England Interviews London

London Startup: Flobot – A New Spin On Workflow Management

There are a ton of different workflow management tools out there. A ton. However, most of these are pretty vanilla, as far as features. We had a chance to speak with one company, Fresh Milk Software, who has added an important feature into the mix. In the company’s newest product, Flobot, a payment feature is added to the workflow platform. We asked the team a few questions about their company, and Flobot:


What does Fresh Milk Software do?

Our product is called Flobot and it’s a payment, scheduling and work-flow management tool. In the cloud, of course! Don’t ask why the company is called Fresh Milk Software.

Who is Flobot for?

Initially small field service companies for example plumbing, electrical and property maintenance businesses. Usually with at least one person in the office scheduling mobile engineers. Although, we have a pilot with a 300 user company.

Why did you build Flobot? What problem does it solve?

We ran a property maintenance company and we were tired of chasing for payment for work – usually for relatively small amounts of money for say a boiler repair. Even when you did a good job we seemed to be forever getting the runabout and in the end up you kind of end up falling out with the customer over the bill because the payment has taken so long. And we couldn’t find an elegant solution for getting small payments quickly. So we built one ourselves and it drastically improved our cash-flow and left us time to do other things.

What makes Flobot different from what is already available?

We make it simple to get paid by the client, to reconcile that payment with the customer and tag that payment to the correct contractor. So, when the payroll comes at the end of the month, you already know how much to pay everyone and how much money you’ve made – or lost!

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

Well we knew we had a pretty unique system because our customers and contractors kept telling us. But I guess the “ah ha” moment came when a big competitor in the property maintenance approached us about purchasing the software – and we foolishly said no at the time! But it got us to thinking that this might really be something worth exploring because they had had a good look at the what was on the market before coming to see us and I don’t think they really wanted to.

Tell us about the founders and their backgrounds.

Simon Barney (my brother) comes from a technical background previously involved in building and developing IT and scheduling projects in the corporate world.

I’ve always been technology to some degree, creating websites and back-ends back in the day and selling Saas solutions B2B. But we both spent 7 years in the field service industry, mixing it with tradespeople from all corners of the world. And we know how tough it is but also how technology can be a real enabler for small businesses to compete against the big guys in the industry.

Our head of R & D is Adrian Portsmouth who has worked on some really high-profile ecommerce websites for some celebs and has a background in IT security, payment gateways and ecommerce technology.

What’s next? What do your short-term goals look like?

We are working on expanding the integration of Flobot with partners in the next 3 months and we have a new add-on module for the Flobot app to make it a standalone product aimed at the single user, one-man trader. And we have several customers to look after now and hopefully a lot more to come!