Gold Coast local Lauren Hall, Founder and CEO of revolutionary events and hospitality software company iVvy, has won the prestigious Sue Wickenden Innovation in Technology award at the 2020 Women in Technology (WiT) Awards announced last month.
iVvy is an innovative ‘software as a service (SaaS)’ business providing tools for event managers to manage an event from beginning to end, and for venue operators to manage their back of house operations as well as taking their live bookings. The technology is about streamlining the events industry.
Lauren explains “Event organisers spend a lot of time going backwards and forwards, between venues trying to find who is available, trying to get prices and quotes and times and costs and all of that, and it is really a frustrating and labour intensive process. We took that process which would normally be about six weeks down to less than six minutes because of our automation engine.”
Lauren is originally from South Africa where she first built her platform and company. She was granted money from the South African government to grow her business but two days later she decided to give it all away when she was awarded residency in Australia.
“I chose Australia over the money. I took my two young kids and my husband and landed on the Gold Coast and started again. I had all this IP that I owned so I looked around for a good co-founder and investor so I could re-engineer it.”
She pitched the idea to her cousin whom she had never met, who provided seed funding. She also found James Greig, her co-founder through his website development company, and pitched to the Mantra Hotel group. She is now looking at potentially listing iVvy on the stock market in 18 months.
Says Lauren “I believed so much in what I was doing, that I knew I could change the world with my tech and I could re-change industry. You have to be so resilient and so determined because there are so many obstacles that can come your way.”
Lauren entered the WiT Awards because she wanted to give acknowledgement recognition to the contribution of her team.
“I see awards as not about ego but about credibility,” says Lauren. “The more you get seen as a credible person delivering a contribution to society the more you feel you are actually making a difference.”
Of the award being gender specific, Lauren feels there is still a need for a woman’s award in the STEM field:
“There is an enormous issue with gender and racial diversity. If you look at it globally 2.5% of women are funded worldwide in business in general. If you look at tech, tech and digital is really challenging for women. I think when you can step up and be recognised that you are representing a real minority group of women where they haven’t got a voice because it is really, really difficult to have one… get out there and show that you can deliver a successful global tech company, the more you can help pave the way for future generations to be able to follow where they don’t fear that they are isolated, not good enough or not worthy, because these are the things women suffer with.”