One of our first ventures was eGov Pty Ltd, which developed a disruptive grant management system (eGrants.com) delivered on a software as a service (SaaS) basis.
The initial objective was to build a technology solution to help a Federal government grant program (CWG: Community Water Grants) achieve what seemed impossible. Round 1 program was oversubscribed and undermanned, and there was little in the way of systems support. As it turned out, our strategy of using the internet and automation to increase productivity and accuracy helped the program achieve what appeared at the time to be impossible: delivering the program within its program performance and schedule objectives earning a Minister's achievement award. In Round 2 the CWG team, continuing to use eGrants, earned a productivity award from the Department Secretary, We continued to increase the functionality of the eGrants system for further funding rounds.
eGrants.com (eGov Pty Ltd) is no longer owned by Bunting Pty Ltd.
Our Melbourne CBD Office
We were a small but highly productive team supported by contractors and mentors (incl Microsoft). We often worked what Elon Musk would call "hardcore": 16+hours/day, often 7 days/week - driven by a target achievement orientation. [In 2023 we still work long days].
If we weren't in Canberra we were in our Melbourne office. We also used our floor to host presentations by other startups for potential investors: the early days of techseeder.com.
The eGrants Difference
The first impact eGrants had was to eliminate paper and postal mail and automate as many processes as possible.
That impact was felt immediately by grant recipients, receiving their funding way ahead of expectations.
CWG program manager Richard Nott and senior team members with their first payment.
Our eGrants.com Product
Programs supported by eGrants.com
Some of the most important environmental and economic relief, recovery and stimulus programs supported by eGrants included:
Our design and functional objectives for eGrants were compatible with the objectives of "tech for good", providing equality of access to government support programs to all organisations and people regardless of their location. The "bare bones" UI design in eGrants was driven by our objective of loading every page in less than 5 seconds at the slowest (56 kbps) line speed available to the remotest users. Automated assessment and production of funding agreements minimised time between application and payment. Our outcomes and user satisfaction scores suggest we achieved our own "tech for good" objectives.
The RLCIP program manager advised us that the draft Australian National Audit Office performance report described that program as a "model of public administration".
Despite its track record of outstanding performance, eGrants ceased operations in 2010 when it became apparent that the Federal and State governments preferred to own and operate their systems inhouse with a packaged product across government grant programs, effectively closing most opportunities for SaaS solutions for Australian government clients. We were also facing a rapid growth of grant management products from global technology companies. From start to finish, eGrants was an exhilarating experience as we learned so much and made the most of our opportunities at an exciting time in tech entrepreneurship.
eGrants provided equality of access to government grants for tens of thousands of applicants wherever they were: in major cities, or farms, or the remotest desert and island communities [CWG Round 3 funded projects].