GoContractor, a safety compliance solution provider founded in Ireland, is expanding in the US market.
GoContractor was originally founded in 2012 as Induction Manager Ltd by Sean Fennell (formerly CEO, now SVP Partnerships) and Julie Currid (formerly COO, today chief marketing officer), with offices in London and Dublin. It traded as ‘Initiafy‘, providing online training apps to ensure contractors, temporary or seasonal workers are quickly skilled up, accelerating their development as productive, safe members of the workforce. Development of the initial prototype solution was outsourced to a company with office in Ireland and Poland, and within 18 months, Initiafy had 30 customers, including Pfizer, British Gas, Adobe and Sodexo. Buoyed by this success, the founders raised €400,000 in October 2013 from Enterprise Ireland, private investors and the Cork-based Boole Investment Syndicate (read November 2017 Enterprise Ireland article).
In November 2014, it raised US$1.5m in seed funding from investors including Delta Partners, ACT Venture Capital and private investor Leslie Buckley (read May 2015 Silicon Republic profile), and had attracted customers in the US (its largest market), the UK, Middle East and Africa. The company opened a New York office in November 2014, though expansion meant some financial losses – it booked a loss of €990,000 in 2015 (reported BizPlus) – while staff numbers grew to 17. Today, it has offices in Toronto, Canada and Houston, Texas, and recently raised a further €0.5m (c. US$0.55m; read 8 August 2019 Irish Times article), and is looking to further expand its US presence, while doubling its headcount to 50 by the end of 2019.
Onboarding new workers
When new starters begin working for a new company, they normally have to submit training records or other documents, be registered, and then initiated on their employer’s HR, safety and corporate policies. A ‘white label’ solution, GoContractor enables employers to create online forms, share documents, and build custom training, testing and interactive material. The new-starter works through the process in their own time using any web-connected device and arrives for work with sufficient knowledge to make an immediate start.
The company says this helps ensure “compliance with safety regulations while reducing the likelihood of accidents, less time wasted in classrooms and a better (and more comfortable) learning environment for electricians, plumbers, contractors and more”. US-based contractors including Gilbane, Lendlease and Skanska are using GoContractor (Irish customers include Sisk, Roadbridge and the ESB) to achieve compliance across all on-site sub-contractors, keeping workers safe and cost and risk low. It says: “Having the training done in advance frees up valuable hours each day for superintendents, safety managers and project managers by eliminating paperwork and face-to-face training requirements. This can reduce onboarding costs by as much as 50 percent.”
As well as providing online training it also has on-site tools including Access Control (a remote worker check-in and check-out service used to monitor site activities and hours), while its Traffic Light System uses a simple red/amber/green colour scheme to represent the status of temporary worker documents, as well as managing behaviours.
One of the latest projects to deploy GoContractor is long-time US customer Gilbane Construction’s development of a new $10 billion LCD screen factory complex in Wisconsin, for the Taiwanese company, Foxconn. The 20-million-square-foot campus is the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in US history.
New GoContractor CEO
In March 2019, GoContractor appointed a new CEO, John Naughton, based in the company’s New York office. Naughton has more than 15 years of experience in technology transformation in construction, agriculture, marine, mining, and manufacturing, joining GoContractor from Trimble where he was a business area director focused on civil engineering and construction technologies.
Naughton is a mechanical engineering graduate from Ireland’s University of Limerick, Ireland, and has an MBA from Torrens University in Australia. His focus is on sharing best practices and partnerships across the Atlantic:
“Because we’re working with the best of the best in both regions, and we have really strong relationships with all of our customers, we’re in a unique position of being able to add value in terms of what works well when it comes to the adoption of new technology into a fairly traditional market.”
Other players in the AEC safety-oriented market include three Australian firms: SafeSite – 2015 post – iAuditor from SafetyCulture – July 2019 post – and HammerTech – April 2019 post. The latter has also experienced strong US interest in its products. Another player is UK-based BioSite Systems [disclosure:- a past pwcom.co.uk Ltd client], which helps construction businesses get insights into their workforces and supply chains.