year now. Right. And, you know, you’re kind of in the process of finding capital, right. Venture capital firms and all that.

Host – Bryan

So talk about the process of like maybe your individual, your personal criteria for choosing software, you know, capital firms, like, is there like a specific type are you looking for? For the venture capital firm, maybe he’s at their philosophy, other projects they’ve funded or stuff like that.

Guest – Tim

I’ve kind of played around with the idea of even doing VC because I’ve always had this idea that when a company brings on, a venture capital firm, that it, the company no longer becomes a company of their users. It becomes a company of, you know, getting money in the VCs pocket or paying them off.

And it then goes from creating features that users want to. How can we create features that ultimately will get us additional revenue or stream of revenue to pay back the investor? I never really want to get into, into that. I actually, ironically, I’ve watched a video that Zeb did where he was talking exactly about this and that he really, really aligns with the investors on not necessarily a business level, but also on like a personal, I guess, like personality level.

And I think about to where, where we kind of aligned with that, where I would rather find an investor who also has passion for what we do and sees our success and sees that and understands that our current way of doing things is based off of those, those users that we do. And not necessarily something that we should be doing that ultimately results in, you know, money in the investor’s pocket.

I think that that’s where our mindset is with, with that specific.

Host – Bryan

So, are you finding a lot of like capital firms that like that, or the majority that you’ve spoken to maybe are they all still just money grubbers or are you finding a mix of people who actually care about building rather than just maybe the profit of it all?

Guest – Tim

It’s, it’s kind of like, it’s, it’s really hard to really kind of see that too, at least in initial stages. And I don’t, I haven’t really perfected being able to, to identify it that way just yet. And of course a lot of that is money talk in the beginning. Like, you know, they, there is a money ask money component of this, and I understand that.

I don’t know. I mean, I’m not, I’m not actively like actively in a sense of like sending 200 emails a day or even a week or a month. But you know, it’s one of those things where I’m very picky. I kind of look deeper into the people behind the curtain. I’m looking on their LinkedIn and really looking at what they’re posting online and try and getting a gauge.

I’ll try to get a gauge of like who they are as a person. And then if I feel like, you know, we kind of align that way, then I’ll reach out to the firm. But that’s obviously a lot longer of a process to getting VC funding.

Host – Wiola

What are the plans for the following year, years, for the future?

Guest – Tim

Yeah. This year is a strong focus on performance being able to really grow the user base. So a lot of those, not too many, like major, crazy features coming out. Then at the end of this year, we’re hoping to release a second version of Indema. That’s specific to general construction. And then 2023 will be a focus on releasing a version of Indema for architecture. At the end of 2023, ideally we would want all three of our versions to talk to each other.

Like if a GC and an architect were to have the same clients as a interior designer one or the other can invite each other to their projects and all information between three systems will collectively be together. So that way the client, the interior designer, the general construction or the general contractor and the architect will all be on the same page on every single one of their projects.

And I think that’s where. And they will all be under in-demo. Right. So it’s not like creating something general construction, a different name. It’s all under the, yeah, no umbrella. Yeah. There’s no need to create a subsidiary of it, you know, it’s just a different version with different features, different, you know, different core features that are geared specifically to architecture or, or general construction, even though they’re all in home renovations and home improvement industry.

I think that there’s, of course there are certain things that GCs do that designers don’t do and same with architects, you know? So, having those systems work specifically for them in, in an architecture, they don’t even have a system like Indema. We have a few architects on the platform. There really isn’t like a system like Indema for that industry.

So we’re hoping to, to beat the first, maybe, maybe the second. We’ll see. Why do you think, why do you think that the architects need this is, you know, I honestly think it’s because like interior design architects they’re, they are much older and they’re, they’re very, architects are very like mind to hand not mind to technology.

So a lot of, even the architects that I know they still do their drawings by hand. I think that that’s a really the, the, the reason for it is just because in architecture, the vast majority of them are, you know, older and are very much like mine to hand type of people. And that’s purely why, but again, we’re getting into this, you know, newer generation of architects and interior designers and even GCs coming in that, that want that.

Host – Bryan

For sure. Cool. All right. And that is our interview with Tim CEO of Indema. It’s been a pleasure, Tim. Thank you so much for joining. Maybe any last words for our audience, maybe something we missed.

Guest – Tim

No last words. Just smile and be humble.

Host – Bryan

And that’s our show. Thank you, Tim for joining.

Guest – Tim

Thanks for having me, take care.

Oh, one other thing too. That’s that’s also a crucial thing. Indema can handle any currency in the world. So you could actually be in Sweden and work with a client in the United States in charge of that client, specifically USD, even being in Sweden and you can have any kind of currency that you want in the world.

But yeah, so the 30% off for three months, I use code ‘podcast’.

Host – Bryan

Nice and easy. Awesome. All right guys. Thank you. And that’s our show.

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