New web­site keeps home records

On­line tool will make home­own­ers’ lives eas­ier, says Wanaka en­tre­pre­neur

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MAR­JORIE COOK

Wanaka en­tre­pre­neur Lau­ren McKay has put her own build­ing plans on hold to launch her busi­ness, In­site­ful Ltd.

Her com­pany’s free on­line tool, HomeOver­site, was launched on April 30 and is de­signed to make it eas­ier for home­own­ers to keep track of work done on their prop­er­ties.

McKay said peo­ple could store in­for­ma­tion on­line about any­thing from paint colours in the bath­room to the chim­ney sweep’s phone num­ber or build­ing com­pli­ance records.

The tool dis­penses with screeds of pa­per work and the on­line file can be passed on if the prop­erty is sold.

McKay keenly ap­pre­ci­ates the value of hav­ing in­for­ma­tion avail­able.

She re­called mov­ing into a house where the pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pants had left tins of paint be­hind, but not all the colours could be iden­ti­fied. When it came to one par­tic­u­lar wall, there seemed to be 465 colours of white to choose from, she said.

‘‘With war­ranties etcetera peo­ple just seem to stuff them in a drawer and for­get about them, and then you can never find them when you need them . . . It is like a ser­vice record that you could do for your car, but you do it for your house,’’ she said.

While daunt­ing, go­ing into busi­ness on her own seemed a nat­u­ral thing for the ar­chi­tec­tural school grad­u­ate to do.

‘‘It is a bit of a plunge. But I don’t re­gret it at all . . . I was ready. I have al­ways wanted to do my own thing. I have al­ways had that drive.’’

The for­mer Cromwell Col­lege pupil ‘‘never was a com­puter geek’’ and has taught her­self about web­site devel­op­ment. She grad­u­ated with a PhD in sus­tain­able hous­ing from Vic­to­ria Uni­ver­sity, where she also took pa­pers in psy­chol­ogy. She has held con­sult­ing roles with gov­ern­ment agen­cies and trav­elled to the United States on a Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity en­trepreneur­ship/busi­ness in­cu­ba­tor course.

While work­ing as a project manager in post-earth­quake Christchurch she no­ticed gaps in prop­erty in­for­ma­tion sys­tems and de­cided to try and plug them by cre­at­ing a se­ries of link­ing soft­ware tools. In­site­ful was born and ul­ti­mately McKay would like to ex­pand her busi­ness’ pos­si­bil­i­ties in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Af­ter a busy three to four four years in Christchurch, she and her hus­band Cam McKay de­cided to rent out their Lyt­tel­ton home last year and move to Wanaka so her hus­band could take up work in the ski in­dus­try.

McKay con­tin­ues to work on projects in Wanaka and Queen­stown but her main role is as man­ag­ing direc­tor of In­site­ful. Her hus­band helps with the com­pany and the cou­ple re­cently sold their Al­bert Town sec­tion to con­cen­trate on the busi­ness.

Now the free HomeOver­site tool has been launched, more soft­ware tools are in the pipe­line, for which McKay is seek­ing in­vest­ment part­ners. Th­ese will be avail­able on a sub­scrip­tion ba­sis, with builders, mer­chants and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies among those iden­ti­fied as po­ten­tial users.

Wanaka busi­ness­woman Lau­ren McKay has launched aweb­site that helps home own­ers and builders track prop­erty in­for­ma­tion.

Photo: Mar­jorie Cook/ Fair­fax NZ

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