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SA startups boost online value for teamwork, aged care

Posted May 26, 2020

Two Adelaide startups based at Lot Fourteen are helping work teams and families with loved ones in care to make the most of online potential during COVID-19 restrictions and beyond.

Teamgage and CareApp are both members of the Stone & Chalk startup hub, powered by the Future Industries eXchange for Entrepreneurship (FIXE) at Lot Fourteen.

Teamgage is one of six SA startups to share in more than $2.75 million to commercialise their products through the State Government’s Research Commercialisation and Startup Fund.

The company, co-founded by Noelle and Ben Smit, was awarded $350,000 to further develop its innovative software platform for driving continuous improvement in organisational culture. Teamgage aims to overcome regulatory and infrastructure barriers to enable it to expand into large international markets.

The Research Commercialisation and Startup Fund assists in the commercialisation of new products and services developed by startups and is a key part of the FIXE Entrepreneurship Strategy, along with the establishment of the Stone & Chalk startup hub at Lot Fourteen.

“Teamgage and CareApp are fantastic examples of the entrepreneurial spirit being fostered at Lot Fourteen,” said Stone & Chalk Adelaide General Manager Chris Kirk.

“Both companies have developed products that meet growing demand within Australia and overseas, they’re employing local people in skilled jobs and striving to continually improve their offering.”

Teamgage helps organisations gather employee feedback in real-time and guides teams and management within the organisation to drive their own improvements in areas critical to the business strategy.

It is used by Fortune 500 and ASX 100 companies across the world, replacing the old model of change and transformation with an agile framework that gathers better and more immediate feedback, at lower risk and cost with shorter timeframes to produce a better outcome.

Teamgage is ideally suited to enterprises keen to stay engaged with their employees while they are working from home as they can provide feedback on any device with a unique 20 second submission interface which updates reports in real time, 24/7.

In addition to desk-based employees, Teamgage also caters for mobile workforces and employees such as construction workers, nurses and aged care staff, and those on remote sites, via feedback kiosks, SMS and submission cards.

Providing a virtual window of care

Comprehensive restrictions on visitor contact for residents in nursing homes, taken to protect vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused much heartache for families and their loved ones.

CareApp is designed to fill the gap, by providing a reassuring window into the care and wellbeing of loved ones. The app is being used by dozens of aged care homes across Australia. It enables photos, video, audio, notices, events, and newsletters to be shared with families in a similar way to communication apps used by schools and childcare providers.

CareApp founder and Chief Executive Allison Nikula.

In recognition of the impact these restrictions have had on families, CareApp founder and Chief Executive Allison Nikula has made the app available for free to aged care facilities around the world during the pandemic.

She said the drastic measures which have had to be taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 will have significant long-term implications on aged care facilities, residents, families and the broader community.

“We’re seeing stories come to light where family members are being either turned away or restricted from seeing their loved ones. This is heartbreaking.”

“We decided that providing CareApp for free is the right thing to do. It’s the Australian way as we all band together and support each other in times of crisis.”

“We’re hopeful that aged care management will take up our offer of free access to CareApp to ensure that families stay connected during this time.”

“CareApp is simple to use and easy to implement – we can get facilities up and running within hours.”

“We can only imagine the stress that the aged care sector is going through in response to COVID-19. We are here to help,” she said.

Allison drew on her background as an occupational therapist with experience in clinical healthcare and technology, and as a granddaughter, to create CareApp.

Like 1.3 million other older Australians, her grandparents needed a little extra support to stay at home. Allison’s family wanted to be active contributors to their care, but communication was fragmented and visibility about their care and well-being was poor.

Allison initially consulted with prospective users for her concept product with nothing more than sketches on a piece of paper and some wireframe mock-ups. A proof of concept was created and tested before a basic product was developed and launched in March 2018.

CareApp is now working on US expansion after securing $500,000 funding to accelerate commercialisation from Adelaide investor group Southern Angels.

The group is a not-for-profit network of high net worth individuals and Angels member Nick Heywood-Smith joined the board of CareApp as part of the deal.

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