When a mate was trapped under his car for more than six hours following a crash while travelling for work, Joe Hoolahan thought there had to be a better way to monitor staff working remotely.
From that germ of an idea in 2011, came journey management company JESI whose software is now used in 16 countries.
JESI is global, location-based software that enables an organisation to control the risks associated with a mobile workforce operating remotely across multiple geographic locations.
The technology enables real-time responses and rapid communication which helps reduce the number of accidents, injuries and delays involving workers.
In short, JESI provides an overview of where people are, where they have been and where they are going.
Joe says it’s not about checking up on staff, but instead a tool to enhance workplace health and safety and meet duty of care obligations.
“It does its work, when someone can’t check in,” he explains. “A lot of people feel relief that someone knows where they are.”
The software also enables businesses to understand their team’s work practices and is being used by the mining, construction and engineering, education, health and community services industries.
The team, now with offices at Redcliffe, Townville and Perth, started building the software in 2012 and secured investment in North Queensland. It was launched in March 2014, in Bowen – the epicentre of mining activity at that time.
When the mining industry tanked following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), JESI was forced to evolve and look at how the software could be used by other industries.
They have recently secured $2.5 million in funding via the Series A Investment Round with Future Now Capital Management.
Before that, JESI was the first Queensland-based start-up to attract investment from the Queensland Government’s Business Development Fund in 2015/16, with co-investment from Future Now Capital Management.
JESI has been operating in Redcliffe for about 12 months, but will expand from a team of eight to about 30 people in the coming months. Most will be based on the peninsula.
The goal is to grow the business, build a solid team who can deliver the aspirational goals they have set and further develop the product.
Joe is also keen to expand the offering for major clients they already have and identify new opportunities.
“There’s no better place to do this than Redcliffe,” he says.
“We were commuting back and forth and this was the place we came to on the weekends. We fell in love with it, it’s five minutes to everywhere. It’s a great place to live local and work local. And it’s just 30 minutes to the airport and Brisbane.”
Joe says the location offers good access to markets and is the perfect compromise when juggling regional centres and Brisbane CBD.
Like many CEOs, he was concerned in February/March when the COVID-19 shutdown started to take hold.
“Our product was reliant on travel and no one was travelling,” he recalls.
“But people are now working alone, remote, working from home, working split shifts – our product became even more relevant. We created another layer for organisations to take that duty of care to another level.”
The past three months have been their best ever.
“We’ve listened to customers and adapted to what our customers’ needs are, not what we need to do to make money. We turned that around really quickly,” Joe says.
“In two weeks, we produced a suite of repositioned offerings, adding work-from-home and work-from-site. We went from travel to five different products we can offer.”
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