Connecting communities across the globe

Interview with Charles Connell and Colin Goudie – Founders, Social Pinpoint

Charles Connell and Colin Goudie are the founders of Social Pinpoint, a SAAS (software as a service) startup. When they first began, Charles and Colin had no idea about community engagement, but a lost contract led them to see an opportunity in the social mapping space. Social Pinpoint is now revolutionising the way organisations and governments engage with their communities and stakeholders. This first of its kind software now helps communities all over the world.

Your innovation

Social Pinpoint is an online community engagement software and interactive mapping tool. It helps organisations and governments connect to their communities and stakeholders and provides live reports and analytics with instant quality feedback. Social Pinpoint is now been used on hundreds of projects across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA and is the only platform of its kind globally. It’s exciting because we improve the process of community engagement which ultimately leads to better community outcomes for everyone. We also love working on projects all over the world!

Your story

We come from a tech background, having both previously worked in engineering and computer science [Charles migrated from Canada in 2000, whereas Colin is a local]. We’ve been working together since 2002 when we met working in mining technology and systems integration. In 2013 we were running our own businesses writing software and exploring the idea of developing a ‘software as a service’ startup. A local council approached us to do a custom built interactive mapping solution for a strategic planning project. We over-quoted and didn’t win the job, but we watched closely as the company who won the project developed the software. It was then that we saw our gap in the market!

Your business and team

Our business is still emerging and in growth mode. So far we’ve doubled our revenue every year for the last 3 years and are seeing strong growth in international markets. There are currently around 20,000 users on our platform per month and increasing all the time. We are currently 9 people in Newcastle and are about to employ our first resource in America. Our team is a mix of software development, sales/marketing/lead generation and customer success.

Innovation support

We went through the Slingshot startup accelerator program. It was really valuable to our business and we would highly recommend it. We bootstrapped the business and incredibly had sales revenue from our very first day.

We also try to stay involved in the startup ecosystem locally. Quite often you will find us discussing challenges and successes with other local founders over a beer or two. Newcastle has a history for producing innovation; one massive change is there is now more awareness of what everyone is up to!

Why Newcastle

Because this is where we want to live! It’s great being so close to beaches, lakes, and great entertainment. We can also access great resources and support. Being online and thinking globally is the right type of business for a smaller city. The local community of innovators is collaborative because everyone knows everyone so it’s easier to get things done. We also have a great local airport.

Your biggest challenges

Growth is always the biggest challenge. Ensure that you have a clear and achievable plan. Hard work and having a continuous drive for learning will also put you in good stead for growth. A bit of calculated risk taking doesn’t go astray either! Talking to you customers is also very important. Ask for advice early and often. Make sure that your customers like your idea and see the value in paying for it. Not all great ideas make great businesses. And finally, hire great people that you enjoy working with.
Have fun, otherwise what’s the point!?

The future

We were fortunate to have been acquired last year so we are currently in an earn out period to a full exit. All things likely, we will continue to be involved beyond any contractual deadline but we plan to do it all over again as well – bigger and better! We are currently looking at a few options for another software as a service startup… more to come!

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