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Founders Series: Luke Slemon, C.T.O

Concluding the Founder series of blog post is Luke Slemon, Receipt Relays Chief Technology Officer. Luke joined the team after the Fidelity International competition and quickly began making Receipt Relay a reality. Utilising his vast knowledge of computer engineering and software development, Luke has brought the team one step closer to launch with each line of code written.

What is your exact role?

I am the Chief Technical Officer and Lead developer on Receipt Relay. My primary responsibilities are bringing Sean and Joe's visions of an e-receipt solution to fruition. To achieve this I have been developing the backend technology for handling these new receipts, developing the front-end applications for users and liaising with potential partners so they can understand how to integrate our solution into their products. Throughout my tenure in Receipt Relay, I have been building on my experience with applications development as well as learning how serverless solutions operate. Apart from the development of the product, I am also involved in strategy meetings with Sean and Joe, where we discuss our next moves and how we can get our product out there.

How did you get involved?

I joined Receipt Relay after finishing my final year exams last May. Sean and Joe were looking for a developer to realise their E-Receipt solution, so they contacted NUIG's computer society (CompSoc) where I was an Ordinary Committee Member. The chair of the society recommended I apply for this project because I had previously given a brief presentation on how to develop Android Applications using Java. The idea of this solution hoping to make shopping a more sustainable experience caught my attention and has kept me driven to create something that could really help reduce an unnecessary carbon footprint caused by receipts, which tend to be thrown away.

What do you find to be the most important element of teamwork?

Teamwork requires adequate communication between team members, but what can make a team really stick out can be their collection of diverse skills. In Receipt Relay, we all bring our own skills to the table making for a diverse team that can approach any task that approaches. For context, we have a techie that can bring the ideas to reality, we have a creative who can design beautiful infographics and designs for blog posts and website, and a driven operations manager who helps to keep us all on track. We also share a motivation to bring this product to fruition, so any ideas any member brings to the floor is happily considered instead of being discarded because any one of us knows better.

How did you adapt your schedule to the Covid-19 pandemic?

As a startup, we wouldn't have a premises to work from so there hasn't been a massive effect on our working environment because it's all we know in Receipt Relay. But because of the lockdowns, I didn't meet the other two until the end of the summer when the lockdowns were relaxed and cafes opened up again. This isn't much of a business impact because we were well acquainted from our mainly skype calls. As a developer, the remote work has allowed for a certain flexibility also because I'm not entirely constrained to the 9-5 Monday to Friday. With all of my equipment at home I can open my laptop and access my development environment whenever and wherever, allowing me to tackle a problem as I think of them, be it mid cooking dinner, I can open the laptop and try something while the pasta cooks.

What are your personal and business aspirations?

I liked the idea of joining a startup since I first watched Silicon Valley (They made it look so glamorous), and also because I wanted to build and nurture something that I can really tie my name to. With Receipt Relay, all three of us have created something different that I feel could make shopping a more sustainable experience by reducing the amount of paper waste caused by receipts. If we can make any kind of dent in reducing this waste I'll be delighted. Also seeing Receipt Relay used by more than just my friends and family would be amazing, the sensation of overhearing someone while out for dinner asking for an e-receipt through us would make my day!

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