Cork company WorkCompass is now making inroads into the UK market with software which is designed to turn management theory into high-performance practice.
“It has been created to ensure that managers perform, to a high standard. Our key point of differentiation is that we are offering the only talent management solution on the market which provides point-of-need mentoring to help managers achieve their objectives,” says WorkCompass CEO and founder Denis Coleman.
Set up in 2012, the company has built up a customer base of over 70 clients and a workforce of 11 people. It is now making preparations to open a new office in London in July and expects to be ready to make a move on the US market next year.
It began with the observation by Mr Coleman that professionals such as engineers and accountants were being put into management roles without training and that this frequently resulted in disaster. An accountant, who worked in integration projects internationally for multinational giant Flextronics, he says he witnessed first-hand problems caused by lack of management training.
“There is consensus among academics about what good management looks like — it’s a set of practices, a routine. I decided to develop software which would implement these practices and would help anybody to manage a team to a high standard.”
While working for Flextronics and subsequently for BDO Simpson Xavier and Webprint, Mr Coleman carried out extensive research on management practices. In mid-2012, he gave up his job, registered the company and recruited a software developer.
With the help of Patrick Hehir, chief learning officer at Flextronics, who is now WorkCompass’s chairman, Mr Coleman set out the requirements for the software. In 2013, when the product was ready, he advertised on Google for companies to beta test it.
“Twenty-four US companies applied — they included a hotel chain in Nashville, a small group at Xerox and a group of doctors in a medical practice in upstate New York. They helped us tweak and perfect our software and to make it work.’’
Already helped by the South Cork Local Enterprise Office, WorkCompass was then accepted on to the SOS Ventures accelerator programme.
“At that point, I had a product but no idea how to sell it. The programme helped me develop the value proposition and the market strategy.” While taking part in the programme, WorkCompass made its first sale to the Anne Sullivan Foundation for the deaf and blind in Dublin. The Irish Management Institute also signed up, in 2013, to become a valuable reference customer. Other key clients include the Musgrave Group and Core Media. one of the county’s largest communication groups.
Located at Cork Airport Business Park, the company was identified by Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start-Up in 2014. In order to finance its move into the UK, WorkCompass raised €650,000 at the end of the year, some from Enterprise Ireland and some from private investors.
The company sold to its first UK customer at the end of 2014.
Mr Coleman sees huge potential in the market there and is targeting 80% of sales to the UK by the end of 2015.
The company’s goal for 2015 is to triple revenue and grow its staff size to 15.
Long-term, Mr Coleman is aiming to create a company with a value of €100m.
Cork Airport Business Park, Cork
Performance management software
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