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EaseeDo is an app to support and improve the daily lives of children and adults on the autistic spectrum. We spoke to Trevor Nicholls about what inspired him to start the business.
What is your background?
After studying engineering followed by several years of contracting and self-employment in the area of database design and management, I embarked upon a career change into aviation, ultimately becoming an airline pilot. Alongside this, our family grew, after our first child arrived Catherine (my wife and co-owner of EaseeDo) who worked in training and development became a full-time mother. Today we have three teenage girls and various challenges we have faced with Autism Spectrum Conditions, have meant that Catherine has re-qualified as a bookkeeper to work around caring for our children.
What inspired you to start this business?
I’ve always been a problem solver, and solution focused ideas person, and this reflected in the work roles I’ve had. This approach to life applies equally to my home life and to many of the practical challenges faced when living with Autism in the family. Some of my ideas for some of these challenges were not available at the time, and I saw an opportunity to create a solution, not just for ourselves, but for the many others in similar situations.
What kind of problem you are solving?
‘Executive Functioning’ and recognising and managing anxiety and other emotions are often difficult for individuals on the Autistic Spectrum. We have created a software tool that supports both. The issues tackled by EaseeDo, although common in Autistic people are not limited to that group. Many other groups, such as dyslexia, ADHD and dementia can be affected by the same issues.
Is your product unique?
Our software has been years in the making. At the time of starting, we could find no other software that aimed to provide a similar solution or tackle the same issues. Today we are aware of two products that address the problem and one of which we only became aware of in the last month. There are several key features of our product that are unique to our software, and we believe give EaseeDo a competitive edge.
Who is your biggest competition?
Two competitors have emerged in the time our software has been in development. The first ‘Brain-in-Hand’ is a UK based company. Their software aims to support the same issues as ours; however, there are many differences in the way they approach the problem, and we have a very different price point planned.
The second is a product called ‘Routine Factory’, software from the Netherlands that is more similar to our software, although we still maintain some unique features and approach. This competitor appears to have little traction and mostly in the Netherlands.
What are your biggest challenges?
Our primary challenge now is to grow rapidly enough to roll out our software at a pace that both protects our unique features and ensures we remain competitive with know or unknown competitors.
How do you plan to grow the business?
Once we are happy with the stability of the software and out of beta, our first plan for growth is to make the software available in the US; currently we have restricted signups to customers in the UK.
The prototype app has been developed for the ‘Android’ platform, another plan for growth is to port the app to iOS platform.
What milestones have you met?
Out prototype software (Beta release) is now available for public use.
How are you going to get the word out?
We aim to use social media by maintaining a blog on our website and using it to make regular posts on selected social media channels. The content will be relevant to our various target customer demographics, and there is a growing social media community around the issues faced by these groups. On a local level, we have had some media coverage in the local press (TV, radio and paper). This has created very positive local interest. We plan to maintain connections with the local BBC and ITV offices, and once we have more traction locally, we would like to approach the national media offices. We are now in the early stages of communication with organisations/charity that support our potential customers. We will be offering free training to these groups on how to use and setup EaseeDo. They can then assist their members to get up and running with our software and see more benefit more quickly. There are many publications aimed directly towards our target markets, and we plan to approach these to request a feature, possibly from the 'parents create an app to help their children' storyline, similar to the story in local media that received excellent feedback. To increase our brand awareness, we plan to attend trade shows. Initially, we have identified the Autism show, Alzheimer show & Times Educational Supplement’s SEN show as prime opportunities.
What help do you need?
At our current stage, we are looking to connect with individuals or organisations that can offer help and support in the form of advice and connections. One of the critical areas we need advice and knowledge is in clinically trialling our software to give weight to benefits of using EaseeDo. We also would like to introduce ourselves to parties that would be interested in a potential seed funding round in the near future.
EaseeDo will be pitching at our Angel Pitch event sponsored by Barclays Eagle Labs on Tuesday 13th November at 6pm at the Digital Greenhouse. To attend, please register here.