Chored: The app taking the hard work out of house shares!

Chored: The app taking the hard work out of house shares!
Anyone who has ever been in a house share (I imagine most of us) will know how hard it is to keep calm after spotting the month old dishes that STILL haven't been washed, or trying to chase up bill money from the same person who somehow always manages to have an excuse. Young British entrepreneur Olly Southern has come to the rescue with Chored, the app taking the hard work out of house shares.   chored app logo Hi Olly, and thanks for your time. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and education? I graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Leicester in 2005, and started my career at Yahoo shortly after. I started out as an intern and made my way up to Business Partner to the UK Commercial Director, working predominantly on forecasting trends in advertising. I then went on to work for Telefonica, where my experience in digital and mobile technology, specifically in helping develop key communications apps gave me the inspiration and knowledge to start work on my own development, Chored. How many people make up the Chored team? Right now there are three full-time members of the team, and one part-time. The FTs include my CTO, who is a full stack iOS dev, and our most recent additional - back-end mastermind called Bogdan. As Chored has evolved we realised that living in shared rental can present so much than just one issue for housemates to deal with. With that in mind, we consider ourselves a platform to help across those social misnomers – and so our backend play has become a central point of focus for the project. For those who haven’t heard about it yet, can you explain what Chored is? Chored is an app for house shares. It lets users split and pay bills (including rent and utilities) directly to the company via the app. As the name suggests, Chored also allows housemates to assign and track household chores. In addition, the app includes group chat and a "who's home" feature which uses geolocation so you can see who's in and who's not. It’s helpful if you forget to push the button on your load of washing – just simply access the app, see who’s home and ask them to push the button for you! chores What was it that inspired you to create Chored? Like most students, I lived in a shared house during university. For the most part, it was a lot of fun but we did have some arguments such as who had left out week-old dirty dishes (usually me). When I moved into a shared property after university, I noticed that arguments over chores and bills worsened. The thing that struck me was the imbalanced ‘responsibility quota’ – one person was always left to manage all the bills and left to chase people for owed money (this was me, if you hadn’t guessed!). I realised that the relationship between housemates and the way it was managed, was very dysfunctional, and I started thinking about different ways to solve this. The first lightbulb moment I had was to create a living and cleaning rota in an app format – as a lot of arguments were over minor or trivial chores and cleaning issues. I then thought of integrating a payment platform, so there would be no more disagreements over payments not being made on time, or people being owed money from housemates. ‎The idea of Chored was born! pay your bills Apart from organising household chores, what else does the app offer? Of course I’ve touched on this above – Chored is a lot more than just a digital scheduler for chore-shy housemates (although that alone would have helped immensely when I was at Uni!). It is often commented in the tech scene that you should concentrate on one thing – do that thing better than everyone else and you will lead the pack. Following that logic, if you look at the individual functions that Chored covers, it’s an easy argument to counter our development decisions with, but it is also a poorly considered one. Of course we offer easy bill splitting, chore management, built in messaging for housemates etc. But our vision was not to create a bill splitting app, or the wonderlist for flatmates – we wanted to make something to take the headaches out of house shares. Any one of these features on their own would fall far short of that, and essentially offer our users a poor solution. whoshome For you, what was the most annoying part of living in a house share? Over the years I’ve been both the one nagging and the one being nagged, so it really depends on the time period in question! But as I got older, and for reasons that still escape me I became the guy chasing everyone for their monthly bill contributions. The faff of never ending emails spanning weeks of pointless back and fourth chasing down that final £30...absolute nightmare! And in the end, if a red bill comes in the housemates that paid their shares come to you for answers! For me, living together amicably means that everyone has a share of the responsibility – that everyone feels as though they are contributing to the things that no one really wants to do. At it’s core, that’s what Chored is all about, and what it enables for our users. What has been the most difficult part of creating your own start-up? Maintaining belief in yourself, your team and your product in the face of what are monuments odds against you has been by far the toughest challenge I’ve faced, on a personal level. 99% of startups fail in their first year, so scepticism is rife, and that’s’ particularly true amongst investors and VCs. On that point, do not underestimate how difficult raising money is. This is especially true of the first investment – no one likes to be the first to make that leap of faith. But in this game 19 “no’s” and 1 “yes” can be what it takes. But if you believe in yourself, and your vision, then the advice is simple. Just keep going. What are you plans for the future of Chored? World domination. Mwahhaha!!! But seriously… I truly believe in my company, and the market we serve. House prices aren’t going any direction but one, and the recent trend toward more people sharing houses or flats isn’t going to dissipate. Right now, we have a fantastic front end product live on two platforms that our users love – whether it’s chore rotation or bill payments, and a huge part of our 2016 strategy is simply to bring the experience to a wider audience. We hit a £0.42 CPA on a couple of social campaigns, which is encouraging, so we know that we can get considerable bang for our marketing buck. Of course scale is nothing if no one wants your product, so we are constantly looking at ways to improve our user’s experience. We’ve got a few ideas on how we can evolve the app which are in development at the moment. I’d love for Chored to be front and centre in the house share market, with me alongside it. Thanks Olly and good luck for the future. Don't forget there's 10% off the first bill you pay through Chored!