- April 16, 2020
- Posted by: Canberra Innovation Network
- Categories: Startup Stories & Profiles, Women in Innovation
Canberra start-up Castlepoint, started as a consulting company, ran by couple Gavin McKay and Rachael Greaves since 2012, working with government on their information compliance issues. One of the problems they encountered was that their clients just weren’t having success with the technology on the market, which inspired them to design and develop an AI solution to read, register and regulate all their data, regardless of system or format.
This dynamic duo did all the development after hours over a period of about two years, with lots of late nights just bootstrapping from the consulting revenue (they happen to sneak in two babies in that time as well). But they were able to launch at the end of 2018 and had their first sale in January 2019. Since then, they have had huge interest and growth – their revenue is up 92% for the last 12 months, and they have had to quickly grow from just the two founders into a real enterprise, employing several new team members. In mid 2019, Castlepoint entered the KILN intensive incubator program and the coworking space at Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN).
Just before the pandemic they engaged their very first employee, an ANU grad as their project manager. Shortly after that they found two amazing women, sisters, from Columbia, as their BDM and Business Manager. Coming from a background of teaching and psychology, this industry was quite a pivot for the two new recruits.
Castlepoint signed up to be involved in Data61’s Ribit Talent Jam held at CBRIN in late February and were lucky enough to have a huge amount of interest. They interviewed many amazing candidates and recruited three people – a Developer, an AI Data Analyst, and a Marketing and Communications Officer. All women, as they have a strong focus on diversity, especially in the tech side of the business. In this recruitment boom, they also just engaged another tech contractor, and a consultant Marketing Director.
Like a lot of businesses, we all had to go into lockdown. However, Castlepoint have taken it in their stride and implemented some great steps to ensure their staff are looked after, including;
- WHS assessments and EAP
- Secure IT, self-assessments and controls
- Meetings to welcome everyone;
- Set-up a staff Intranet with news;
- Performance and Development Agreements for everyone via Teams meeting.
- daily scrums for the techs;
- weekly CEO email to everyone;
- dedicated Teams and Channels
“I just graduated with a Master of IT and Systems from the University of Canberra, and was excited to join Castlepoint Systems. When the social isolation guidelines started, I knew my onboarding would be different from what I expected. I was looking forward as it gives me the motivation for a new job. My onboarding was done virtually where I got to know all my teammates through Teams. I also had a personal teleconferencing session with an occupational therapist who shared good tips on how to work safely from home…” said Lija Mathai Developer, Castlepoint Systems.
The company has also updated their wiki with everyone’s job description, certifications, and language proficiencies so there is one place to go to see what everyone does. Implementation of their policy of salary transparency, and with everyone’s permission they listed every employee’s annual remuneration (including the founders), and how it compared to the market range and median.
Castlepoint is a great example of how to transition a team online, as they have set up a transparent, active communication system to make sure everyone is engaged and confident.