In a revival of the Natter’s day in the life of series, I catch up with Rajeev Nayyar, managing director of software firm Fixflo.
If you work in agency, after you’ve made your morning cup of tea or coffee, you’re likely to start your day by turning on a computer and logging into your software systems.
This week I look at the day in the life of one of the people behind those systems. Rajeev Nayyar, the managing director of Fixflo, fills us in on what his typical day involves.
Here at Angels Media, we launched the Fixflo product to the UK lettings industry in 2013 and have been following and supporting Fixflo’s growth ever since.
A recovered property lawyer, Raj developed the idea for Fixflo while living as a tenant in New Zealand (having relocated to watch the Rugby World Cup in 2011) and renting out property in England.
From the personal pain of mouldy clothes caused by a leaky roof and disrupted sleep from tenants back in England calling to find out how to reset a fuse box, Fixflo was born and its repairs and maintenance software system is now used in more than a million properties across 10 countries.
In addition, more than 3,000 property professionals a month download one of Fixflo’s helpful free guides on regulation and industry trends.
Take it away, Raj…
The best and the worst thing about running a startup is that no two days are the same. That said, with two kids under five, I try to structure my days consistently so that my lack of routine doesn’t impact too heavily on my family.
I wake up at 6am every day and clear any emails that have come in overnight. We now have clients and ecosystem partners across 14 time zones so there’s always a little bit of a catch-up to be done if only to know how deals and partnerships have progressed overnight.
I do the school run three days a week but as it’s a Monday I get on my bike and cycle up to a gym near work.
After sweating more than ought to have been necessary for that amount of exercise, I get into the office for 8am.
I’m really lucky to sit next to Katie who is our in-house lawyer. Having worked together on and off for over 10 years, any pleasantries are immediately dispensed with and I’m roundly castigated for the state of my desk.
I tidy up while Katie updates me on a new partnership we’re launching with an IoT provider so that smart sensors in newly-built blocks of flats can automatically trigger a report into Fixflo to notify the right emergency contractor if there is a water leak out of hours.
From 9am to 10am I have back-to-back 15-minute standups with each team leader to reflect on their past week, what they’re looking to achieve this week and any potential barriers to them or their team.
I then head off to meet a client who has expanded into the block management sector by acquiring an established business. They’re keen to learn more about how they can consolidate and scale their processes and have some really interesting ideas about how property management across disciplines is going to consolidate around relationship management.
I’m back in the office for the ‘all hands’ weekly meeting at 1pm. Inspired by Peter Knight’s approach in the Property Academy, each team briefly presents on what worked well over the last week, what could have been ‘even better if’ and anything that puzzled them. It’s a short and punchy meeting with a strict three-minute limit per team before we open up the floor to questions and debate.
The meeting ends with a spin of the ‘wheel’ (see below). Through our HR system everyone can thank other colleagues for going above and beyond their role. Unsurprisingly, and justifiably, the unfailingly helpful Jess wins and collects an Amazon voucher.
I head off for lunch with my business better half Duncan. He’s a seasoned technologist and was CTO of Friends Reunited, a social network which may bring back fond memories for some of you.
We head to Dragon Castle, the best dim sum in South London and a two-minute stroll from the office. I’m out of the office for two or three days a week so Mondays are a great opportunity to make sure we’re aligned and to catch-up generally.
We first met each other online on the equivalent of a startup founder matchmaking site and - having worked together as Fixflo has scaled from just the two of us in a basement to now being almost 40 people in our own office - we’ve become close friends.
The afternoon passes in a blur of calls with clients and software partners, just the way I like it. Having started in the residential lettings sector we now support people managing everything from Build to Rent developments and common parts of blocks of flats through to petrol stations, industrial estates, private boarding schools, student accommodation and farms.
I leave the office at 6.30pm and get home to the end of bath-time, which largely consists of trying, unsuccessfully, to persuade the littlest one to not drink the bathwater.
Having finally settled the kids to sleep, my partner and I have dinner together.
We’re into cheesy American comedies and settle in to watch the next episode of How I Met Your Mother. Blessed and cursed with a relatively short attention span, I get distracted and start planning for and thinking about my day ahead.
It’ll be an early start as I’m due to fly up to Edinburgh to meet with an existing software partner to discuss expanding the scope of our current integration.
Then it’s off to sleep in the hope that I don’t get ejected from bed by one of the children.
Thanks very much for the insight into your day, Raj!
Until next time…
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today. Follow him on Twitter @NatDaniels.