From an idea to reality, David Endacott has just launched HOTSPOT in Port Macquarie.
David, tell us a little about your background?
I grew up here in Port. Or, perhaps more accurately, I grew up into a big geek here in Port. I got my first half of a computer when I was twelve – it was worn out and lacked a hard drive. I’ve enjoyed watching as technology has evolved from that clunky desktop computer, to us now having even more power in our smartphones.
You’ve just released an exciting new product into the local market. Tell us a little about HOTSPOT and how it works.
I’ve built HOTSPOT PMQ to let smartphone owners in Port know about everything happening around them. Every sale. Every special. Every event. Everything worth knowing about. If I’m after something for lunch, I can open up HOTSPOT and instantly find a takeaway special at Mike’s Seafood happening right now; or, if I’m bored on a Tuesday night, I can see that there are $1 movies at Network Video.
On top of that, I have built these machines, which I call HOTSPOTs, that you scan with your smartphone when you go into a store. So if I go into Network Video, rent out a movie and scan their HOTSPOT when I leave, after 5 visits I get a free movie. Scanning their HOTSPOT will also make sure I know whenever they have a special on.
How challenging was the process to get the app developed and get it implemented?
At first, I planned on building the app myself, but as HOTSPOT became more complex, that became impossible. I started visiting developers around the place, ranging from freelance developers working out of their bedrooms to large, expensive firms who employed their own secretaries and project managers. I picked a team somewhere in the middle – a small programming group in sydney who were still expensive, but excited about HOTSPOT, and I trusted them immediately. Thankfully, a week after giving the go-ahead, I managed to secure the NAB young entrepreneurs loan – so I could actually afford to pay them!
While the Sydney team went about creating the app, I focused on building the HOTSPOT machines. I didn’t have the money left over for an injection mould, so I had no choice but to make each unit by hand, one at a time. My study quickly resembled a science lab, with chemicals all over the place, plastic moulds on the floor, and diagrams over the walls. It took months, but it was very satisfying at the same time.
What has the feedback been like so far?
For me, the most important indicator is the number of people using the app. HOTSPOT has been available now for just over 2 months, during which it has been tested in a small number of local businesses. Just over 700 people have started using the app in that time. Now, I need to increase that number to about 40 000, which is roughly the number of smartphones in Port Macquarie. That means expanding beyond iPhone to Android and other platforms.
I am grateful beyond measure to my first HOTSPOT businesses. It takes a lot of guts to try something new. They like how affordable and easy-to-use HOTSPOT is. But I also need to create additional HOTSPOT businesses, to look after my user base as it grows and give them more places in Port where they can use their smartphones.
Where can people use HOTSPOT in the local area?
There are some brilliant local businesses using HOTSPOT right now. You will find HOTSPOTs in all the Café Buzz stores, Port Macquarie Day Spa, Baskin Robbins, Skirmish Down Under, Emerald Downs Golf Course, and more. Many of these businesses are offering brilliant rewards to their regular customers as well, from a 30 minute massage at Port Macquarie Day Spa to a Terminator Package worth $180 at Skirmish Down Under. Check the app for the latest specials, events and rewards.