MOST people find moving house a stress. For Leah Hutcheon, the vivacious founder and chief executive of software business Appointedd, it was an inspiration.

Finding herself stuck in cycle of endless phone calls - to the estate agent, to her husband, back to the estate agent, on to the next one - Ms Hutcheon realised the software her business had originally written to help small companies take bookings from clients could be scaled up to almost any business situation.

“Businesses like Uber and Deliveroo have made us more demanding - our lives are busier now and our hours are getting longer,” she muses.

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“I moved house recently and there wasn’t much I could do online. We don’t want that any more. We want to be able to say I can do it on Thursday at 5pm and then get it booked in.”

Not only would this have made her experience as a customer a better one, but it would have made her estate agents’ lives easier too, which is precisely why Ms Hutcheon set up Appointedd in the first place.

“I set up the business in 2011,” she explains. “I had been made redundant from my previous role as editor of Home Plus Scotland magazine, which was closed down.

“I was quite lucky in that I had a lot of contacts while I was there so I built up a nice freelance network working with a range of businesses - one-man bands and interior designers.

“I saw the difference that having technology could make to a business, especially at that time, when there wasn’t quite the level of SaaS [Software as a Service] applications in the market. If you were running a business there was very little you could do to convert eyeballs into people spending money with you.”

Originally the idea was somewhat self-serving, with Ms Hutcheon wanting to create an online tool that would solve a particular problem she had been experiencing when trying to book a haircut online.

“While I was at the magazine in the end days when budgets and the team were being cut and we were trying to keep it alive my hours had been getting longer and I had been doing more online,” she recalls. “I got used to doing an online shop but one thing that I didn’t get organised was booking a hairdresser’s appointment. I thought why can’t these businesses take bookings online? Why can’t I connect with them in a meaningful way?”

Having funded the first prototype of her booking app via her freelancer’s salary, using practically all her earnings to pay a web developer, Ms Hutcheon used cash received from Scottish Edge, Business gateway and Equity Gap to get the software market-ready by 2014.

Now, she says, the diversity of Appointedd’s client base is “mind blowing”.

“We have everything from independent car valets and hairdressers to one-man bands who might be on the road all the time,” she says. “It works for them from the point of view that they can have the software on an app and bookings just come in confirmed and they turn up and do their work.”

Put like that the appeal to estate agencies is obvious, although Ms Hutcheson says it is in the fact that Appointedd’s technology works across timezones that its real opportunity lies. This is because it makes it attractive to meeting-heavy international businesses such as law and accountancy firms, but also to businesses operating in the highly lucrative US market.

“In the US you can be doing domestic business across timezones,” Ms Hutcheon says. “If you put our software in, rather than customers having to fill in a contact form on a website to get someone to call them back they can just click a button on a website to book a time that suits them in their timezone.

“That was the big ‘A-ha moment’ for us, realising that that was a really big gap in the market. We’ve seen a lot of interest in that.”

Some of that interest has come from US-based serviced-office provider Alliance Business Centers Network (ABCN), which offers a live reception function in serviced offices and to people who work from home.

“They have 700 offices across 52 countries and have half a million users,” Ms Hutcheon says.

“We’ve been able to step in and allow those receptionists to not just take a message and post it via email but to book callbacks or follow-up calls directly into diaries.

“ABCN has receptionists in all its call centres and we’ve been able to turn that from a cost base into a revenue generator.”

Admitting that she has to pinch herself when she thinks how far the business has come in such a short space of time, Ms Hutcheon says that without the support of the Edinburgh tech community, which is feeding off the success of local businesses such as FanDuel and Skyscanner, Appointedd may never have got off the ground.

“I feel so lucky to be building the business here in Scotland. I don’t think I could have done it if I’d been in London because it’s a bigger hub of start-ups.” she says. “Five years ago there wasn’t so much of a start-up scene but it was nascent. In the Central Belt there is starting to be a bubbling up of something.

“There is a really strong sense of community and I don’t think it can be understated how important that is.”