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Start-up prepares businesses for Australia’s natural disaster season

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 | By Rose Powell

With bushfires already burning around the edges of Sydney, Australia’s natural disaster season has arrived early this year, and businesses need to prepare for how to survive the worst case scenarios.


Michael French’s start-up idea emerged during the Brisbane floods in 2011.


With the office of his 20-plus year old digital marketing company only kilometres away, French watched the water in his flooded home street swirling and realised business owners needed a way to quickly check that all of their systems were still functioning.


He started building what became his Bizeo app, which launched earlier this year. Essentially a dashboard app, Bizeo monitors all available data from servers to engines on key machinery, to temperature to exchange rates and social media.


“Business owners spend a lot of their time running around checking on things, but this does it for them, and gives them a single indicator that everything is alright,” French says. “Bizeo monitors the status and data across your whole enterprise, and watches everything at once.”


As the waters receded and Brisbane began to clean up the mess, many businesses struggled to stay afloat. French realised he could add more functions to the dashboard.


“Our cashflow was struggling as our debtors blew out and our sales pipeline struggled as many Brisbane groups went under,” French says. “Bizeo now plugs into your CRM, accounting and social media systems.”


Bizeo received a $200,000 grant from Commercialisation Australia last year. French used the funds to hire a business development manager, and file for intellectual property protections such as trademarks and patents.


French says he realised he would need a strong sales team and partner network as one of the key challenges facing the company has been launching dashboard into an already crowded marketplace.


“Getting people’s attention to have a look at it can be tough because there are so many options out there. But once they see it in action, they get sold on it. People don’t want more dashboards but we solve the dashboards problem by only having one,” French says.


This marketing angle inspired the Bizeo team to pivot their focus from small to medium enterprises to large businesses after they realised big businesses were often struggling to manage multiple dashboards.


“We thought the big corporates would have their dashboards sorted, but we discovered a lot either had none or they had so many they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. We started getting a lot of traction in the large corporates, and pursued that,” French says.


Bizeo is currently working with clients in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Mexico and London.


“The demand has been high and we’re expanding out partner network to meet it. We had someone sign up for the service in Abu Dhabi this morning, so we should probably start advertising internationally too,” French says.