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May 25, 2014 | by  | in Features |
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Glassjar

Back in the day, every flat would have a bench-top glass jar that everyone put money into and that all of the expenses were paid from. Nowadays, however, flats are far more savvy and have replaced the bench-top glass jar with internet banking and automatic payments.

This is awesome for banks, but sucks for the poor flatmate now left to manage the flat account and to constantly stress about the state of the flat’s finances and whether rent will be paid that week. It also sucks for the rest of the flat who no longer have any idea what’s happening with their money or any visibility as to when/where it’s being spent.

These are the exact problems Duncan and I faced when we flatted together a few years back. Whether it was one of our flatmates deciding not to pay rent for six weeks, another using the flat card to rent a car for two weeks, or another who bought a keg on it (granted, that turned out pretty awesome), we eventually snapped and wanted a better way of doing things. So together we decided to bring back the glass jar, and after a decent spell of planning, we designed and built a simple-to-use software programme that we called Glassjar.

This initial software took control of our flat account, interpreted the transactions, and showed a ledger of exactly which flatmates owed what to, or was owed what from, our central flat account. It allowed us to confirm everyone’s contributions, to start noticing when people didn’t pay rent or used the flat card for their own purchases. All of our flatmates could log on and see the state of the accounts, which gave great transparency; it was brilliant. So, we kept working on it.

Glassjar is now in use by hundreds of flats throughout New Zealand and around the world. Anyone can sign up and create a profile of their flat for free. After that, simply sit back and let Glassjar take control of your flat’s finances.

https://glassjar.co.nz/

Back in the day every flat would have a bench top glass jar that everyone put money into and that all of the expenses were paid from. Nowadays, however, flats are far more savvy and have replaced the bench-top glass jar with internet banking and automatic payments. This is awesome for banks but sucks for the poor flatmate now left to manage the flat account and to constantly stress about the state of the flat’s finances and whether rent will be paid that week. It also sucks for the rest of the flat who no longer have any idea whats happening with their money or any visibility as to when/where it’s being spent.

These are the exact problems Duncan and I faced when we flatted together a few years back. Whether it was one of our flatmates deciding not to pay rent for 6 weeks, another using the flat card to rent a car for 2 weeks, or another who bought a keg on it (granted that turned out pretty awesome), we eventually snapped and wanted a better way of doing things. So together we decided to bring back the glass jar and after a decent spell of planning, we designed, and built, a simple to use software programme that we called Glassjar.

This initial software took control of our flat account, interpreted the transactions and showed a ledger of exactly which flatmates owed what to, or was owed what from, our central flat account. It allowed us to confirm everyone’s contributions, to start noticing when people didn’t pay rent or used the flat card for their own purchases. All of our flatmates could log on and see the state of the accounts which gave great transparency, it was brilliant. So, we kept working on it.

At the start of last year we decided to commercialise the concept and entered it into the entre competition at the University of Canterbury. Glassjar ended up winning the prizes for ‘The Most Market Ready Venture’ and ‘The Best Pitch’ which we saw as further validation of the concept’s potential. So we invested the prize money in further software development and covering expenses incurred whilst running the business. Thus allowing us to continue onward.

Duncan and I brought on another developer Matt and then committed to working on the venture full time over the 2013/24 summer. This summer was a period of solid progress for us. We started working really well as a team, released our Beta site, began getting users and, most importantly, got accepted into the Lightning Lab.

The Lightning Lab is a combination seed investment fund and intensive startup accelerator programme that is based on the US Tech Stars model. The Lightning Lab puts world-class mentoring into teams of New Zealand tech startup entrepreneurs and pushes them to make their business idea fly within three months. The three of us moved up to Wellington at the end of February to partake in the programme.

Since being up in Wellington we have loved every moment! The Lightning Lab has been an incredible ecosystem for us and the other startups to be part of. Since being in the lab our team has expanded to include Vic graduate Sebastian Petravich who leads our design and Matthew (Baz) Barrowclough who heads our sales and marketing.

Glassjar is now in use by hundreds of flats throughout New Zealand and around the world. Anyone can sign up and create a profile of their flat for free. After that, simply sit back and let Glassjar take control of your flats finances.

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