Making it Work: DCU spinout in €1m plan to scale up ‘diagnostic workplace scan’

Cloud-based platform Wrky allows firms to find out how their staff are getting on in a secure and anonymised way

Paddy Doyle, Brian Slattery and Barry Gordon, founders of Wrky

Wrky is a cloud-based HR platform designed to understand how people are experiencing their workplace in the moment and provide that information to its client companies.

The business was launched in July 2020 by Brian Slattery, Barry Gordon and Paddy Doyle.

“My PhD is in behavioural science, and the focus of my career involved finding good information and evidence about how people were getting on health-wise,” Slattery said. “I realised that we typically spend a third of our lives working, so I reckoned there was no reason why we couldn’t apply the same level of support and scrutiny to the workplace.

“The idea was percolating away for six years before we developed Wrky. We capture information from employees about how they are getting on in the job themselves, and how they are getting on with others. They can input their answers through our mobile app, through survey links via email, or via text messaging. All the information is anonymised.”

The Dublin City University spinout is in the process of raising €1 million to aid its growth.

“Our mission is to scale the company. We’ve got a few customers on board, and now we want to build out our engineering and sales team to bring Wrky to the market. We’ve got six staff and are looking to bring on an additional 12,” Slattery said.

“We’re already working with one Europe-wide company and we’re looking at expanding in Europe, the US, and Britain.”

Slattery believes there will be increasing need for services like Wrky as companies try to adapt to the Great Resignation, the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in the wake of the pandemic.

“It’s a way for employers to learn about their people in a secure and anonymised way. They can identify issues, or understand successes and try to replicate them.

“All of the information is collected in real time, so companies get insights overnight. It’s like a diagnostic scan of the workplace. It can be used to recommend what a company needs to do.”

Wrky is working on developing its platform to add more artificial intelligence features and make the offering more appealing to a wider market.

The business is working with the Enterprise Ireland office in San Francisco to aid its US expansion. That market, in particular, is one that Slattery believes will find Wrky appealing, as the product is suited to non-office workers.

“In the US alone, 60 per cent of the workforce is mobile. They need certain features that aren’t baked into the incumbent HR platforms, like simplicity and text messaging,” he said.

“We want to become one of the most recognised platforms for frontline and deskless workers.”