Meet Michael Dowling, founder of Syndy! After spending 12 years working in real estate in Sydney, he noticed fewer and fewer people in his city could afford purchasing a property. That’s how his idea was born – he noticed a need, and he came up with a solution.
He sat on it for quite a while, thinking and researching, making sure that it was as solid as it could be. When he realised the roadblocks he envisioned were actually speed bumps he could prepare for, he finally decided to pull the trigger and become a tech entrepreneur.
Here’s what he shared about his idea, the journey to established startup and what it’s like to set out to build something big:
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been a Real Estate agent in Sydney for 12 years now. I started my own Real Estate business when I was 26 and I sold it 5 years later to the McGrath estate agents. I’ve been working with them ever since. I’ve always had a passion for property and buying and selling. And I’m also very competitive due to my sporting background. I’ve always had a passion for creating something that’s different and unique; in this case something that can genuinely solve the problem of housing affordability in some cases.
How did your journey as an app entrepreneur start?
After years of helping buyers purchase property, Sydney’s prices have grown to a level where quite a lot of people are struggling to save a deposit to get into the market. I kept thinking that there had to be a way people can still experience the actual purchasing process rather than just fractional property investments – which is very much like investing in shares. I sat on it for about two years and thought it through, particularly just researching a lot of the big issues I could see arise. Throughout that journey, nothing appeared to be a ‘road block’, rather just a ‘speed hump’. So I decided it was worth giving it a crack and here we are!
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your entrepreneurial journey so far? How did you overcome it?
There’s been a few challenges so far, but the major one with my app and the platform it offers has been in the legalities and creating an airtight terms and conditions document. In order to do this, I spoke to quite a lot of solicitors. The one that Hyper referred to me was Lawsquared. They are a lot more new age in their thinking and problem solving so that really helped! Apart from that, more than anything else it’s been finding the time to work on the app in between work and family life – that has been challenging too.
“I most like the challenge of making a good idea turn into something real. Seeing the app itself go from an idea to something tangible as well as the logo and colour design has been the first step in it becoming real. Overcoming the challenges along the way has been great too!”
Michael Dowling, founder of Syndy
What did you learn while working with Hyper on your prototype?
I learnt the detail that goes into each step of the process and that the coordination of all roles is crucial. Taking things one step at a time is also very important, I think I was a little too keen on the odd occasion and had to be patient quite a bit. It was very comforting and encouraging to know Hyper and all the staff were supporting the idea. And really showed, because they were sharing their thoughts along the way and were not just focused on production.
Where are you now in your journey and where do you see yourself and your business in a few years?
Right now we’ve just finalised the prototype and landing page. I’ve just started a marketing plan to gain subscribers who would like to download the app once it’s finalised. I’m also meeting with a few friends and business associates to gain the required funding to get the app finalised and out to everyone.
With your experience as an entrepreneur, what is the one insight you’d give someone who has an app idea but hasn’t taken any steps towards it yet?
Don’t be nervous about giving it a go! Personally, I think that two years was a bit long to sit on an idea but time constraints, uncertainty and finding info made things slow. Hyper was a pretty big key, as they made things time effective, but also very cost effective in regards to the prototype process. I hadn’t known initially that I could create a prototype, then seek funding to finalise the app. If I’d known 2 years ago it would’ve stopped me from worrying about time or costs.