PARiM Ltd, headquartered in London and with growing teams in the UK as well as in Estonia, is developing a service that allows both large and small companies to manage staffing related issues effortlessly. Riko Muttik, one of the founders of the company explains what they are up to.
The idea is to provide a web-based, professional workforce management software. The goal is to replace the desktop-based management software with a web-based tool and to make software available in a more convenient manner to both small and large businesses by providing it as a rolling monthly subscription service.
Our software is aimed primarily at companies that provide labour as a service, such as cleaning, catering, security services, healthcare, organization of events, stadia management or labour rent enterprises.
Our long-term vision is to create a "PARiM ecosystem" for the provision of these services. If the staffing resource is provided by several companies and is, in part, subcontracted, in addition to internal personnel, companies will have the opportunity to exchange information and workforce planning using just ONE system.
Right now, we do not see any direct competitors in our particular niche.
If we consider micro-enterprises or smaller departments of larger firms as our target group, we would have to mention as our main competitors Deputy in the Australian market and Humanity as well as WhenIWork in the United States.
However, as the field of labour management is highly specific by industry sector, the overlap with these competitors is small and each one has its niche and target group.
The first problem that we started to solve was scheduling and shift management. We saw how many companies still used paperwork for scheduling and for monitoring shift hours. Using a paper-based process is labour intensive, especially if it is necessary to confirm the hours by both the service provider, the end-customer and the employee. As a result, both payroll and invoice management is much more time-consuming tasks than they need to be. This is definitely not a new problem, and various software solutions have been built to solve it.
However, very many companies have not found an easy-to-use and affordable software solution. Therefore, to meet that need, we have designed a modular system with an industry-leading user experience. Using the United Kingdom as our first market to test our product, we have seen that there are still quite a number of old software solutions that are inert and are still being sold, but their time is over. This is because in most cases, users are dealing with a rapidly ageing and time-consuming system that is no longer worth the cost of keeping up-to-date.
Higher than average volumes of data is a technical problem that plays a major role in our target group of medium and larger companies and organizers of events, security and hospitality. This establishes the need for very well-designed data transfer and data processing algorithms. While desktop solutions are limited by an individual computer´s or server's available resources, our online solution is limited by the capabilities of different web browsers and the differing levels of internet speed across the globe. What's easily possible to provide a desktop solution is more complicated to provide a web-based application.
For example, a lot of information needs to be referenced when drawing up humane work schedules: relevant laws, required qualifications and restrictions, features, positions and employee requirements. All of which requires a good set of algorithms to give a great user experience and fast task completion times
Today we can say that we have done a lot of work and solved this problem because the software has already been used for millions of hours and has carried out major international events.
The two principal founders are Riko Muttik and Risto Urb, who studied computer science at the University of Tartu. After university, their paths went off in separate directions but occasionally they met. The key meeting took place in 2011 in London. Initially, the two worked on separate projects, but soon they decided to combine the Urb´s experience in the management of software projects, and Muttik's strengths coming from his background in business. Thus PARiM was born.
A mentor was suggested along with a start-up loan from the UK government that we won. We were lucky to get a chance to work with an experienced local England businessman, David Duncan. Soon we proposed to David to join our team full-time and so a strong team was born. One in which each member covered distinct important responsibilities thanks to their experience.
We succeeded in obtaining first-rate loans to start-up companies guaranteed by the British government. In fact, we made history in the UK because at that time we received the largest start-up loan in history.
The next stage was to look for investors from inside the UK. At the same time, an Estonian investment group was interested in us. We quickly reached the same page with Estonians and in order to avoid excessive British bureaucracy, we decided to take investment from the Estonians.
Next, our colleague David Duncan joined the circle of investors. Altogether, at present, approximately EUR 1 million has been invested in the company.
We are currently preparing for the next round of investment, which will provide us with another boost to our growth. This is planned to be implemented in the second half of this year.
We offer a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product and customers can register to try it for free by just using their web browser. The only thing they need is an internet connection and a bank card. Billing is monthly and according to usage. Customers pay for the total work-shift hours that they enter into the system for that month. To make the software more affordable for businesses of all sizes, we have also made the software modular. We have built our software to consist of different modules so that the customer only pays for what they use.
Managing manpower requires a lot of different tools according to what you want to do: workforce scheduling, vacation and absence management, time management, event management, document management. You may not need everything.
Today, we can say that we have managed to validate the product in a very competitive marketplace. This is evidenced by solid sales revenue and contracted international clients from both the United Kingdom and the USA.
However, in today's technologically changing world, we consider our team to be the most valuable part of our enterprise. The fact is that nothing is certain today and problems or challenges are constantly evolving. A professional attitude and timely solutions are what today has brought us to where we are so far. I can safely say that the whole success to date has been based on a combination of a strong team, the strength of the idea we originally had and the chance and opportunity given to us by the market. The team is unanimously oriented towards a long-term strategy. This has helped us keep our emotions under control and avoid the rapid pace of money making, which could endanger the success of the long-term strategy.
We are moving into a growth phase and are looking for new team members today. Finding developers is the greatest need and a time-consuming process. We have been enthusiastic about the UK market and the ability of our to market itself as a market leader. While we currently have clients all over the world we need additional funding for entry into the US market and for leverage. One of the goals of involving this year's investment is to boost entry into the US market.
At least three-fold growth, both in terms of crew and turnover. In order to achieve this, we hope to involve new interesting team members and our investment partner in boosting