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Where the idea come from?

Where did the idea for Fintrano come from? Iain Row explains all.

One afternoon in November 2022 I was at home, getting the house ready for friends who were coming over that evening. Things were looking pretty shipshape when my daughter yelled from the utility room, "Dad, there's steam coming from the washing machine!" 

And sure enough, there was. A fine jet of water was spraying from a capped-off warm water pipe.

Plugging the leak with one hand, I used the other to ring every plumber in my phone. No joy. So, knowing I would pay through the nose, but seeing no other option, I Googled emergency plumber and prepared to take out a second mortgage to cover the cost.

Reassured that somebody was on their way, I was able to turn the supply off at the stopcock (thanks to my excellent-in-a-crisis daughter who swapped places with me until the water was stopped), mop up the mess, and make plans for that evening.

By this point, I had about 90 minutes until the first guests arrived, and I really needed to get to the shop. So I called back the emergency hotline to ask how far away my plumber was.

"Erm, probably 20-30 minutes away," came the reply, "I know he was on his way 10 minutes ago."

In my mind I had been imagining a high-tech control centre, but at that point I realised that my aquatic salvation was being coordinated by someone with only slightly more information than me. It immediately got me thinking about the software we could build for them if they were Prominent Media customers.

...at that point I realised that my aquatic salvation was being coordinated by someone with only slightly more information than me.

The ideal solution would be a mixture of an app (for the mobile worker) and a full website (for the control room). The app could share the worker's location with the control room and the customer, and the web-based system would let the control room see where everybody was, despatching them to the various jobs. The customer would get real-time updates, and so would be able to plan their movements accordingly.

Eventually, in the Fintrano-less world of 2022, I decided to risk a run to the shops, returning just 5 minutes ahead of the plumber. For his part, he was done in 15 minutes, leaving me extremely relieved, and £350 poorer. I decided to consider that money an investment - the cost of generating a good idea.

Over the coming weeks, I started looking for software that did what I had imagined. What I found was that various solutions existed, in an area known as Field Service Management software. Systems like Simpro did a lot of this and more. I had no interest in competing with them directly; they had billion-dollar valuations and a feature set to match. But I felt that I had discovered a gap in the market.

I decided to consider that money an investment - the cost of generating a good idea.

In Part 2 I'll explain how the idea evolved to become Fintrano. Keep your eyes peeled!

About the author

Iain

Iain is a software developer with over 25 years in the industry. He runs Prominent Media, a software company based in Milton Keynes. Fintrano is his brainchild.