Tanda captures the attention of the Prime Minister


Image: Tanda team members (from left) Jake Phillpot, Tasmin Trezise, Alex Ghiculescu (interviewed) and Josh Cameron.

3 March 2016

Brisbane digital payroll success story Tanda was featured in The Australian recently after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dropped in on one of its satisfied clients at Mango Hill.

Tanda was launched in 2012 and won the ANZ Made In Brisbane Award for High-Growth Business Start-Up in the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

Since then the business has grown exponentially and offers a fantastic example of local innovation that is scalable.

Tanda is a time and attendance tool that helps reduce payroll administration to under five minutes and allocates rostering with minimal data entry.

Beefy’s Pies Bakery at Mango Hill is now one of more than 1000 businesses to use the online payroll system and Mr Turnbull was quick to grasp the benefits of the cloud-based software service.

When the owner of Beefy’s Pies, Mark Hobbs, explained how the system had saved his backroom staff half a day each week of manually processing timesheets, the high-finance PM calculated out loud.

“You’ve got 1000 sites so that means you’re saving 500 days — that’s a year and a half of someone’s life they could spend doing something more interesting than doing someone’s payroll,’’ he said.

“That’s productivity! I hope you go global and conquer the world, one payroll at a time.’’

Source: Malcolm Turnbull talks meat pies and selfie payroll systems by Natasha Bita 12 February 2016

Digital Brisbane spoke to Tanda Director of Product Alex Ghiculescu about the evolution of the company.

“Tanda started in 2012, when four of us were at QUT and thinking about problems with paper timesheets and payroll administration that the university bar faced,” he said.

“We built an initial prototype that ran in that same bar in late 2012, got our first paying customer in early 2013, and got to work building and promoting Tanda.

“We all graduated that year and moved into a really small office without a sink in Hendra. At the start of 2015 we moved into a much nicer office in Fortitude Valley.

“At last count we've grown to a team of 23, and our system ensures that over 10,000 Australians working in blue-collar industries get paid on time and correctly.”

Q. How did the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister come about?

“It was a pretty big stroke of luck to be honest, but obviously the Federal government is very interested in how innovative products can make business more effective, so I suppose we fit the bill pretty well there. The pie shop we were at – Beefy's in Mango Hill – has been an awesome customer of ours for a few years now. I think they were as excited as we were about the opportunity with the PM. It was pretty cool and a testament to their hard work as much as ours.”

Q. There’s a lot of talk about innovation (nationally and locally) and making it easier to access startup capital and other opportunities. How has the ecosystem changed since you first started the business?

“There's definitely a lot more talk now than there was four years ago. In fact, there is so much going on, I find it hard to keep up! I'm much more interested in just building a really great product for our customers, and doing cool things like the Hackathon, so I'm probably not the best person to ask.”

Q. What is the 2016 Tanda Hackathon?

“At last year's Hackathon, 60 designers and developers came along and built cool stuff against our large open dataset. The winning team built an algorithm that could predict, with 75 per cent accuracy, if someone was likely to take a sickie in the next two weeks. This year we're expecting over 100 people from Brisbane's tech community. We're also launching an open API, so developers will be able to build Tanda add-ons that we'll list and promote on our site. So (we are) definitely expecting an entrepreneurial mix too, while staying true to the awesome tech culture we started last year.”

Q. What advice would you give to up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are looking to launch an idea or start a company? What are some of the learnings you could offer them?

“If you have a great idea and know you can build and sell it, then go for it. There isn't really a silver bullet – starting a startup is really, really hard. If you want to learn more about it, we're hiring 25 people in 2016 – come and be one of them.”

Q. How does Tanda embrace innovation?

“I think it's pretty important to keep thinking of new and better ways to do what you do, otherwise you risk falling behind. For example, right now we're working on an upgrade to how Tanda manages leave applications. The existing system works and there (are) thousands of people using it, but we know it's not the best in the market yet (though it is close). Even when it is the best, we'll still keep thinking of ways to improve it, lest someone else come up with a better way.”

If you’re interested in being part of the 2016 Tanda Hackathon, clear your calendar on the evening of Friday 22 April and Saturday 23 April and order tickets now!

Tanda has received the following awards:

  • Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Award for High-Growth Business Start-up 2014
  • Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneur’s Grant 2013
  • iAwards Hills Queensland Young Innovator of the Year (Cloud) 2015
  • iAwards Hills Australian Young Innovator of the Year (Cloud) 2015
  • Sydney Morning Herald 10 Hot Oz Start-ups to Watch 2014