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Idealog: Plumber turns tech entrepreneur with new app

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Green Light Escrow: Plumber turns tech entrepreneur with new app

23 August 2023


Trading the trades for tech, plumber Max Semmons-Russell is the Co-Founder of a fintech app that solves payment problems that tradies have been facing.

Semmons-Russell has launched a new payment app, GreenLight Escrow, in hopes to revolutionise the way tradespeople and homeowners can make payments and transactions.

Launched in May 2023, this new app hopes to solve the problem of late payments that the industry is grappling with.

Research done by accounting software company Xero revealed that late payments have been costing small Kiwi businesses around $456 million a year.

Having started his own small plumbing company, KPA around five years ago, Semmons-Russell has faced the late payment issue first-hand.

He later realised this is a problem that is affecting businesses nationwide.

“Either tradies weren’t getting paid, or homeowners were being let down. An option like this just gives a bit of peace of mind,” he says.

Using his own first-hand knowledge and industry expertise, Semmons-Russell successfully launched his app but is continuing to refine the platform in order for it to fit the trade sector, hoping it embodies the spirit of “for tradies by tradies”.

“We provide an escrow option for tradies and homeowners. As a homeowner, if you pay a deposit to a tradie or someone that’s doing work for you, once you hand it over, it’s in their hands and you don’t know where it’s really going,” he adds.


“We can provide an option where [the money] is safely kept in the middle. The homeowner has clarity on where exactly the money is, but also for the tradesperson.”

Through Green Light Escrow, the app works when both parties agree on a price for a job and the customer deposits the money on the platform, and they both can now see the money in the account.

When the job gets done or the item is delivered, the customer confirms the work and the app releases the payment to the tradesperson.

“We’ve got a pretty good offering at the moment, but I’ve got a ton of ideas on how to make it heaps better. People are already using it and loving it. I am using it and loving it.”