Matt Tomlins – founder of CoverCard

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Matt is the founder of the recently launched CoverCard – During his 10 years consulting in the resources industry, Matt had seen first-hand the gap that often exists between those in the office (high rise) and those on the ground (high vis).

It took a chance meeting with Jon Gwynne, a boilermaker and now CoverCard co-founder, to catalyse this observation into a business that provides significant benefits for all parties. 

Tell us a little bit about CoverCard?

We enable Australia’s blue collar workers (about 3.8 million of them) to digitise their hard-copy tickets and licences into usable data and then easily share that information with employers, colleagues and friends (including Facebook and LinkedIn integration).

Workers select from our robust ticket and licence library, which I believe is one of the most comprehensive in Australia.

Our launch product for employers leverages the same qualification library. We enable employers to filter applicants for advertised blue collar roles based on the tickets and licences required.

This means that rather than dealing with 500+ CVs that don’t meet the criteria, employers can just deal with the few that do. This can cut up to 90% from an employer’s current candidate screening time, depending on the existing process and number of applicants.

The employer launch product filters applicants for advertised roles and is not linked to the workers that are on our platform – they just may be a bonus.

With the proliferation of cheap or free online tools I really believe there are very few things that cannot be done if you have a start-up idea and want to test it out

How did you come up with the idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

I’ve long believed in the potential for technology to help bridge the gap between those in the office and those on the front-line (also known as the high rise – high vis gap).

When I met Jon Gwynne, a boilermaker and my co-founder, at a start-up networking event in Perth, the idea for CoverCard was born.

During more than ten years working in the WA mining industry, Jon had noticed the inefficiency and difficulty in managing all his hard-copy tickets, licences and inductions. They literally left his wallet overflowing.

Jon also knew that recruiters and employers were mainly only interested in what tickets he had. There was clearly an opportunity to help workers like Jon digitise that data and better match and filter candidates to employer requirements based on the same data.

Can you please explain your business model?

Our service is completely free for workers. We help them manage, present and share their qualifications. Workers receive a PDF summary of the details they provide and can use this to apply for jobs or share with friends or colleagues. We believe there’s real social value in giving workers this tool so we’ve made it free.

We charge employers a flat fee of $49 per job to use our service. Employers can use it as much or as little as they like for the same flat fee per job. Given we can cut many, many hours from the candidate short-listing process, and put all candidate information in consistent format, we believe this price pays for itself many times over.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?

We launched only a few weeks ago with a focus on attracting workers and we already have a steady stream joining CoverCard every day. I am now swinging my attention to promoting our launch product for employers (so very keen to hear from more!).

We’ve also attracted some early partners to join us and offer extra benefits to our members. Growth via partnerships with industry bodies and others has great potential so I am actively exploring this opportunity.

I am genuinely excited about where this journey will take us!

How do you make ideas happen?

With the proliferation of cheap or free online tools I really believe there are very few things that cannot be done if you have a start-up idea and want to test it out (even if you are non-tech like myself).

For example, we built a prototype website for CoverCard by combining a form building software called Logiforms and Squarespace. The prototype was very useful in demonstrating and testing our idea, including attracting people interested in working with us.

What role have mentors played in your business life?

I have a broad network of mentors who can challenge and assist in different areas. I’m not a believer that one mentor should be followed above all others. I think it’s all about picking up and synthesising a wide variety of ideas from different sources and then making the best decisions for your business.

What does your typical day look like?

Haha, that’s not an easy question! Obviously I wear a lot of different hats so the challenge is prioritising which tasks should get my attention first.

It doesn’t happen every day, but I like to get up and go for run to clear my mind for the day ahead. With no digital interruptions it’s also a good chance to reflect and have a think.

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What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

I think there can be a tendency to avoid risk in Australia, and often a reluctance to change. From talking with people around the start-up scene in Perth and Melbourne there’s no shortage of ideas and energy. I’m hopeful that the Innovation Statement released late last year can help continue to drive a greater acceptance of risk.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

I think there’s huge opportunity to keep on digitising things that we currently see remaining in hard copy format. Look what 1Form did to real estate tenancy applications, or closer to my industry what APE Mobile is doing in the construction and mining industries.

When you’re asked to print out a PDF form, fill it out and send it back – that’s the first indicator of an opportunity!

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

I think business and technology are crucial to affecting social change. There’s huge opportunity in this area and its great to see organisations like One10 popping up to support this push.

I’ve noticed the Techfugees movement is gathering momentum. They held a Start-Up Weekend-style of event in Sydney late last year, focussed on using tech to help solve problems refugees face. I’ve just signed up to join in Melbourne in April.

Speaking of affecting social change, Is there a particular charity you support?

I’ve long supported Oxfam and that will continue for a long time to come!

Can you name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

Most people probably know these already but there’s some great free or cheap resources out there that can help you get your idea off the ground:

Canva – Awesome design software for non-designers

Squarespace – Create a beautiful website, great for non-techies

Active Presenter – A great way to create screen capture videos and a range of other useful materials

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?

We’re very keen to hear from more employers who want to test out our system and give us feedback. We’re also very open to talking to partners and others interested in collaborating to help each other out.

We’re also very open to talking to partners and others interested in collaborating to help each other out.

You can contact me directly on (03) 9021 6848 or [email protected]

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?

How can we keep bridging the gap between corporates and start-ups? I think there’s been some big improvements in this area and it’s key to both helping corporates innovate and giving start-ups a leg-up.

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

I’ve been fascinated to see the recent rise of arcade-themed bars in inner-city Melbourne. Bartonica is one worth checking out.

Can you give us some links to more information about CoverCard?

On our website you can find how it works videos for workers and for employers.

We also have a short demo video of our filtering and matching and a longer end-to-end system demo video.

 

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