Townsville auditing startup SafetyCulture is preparing to massively expand its engineering teams following a $6.1 million Series A funding round.
The funding comes primarily from existing investors, such as Atlassian’s Scott Farquhar, and will go towards growing SafetyCulture’s engineering teams based in Sydney and Townsville. It will also go towards new areas such as marketing and sales, as SafetyCulture currently employ no salespeople and has thus far organically grown their flagship safety auditing app iAuditor.
Openings currently include Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), iOS and Android Developers, and software, DevOps and growth engineers.
“I’ve always said that the biggest challenge for us as individuals is to grow at the pace the company is growing,” CEO Luke Anear said. “I think that’s as present today as ever.”
“We desperately need mobile and backend engineers, as we are now approaching one million users in a fairly short time period and, we need more talented people to continue to innovate our way forward,” he said. “There is an Australia wide shortage of software engineers, particularly for mobile app development.”
The push for new hires has extended to SafetyCulture’s leadership team; new appointments include Chief Operating Officer (COO) Gillian Findlay, who previously worked at Car Next Door and is leading the Sydney team, and a new product manager, from Fairfax-backed dating site RSVP.
But the company has also seen staff depart this year, with former VP of Engineering Anton Mazkovoi leaving in August. The ex-Head of Engineering at Atlassian, Mazkovoi was hired just prior to Farquhar’s last investment in SafetyCulture.
Anear downplays the departure, and instead attributes Mazkovoi’s leaving to the more general requirements of working in startups.
“We haven’t had much turnover, Anton definitely was a big appointment when he came and it was certainly something that needed to be addressed,” Anear said. “But I think our culture has been set from the outset and provided people fit that culture then there isn’t really a lot of internal challenges.”
“I think people come in at stages of their career, and startups aren’t necessarily for everybody,” he said. “But there’s a certain type of dynamic and personality that really thrives on the potential of what a startup offers, and we’re not as early-stage as we used to be so there’s a lot more stability and predictability, but we’ve still got that daily hustle to try and make something great.
“And that’s something you either love or you don’t.”
Future of the Company
The last year has cemented SafetyCulture as one of Queensland’s most prominent startups: on top of their Series A round, SafetyCulure launched a surgical checklist under World Health Organisation guidelines, opened their Sydney offices, and saw iAuditor reach almost one million downloads.
Now, Anear’s focus will be on hiring new talent and, as Townsville benefitted from an early NBN rollout, navigating Sydney’s strangely inferior internet connectivity.
“Hopefully with Malcolm Turnbull in office, we will start to see some investment in the future of computer sciences and maybe even fibre to the premises,” Anear said. “Communicating across distributed teams on video just isn’t consistent on ADSL.”
“We have the NBN to the premises in Townsville and it is excellent, but in Sydney we can barely run a team meeting without connectivity.”