Five minutes with…Chris van Raay
Chris van Raay graduated with a Bachelor of Design (Multimedia Design) in 2006 and recently co-founded Groundfloor. Groundfloor provide parcel management systems using the latest technology to commercial and residential buildings. In fact, Swinburne Student Residences are using Groundfloor on the Hawthorn campus!
Why are you so passionate about innovation?
We’re the first Australian company to offer a full parcel management solution that is in your own building and open to all delivery companies. As the leader in our field, I think it’s important that we play a role in helping the transport industry and cities work together for better liveability and environmental outcomes, and this can only be achieved by using innovative methods and technologies to shape solutions.
"Groundfloor use the latest and greatest innovation and technology to make life easier for just about everyone."
Much like the invention of the iPhone, a lot of innovation happens through bringing together existing technologies in a new way to solve a specific problem. That’s what we’ve done. We address problems faced by residents, facility managers, commercial tenants, building owners and couriers because we’ve taken the time to walk in each of their shoes and empathise with them. We’ve then combined a range of technologies including lockers, electronics, touch-screen devices, GPS, cloud and mobile apps to shape a complete solution.
What advice would you give to Swinburne students today?
See opportunity everywhere and take chances.
When I did my course we were encouraged to enter the Swinburne Venture Cup. Myself and a friend won the undergraduate category and it was an incredible chance for me to start my career and my first business. About 10 years ago I wanted to start developing mobile apps but couldn’t really find the right opportunities where I was working at the time so I went out on my own and entered a Victorian government competition called App My State. I ended up winning a major prize for creating an app for Crime Stoppers Victoria.
This led me to meeting a partner at Deloitte and I spent the next five years leading major mobile projects for corporate and government clients such as ING Direct’s mobile banking app and the Australia Post app. I then moved into consulting where I met Lauren Melton and Lynne Thornton who had been working on creating Groundfloor. I had a lot of different skills that I could bring to the business so I was brought in as a co-founder to kick start Groundfloor. Every opportunity led on to the next.
Where do you see yourself in 2025?
I think as our business continues to grow I see my role shifting to looking at how Groundfloor fits into the broader ecosystem of smart buildings and smart cities. Looking back on my time at Swinburne – when multimedia was still a pretty new field and I was only starting to learn about business – to now, leading the way in developing this new technology that is addressing a real problem, is very exciting.