My Startup: Autto
Autto is barely three years old, but has big goals. It hopes to use automation to change how work works across a wide range of industries - cutting the time wasted on repetitive admin tasks.
Taken together, the automation processes boost efficiency, consistency and job satisfaction among employees. They promise ease-of-use and flexibility, so business owners of all size can benefit.
Founders: Ian Gosling, Krisztián Kerék and Max Cole
We talked to Ian to learn all about Autto.
Why did you start Autto?
The idea for Autto stemmed from a previous startup I ran with my co-founder Max Cole. We had created a platform that allowed people to write their own will online. While feedback on the product was great, it was clear that there was an appetite for a product that went beyond wills and simplified the creation of other documents and processes.
It was then that the idea for Autto was born - a vague concept at this stage, but we really wanted a solution that harnessed the power of automation. We could see the effects that automation, even in its infancy, was having on large-scale enterprises, and wanted to apply the same game-changing benefits to smaller businesses.
Tell us more about the tech behind the product?
Although the technology underpinning our platform is complex, the beauty of our solution is in its inherent simplicity to the end-user. We've created Autto as a SaaS platform - which means it's securely accessed online, rather than the user having to install any software. By providing the platform in this way, we keep costs low for the end user and make it accessible from any browser or device, increasing the flexibility that the solution provides.
When users begin to use our software what they start with is a series of lego-like building blocks we call actions, which can be dragged and linked together to create an automated workflow. This can be anything from a simple working-from-home request to a complex legal agreement.
When the workflow is ready to be used, the user simply ‘publishes’ it, making it accessible to anyone else with a link to the workflow. Users are up and running quickly, with many publishing their first automation within an hour of first using Autto.
Where are you at right now?
After 18 months of testing and development, Autto has just launched commercially to the market - targeted initially at businesses in the legal, legal-ish (heavily regulated sectors), and professional services. It is a big step for us, but an exciting one, as we aim to make automation within the workplace the new norm.
Our launch also coincided with a move to new offices. We're now based at the recently opened WeWork Labs - an incubator for innovative start-ups. Being surrounded by like-minded companies at a similar stage to us provides us with access to all sorts of advice, resources and a support network.
What are your aims for the next year?
The positive feedback we have had from our customers so far has been overwhelming, and we're keen to continue to evolve the platform to add new functionality that helps meet customers’ needs.
In addition, we want to grow our customer base, expanding into new sectors and geographies. With that comes a need to educate the wider market about automation and how it can benefit small to medium-sized businesses, not just big enterprises. Future funding rounds will help with this - something we've already benefited from, having secured prestigious grants from the EU and Innovate UK, as well as raising funds from an early seed investment round from experienced angel investors.
What's been the hardest thing about getting Autto off the ground?
As with starting any business, there have been a number of challenges in getting Autto kick-started. Securing the right talent to build the platform was an initial headache. Undoubtedly, though, the biggest hurdle was getting people’s heads around the concept of an automation platform.
Automation is something we've all heard of, but almost no-one has seen it as it’s generally been confined to the technology departments of big business. Once people get to try Autto they grasp it very quickly. From building their first automation, they have a kind of ‘lightbulb moment’ and they begin to see all the other things they could automate.
Why should more people be using Autto?
With businesses under increasing pressure to do more with less, it is simply a waste to have smart people doing ‘dumb’ things. Automation has emerged as a viable solution; however, for most, the cost, scale and complexity of existing solutions have been a barrier to adoption. Autto changes this, delivering simple automation, in a cost-effective solution.
Autto’s platform has the potential to revolutionise working practices. It improves productivity by automating the daily and repetitive processes that waste up to a third of skilled employees’ time within organisations today. By automating the dull, Autto is freeing up skilled staff to focus their efforts on delivering real value.
How much will it cost users, and why is it worth the investment?
Autto is available for free on a limited plan - enabling users to create one published workflow, and unlimited draft workflows. This really helps our customers get a feel for the product in a risk-free environment. From there, pricing begins at £185 +VAT per month, with discounts available for annual packages.
Having a platform like Autto means that businesses can adopt automation step by step. It is a tool that delivers constant, incremental change and benefits to any organisation that uses it. Until now, automation has been a risky investment. It's been expensive, requiring dedicated software to run, and can be cumbersome to adopt.
Autto’s office automation offers a low-risk route to implementing automation in the workplace, has no upfront cost or software to install. Through building their own unique workflows, businesses of all sizes can experience the benefits of automation - saving time and money and allowing staff to focus on more valuable work.
Quite simply, an investment in automation is fast becoming essential for every business.