Business admin is not the most sexy aspect of running a company and can be a massive bugbear for smaller businesses; new Devon-based startup Powered Now aims to change all that. With its mobile and tablet app all that paperwork now fits neatly onto smartphones and tablets.

“Smaller trade companies needed help to simplify their paperwork and the arrival of smartphones and tablets had made this more possible than before”


Powered Now is the brainchild of Chris Barling and Ben Dyer. Chris explains: “We first looked at payment solutions for field-based businesses, but as we did more research we found that this wasn’t the biggest problem they faced. Instead, we realised that smaller trade companies (plumbers, builders, joiners, and so on) needed help to simplify their paperwork and that the arrival of smartphones and tablets had made this more possible than before.”

Their mandate is to make life easier for smaller trade companies as Powered Now believes them to be “probably the segment most under-served by the IT industry in the world… We recently did a survey and found just how enthusiastic our customers are. It’s very encouraging and it’s also an indicator of future success.”

powered now

At your fingertips: Admin made easier

The startup had a successful crowdfund campaign last year through Crowdcube where they exceeded their target and co-founder and chairman Chris Barling has some advice for others looking to pitch: “While people investing have different motivations, the most common is the desire to get a good return. So make sure in your pitch that you explain how they can make money (most likely through the exit strategy), ahead of everything about you and your product.”

Growing the business

It may have all started in Devon but Powered Now also has teams in the Isle of Wight and Hungary, with all the challenges that brings they have a pretty neat system of communication and clarity: “We put a lot of emphasis on great systems that work across the company. Everything that’s going on is tracked and publicly available, and we have a weekly telephone get-together as well as individual calls and all hands, face-to-face meeting every couple of months.”

“We recently introduced a multi-user system designed for companies with up to ten or so employees”

Whilst that works well in-house one of the biggest challenges for any startup is getting their name out there “Quite a few tradesmen are already interested in the idea of having a comprehensive mobile administration system but the challenge is to let them know about Powered Now. We use all sort of digital means, but particularly Facebook and Google, as well as working with the conventional press both at national level and in the trade. If TechSPARK readers like the idea we’d love them to tell tradesmen they meet that Powered Now can make their lives easier! And we started in Devon!”

Chris is building on the main product too: “We recently introduced a multi-user system designed for companies with up to ten or so employees, although we are keeping it fairly quiet until it beds in. These bigger guys have even greater issues with paperwork than sole traders so we think we have even more to offer.”

Award winners

Powered Now is gaining traction though – it won the Crowdcube startup of the year award in 2014 and Chris is impressed with the company behind the award: “I’ve got to say that I admire Crowdcube. After all it is the biggest equity  crowd-funding company in the world, and based in Exeter. ” Powered Now also won The Next Web “Best Mobile App” award at the Microsoft Bizspark startup rally, as well as featuring on the Startups 100 list of innovative young businesses in 2013 and ’14.

We’d like to thank Chris for taking the time to talk to us, you can find out more about the company at the PoweredNow website or by following them on Twitter: @powerednow