Melbourne knowledge week
Melbourne Knowledge Week

Meet Mohan of Undivide

Mohan Undivide

When Mohan needed a tool for his business that didn’t exist in the market – a digital platform to support compliance management processes – he built a solution. Upon realising this solution could help others, Mohan developed Undivide into the exciting Melbourne startup it is today.

Undivide was one of four finalist startups chosen to present at October Pitch Night: Migrant and First Generation Founders, an event presented in partnership with StartupVIC and Victoria University, 29 October 2019. Undivide received Peoples’ Choice Award. 

  1. What’s your startup story?

During my time working in the corporate sector I started a small transport service – I always wanted to have my own business. Since the launch in 2006, it grew to be quite successfully, and profitable enough for me to leave my corporate job in 2012. In 2015 we had to face a few audits – a matter of survival. Although we had good process and procedures everything was on excel sheets and in filing cupboards. Getting ready for audits was always tedious and stressful. We had missed critical tasks, documents were missing, not to mention the risk of expiries. If, however, we had visibility and alerts it would have been an easy ride. I wanted to digitise the process and looked to the market, however there was no tool that existed. I learned that the wider industry had the same pain points. I was not willing to take no for an answer so I decided to build a solution. We called it Undivide because it removes division of process and procedures within an organisation. 

We gained good results, saving money and time thanks to the efficiency of the system, and most importantly, we came out compliant. While it was good for us we also realised that the solution would work for the rest of the market too. We mentioned it to a few of our colleagues and there was immediate demand. We decide to make Undivide a SAAS model solution and market it. 

  1. Paint us a picture of your vision for Undivide in five years:

We gained momentum very early with one of the largest fleets in Australia, Capital Transport accepting us as the answer to their compliance and onboarding concerns. They had been looking for a solution for over 3 years. Transport is not the only target sector for us but just to put things in perspective, we have 1% of the market now and we have reached break-even point. We want to penetrate transport, mining, construction and hospitality industries in Australia. NDIS are wanting worker screening (through NDIS Commission) and we have a huge opportunity in that sector too. That’s our 2nd and 3rd year target (1-12 $ million turnover). In 5 years we want to be a well accepted compliance solution provider in the US, Canada and Mexico markets. The opportunity there is 30 times bigger than in Australia. 

  1. What are the main barriers you’ve experienced on this journey? 

Main barrier was the uncertainty. Having to invest my own money I was always concerned, and to maintain a positive approach was critical. Luckily I had good people and mentors around me to encourage me, and continue my momentum.

  1. If you could choose five dream resources to have for your startup, what would they be? 
  • Excellent digital marketing/ PR expert
  • Full time sales team or backing of a distributor 
  • Agent / distributor / partner in the US,Canada, Mexico markets
  • Our own data hosting, IT networking expert 
  • Influencer who can introduce us to larger transport, construction and mining companies
  1. Imagine you’re running a workshop, what knowledge would you share based on your education and life experience up until now? 

How to look at opportunities and solutions in every pain and problem. How to make sure those opportunities turn out to be solutions and they are commercially viable. How to stay focused and positive throughout the journey. 

  1. Who would be your dream mentor and why? 

Richard Branson because his practical way of looking at business and solutions, energy that he brings and most importantly I think he takes risks, yet has been successful. 

  1. What are your most used apps/tools on a daily basis? 

Ha ha , this is funny. I’m old school, I use a fountain pen and paper notebook and am a regular whiteboard-user. I would like to buy a Microsoft Surface Hub one day though. 

  1. Has there been a time when something hasn’t worked out and you’ve been able to turn your experience into a positive one?

Yes failure was part of the journey. I recall when one of the biggest Brands in Australia wanted to work with us and a commercialising opportunity was in discussion. That was a huge opportunity. We were dropped at the last minute and it was a psychological disaster. It took me a while to get back, but we looked at why they wanted us, and what we did have that the industry did not. This made us realise that we had the answer to a gap in the market, and we learned to continue our journey with our own resources. 

  1. Can you recount for us you favourite ‘win’ moment to date – it could be big or really small, but a time where you felt really hopeful and proud. 

When our first paying customer, TaarQeel, remitted $250; when I saw that in the bank account it was the sweetest moment. Now we’re looking at $200,000 annual revenue but the sweet memory of the $250 is still my best moment. 

Find out more about Undivide:

Website – undivide.com.au/

LinkedIn – Mohan Perera

Email – mohan@undivide.com.au 

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