FixForm: Using People Power to Make Buildings Safer and Cleaner.

Written by

Penny Brazier

Published on

August 27, 2021
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FixForm is on a mission to make building maintenance simple for both facilities teams and building users. Their user-friendly platform uses QR codes and smart technology to make reporting, managing and resolving problems easier than ever.

We caught up with co-founder and CEO Thomas Vanhumbeeck to find out more about the FixForm start-up journey, and how Pitchdrive has been helping them prepare for their launch.  

Can you give us an overview of FixForm? 

We’re building a platform that helps to keep buildings in good, safe and clean condition by making the reporting and management of problems easier.  

Often people don’t know how to report a problem in the building they’re in. They might have to go to reception, find a link online or track down the maintenance team to report it. 

Our platform allows everybody to be able to report problems easily using QR codes, without needing to download anything or register. It also gives feedback to the person who sent the report, even if they don’t live or work in the building, so they know when the problem has been resolved. 

FixForm also allows facility management teams to track and manage problems easily. Because our platform is image-driven, it’s often simpler for the facility manager to identify the issue — a picture can say a thousand words.  

We also capture all the data the team might need. For example, you can see the history of an incident and who has dealt with it previously — all that data is captured.  

Eventually we want to add a smart layer that scrapes data from the original report so it can prioritise it, categorise it and make recommendations automatically. 

A lot of people are talking about smart buildings and smart sensors, but we think the best sensors you have are the people in the building. Our aim is to put the power in the hands of the people and have happier customers and visitors. 

How did Fixform get started? 

We noticed that reports were coming into facility management teams from various sources and there was no centralised overview. And from a customer point of view, issues are hard to report. We knew we could develop a user-friendly product that would improve on solutions currently on the market, which tend to focus on assets rather than people. 

Fixform has a founding team of eight — we are backed by some serial entrepreneurs and industry experts. We started our product development in December 2020 and were backed by the venture accelerator Imec iStart. We’ve now launched with two pilot customers and we’re on track to launch to the market at the end of July.   

How has the journey been so far? Have there been any lessons learned along the way? 

It’s been exciting. I come from a corporate background and this is my first start-up. There are a lot of things you can’t predict when you first start a business. You put together your business plan but there are so many variables.  

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to take on board customer feedback while staying true to your vision. Combining those two things in the right way is really important.  

How have you found working with Pitchdrive so far? 

It’s going really well. Learning from people who have had successful start-ups in the past is a game-changer. There are a lot of VCs and accelerators in the market that don’t bring that practical expertise, they just offer a fund.  

With Pitchdrive it’s about collaboration, transparency, trust, and sharing knowledge. That expertise is even more important to me than the fund side. 

The Power Board sessions have been really valuable. I’ve learned about strategy, how you need to make your product as simple as possible, launch it, then add on different elements afterwards. If it had been down to me, we probably wouldn’t have launched anything yet. Now I’m really happy that we have, and with the product we’re offering. 

Why should other start-ups work with Pitchdrive? 

For all the reasons I’ve mentioned. They deliver much more than just funding. Also, they’re really fast. They have engines in place that can really speed things up. Normally the VC or funding phase can take several months. As a founder, you don’t want to spend all that time just making sure that your idea is viable for growth and funding.  With Pitchdrive, in a small amount of time you’ll know if investors are willing to invest in you – not just their money but their knowledge, time and expertise. 

What advice would you give to other early stage start-ups seeking funding or support? 

I’d say it’s a no-brainer to contact Pitchdrive. The team behind them – not just the founders but also the investors – it's huge. They’re building an international ecosystem of investors and entrepreneurs. So even if your idea doesn’t work out, you’ll end up in a great network where there are a lot of opportunities.  

They bring together everyone in such an open way, it’s unique. It has really impressed me. 

Where do you see FixForm going, what’s the big dream? 

We hope to onboard a lot of customers quickly, then evolve to provide more services to those customers.

In the future, smart buildings would be a logical next step. We’d maybe look at collaborating with other companies so we can provide the human-centred solution and they provide the sensors and technology. 

But ultimately, there are many opportunities in facilities management. I want to build an ambitious team with an entrepreneurial mindset and take it as far as possible. 

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