How a coding bootcamp led to a successful Sydney startup
Connecting as aspiring entrepreneurs in their coding bootcamp classroom, the three founders of rapid-growth Australian SaaS company Canyou hit on a winning formula.
Contribution by Frank Iannelli, co-founder of Canyou
Joining a coding bootcamp can be exciting and daunting. Especially when it’s an intensive program. But it can be a great way to dip into the industry and develop skills in software development in a focused and structured way.
I got a solid foundation during a Diploma course at Coder Academy (and later went on to a computer science degree at Charles Sturt University). But, most importantly, during that bootcamp I was lucky enough to make friends with James Apple and Joseph Park.
Now, several years later, together we’re the co-founders of a successful software startup – Canyou. Here’s some insight into how that journey progressed:
Working as a software engineer
Recognising a business challenge
As software engineers we’re always looking for tech solutions to problems when they present themselves. I come from an entrepreneurial family, and while I was working as a product manager with my brother at one of his businesses, I came across a bottleneck in repetitive staff paperwork. A lot of effort was going into employee onboarding and maintaining licences and accreditations. Immediately I saw that software should be able to assist with solving this issue, and ultimately save time, energy and money.
Identifying a gap in the market
Initially I assumed that there’d be an existing platform to handle this common business challenge. But when I started looking, I found that while there are solid platforms out there to handle tasks like employee onboarding or licence management, there wasn’t anything that was flexible, affordable and tailored to the Australian market.
Coming up with a solution
The solution was to develop a way to handle those tasks using automated workflows, including flexibility to, for example, create custom forms and use e-signatures.
By this time I’d got back in contact with James and Joseph, and after talking it through, it became clear that this was a product that could help all kinds of businesses, from construction to bookkeeping.
We were excited about creating an Australian company to solve this problem and decided to launch into serious product development. That’s how Canyou was born.
Securing funding for MVP
These days there are some great funding opportunities out there for startups. And having that income can really help with being able to focus on the project and invest in infrastructure. We secured an MVP grant from the NSW Government early on, and it made a big difference in our financial footing.
Feedback from our customers has been a crucial part of our process towards making sure that Canyou is robust, intuitive and does what is needed. It’s been amazing to see how supportive of the company and committed to an ongoing relationship our customers are – which I think is a testament to genuinely engaging in testing and conversation.
Tips for Australian software entrepreneurs
If you have an idea for a software product, get out there and have a go. Use the agile approach, get an MVP happening. And as much as you can, network and make connections – you never know who you’ll make contact with and how you might end up working together down the track.
If you’re earlier in your journey, definitely look into coding bootcamps as a great way to get your foot on the ladder and start building skills.
Frank Iannelli is the co-founder of Canyou, an Australian software company providing flexible online workflows to help bookkeepers, administrators and business owners free themselves from employee paperwork chaos.
John Wilson is a branding and website design expert. He boasts over 10 years of digital marketing experience. He loves to share his expertise and insights on all things digital marketing by keeping this blog up to date.