Duty of care empowered by a beautiful idea
Everything about the development of CareMonkey shows that a desire to do good can inspire entrepreneurs with the next big idea.
By his own admission, Troy Westley was born 20 years too early. He graduated from Monash University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Computing) at a time of brick-sized mobile phones, no worldwide web and punch-card-coded computers. The time of the internet entrepreneur had yet to arrive.
Instead, he joined the workforce as a computer programmer, but succumbed quickly to an interest in business development and sales. He bided his time with global powerhouses such as Oracle and Google. Then, when the technology dominoes were aligned, he struck out on his own with the kind of idea that subsequently has people wondering why no-one thought of it before.
‘It’ is CareMonkey, a cloud-based service that revolutionised the administration of duty-of-care forms, achieving the same thing Twitter did for social chitchat – it made the information available at everyone’s fingertips in a timely, efficient manner. Westley basically invented the social care network.
The company’s earliest customers were schools facing the challenges of using paper forms to administer information about life-threatening medical conditions among students, particularly allergies and asthma.
CareMonkey provides parents with updateable digital forms they share with teachers who can access the information via a browser in the classroom, on excursions or away at camps anywhere in the world. Access is even available via a smartphone app with no internet connection. CareMonkey can – and has – helped save lives.
The scope of the service has since grown to include every conceivable type of duty-of-care form, including staff service forms. The client base, too, has expanded.
“Schools, sporting clubs, church and scouting groups are enthusiastic adopters, with Monash among CareMonkey’s thousands of social care networks,” Westley says. Community service providers and the disability sector are now also on board, with users of the Melbourne-based company located around the world, including in the UK, the US, Canada and as far afield as Kazakhstan.
More than a business
Organisations access CareMonkey via an annual subscription. However, there’s another face to the company. As a father of seven children, Westley knows first-hand the importance of sharing life-saving medical information with family members or even babysitters.
“We need to generate an income, of course, but the company also offers a free service to parents to help them share important information within the family,” Westley says. “I love that we offer the free service. It contributes to the satisfaction I get from running the company.”
In a delightful twist, it was this family-based need that actually provided the inspiration for CareMonkey. Westley recalls discovering his son’s asthma action plan uselessly stuffed into a home-office filing cabinet. That was the day he first envisioned CareMonkey.
In just five years, the company has transformed from a struggling start-up to the winner of multiple awards, including the prestigious Talent Unleashed 2015 competition judged by Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. CareMonkey’s international reach is growing, and Westley now uses his experience to mentor entrepreneurs.
Students at Monash Business School can look out for him, as Westley is known to return to his alma mater to provide an insider’s perspective on how to make caring a source of inspiration for a successful internet start-up.