Townsville-based startup JESI, which helps businesses track their mobile workforce to ensure safety and efficiency, has had a $500,000 investment from Future Now Ventures matched by a grant from Advance Queensland’s $40 million Business Development Fund, raising a total of $1 million.
Launched two years ago, JESI is the first startup to receive funding from the Queensland government through the fund. Cofounder and CEO Joe Hoolahan said this “fresh approach” to capital raising in the Australian startup landscape is “very much needed” as it continues to grow.
“JESI is on a powerful growth trajectory and we are at the exciting point in a startup journey where we need an injection of capital to allow us to scale quickly and capitalise on our offshore opportunities. We are excited to be a cheerleader for the powerful potential of regional startups and to also demonstrate that startups no longer need to uproot their Australian operations in order to take their operations global,” he said.
The startup last year opened an office in Houston and recently partnered with a company in Oman to help it expand into Arabic-speaking countries.
Finding a solid customer base in the construction and resources sectors, JESI helps companies track employees travelling locally or internationally through the logging of different modes of transport and arrival times. Upon their arrival at a particular destination, the platform will ask users to check in, with an automated alert sent to emergency contacts if the check in process isn’t completed.
Announcing the funding for the startup, Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt said JESI’s technology could be a real game changer, particularly in regional Queensland.
“Providing a safe work environment goes beyond the traditional bricks and mortar locations where management have direct sight of their staff – it now includes employers ensuring staff arrive safely at locations that involve remote and isolated conditions,” he said.
“Living in a vast state like Queensland, businesses understand that travelling between locations often expose their staff to greater risks.”
The announcement comes a week after the government delivered a budget in which it allocated a further $225 million in funding to its Advance Queensland innovation agenda, upping the value of the package to $405 million.
The additional $225 million will be distributed among 13 new initiatives under the Advance Queensland umbrella, with a focus on growing the small business and tourism sectors and promoting the state’s regional areas.
Six million dollars will be spent on regional innovation hubs, with a further $10 million for the Cairns Innovation Centre at James Cook University, and $33.5 million for Advance Queensland: Connecting with Asia, a tourism package aiming to grow jobs in regional Queensland.
Image: JESI cofounders Joe Hoolahan and Matthew Tebble. Source: Supplied.