Startup of the Week: WorkSober
This week we are glad to present a Lithuanian startup called WorkSober. It is a sobriety testing system based on the best practices and adapted for the specifics of various sectors. In this interview, the CEO and Co-founder Darius Didžgalvis explains how this IT solution works and how it can even help people with addictions. It’s already more than 200 companies that use WorkSober service and numbers keep growing!
So what is Worksober? How does it work?
To comply with the Labor Code and to have efficient employees, companies need to ensure that every person arriving at work is sober. Of course, this needs to be done without too much hassle. Worksober.com (or dirbkblaivus.lt in Lithuanian) is much more than a simple breath analyzer.
It is a sobriety testing system based on the best practices and adapted for the specifics of various sectors. Additionally, it is a time accounting system that also helps to integrate access control solutions. Overall, it is a modern online breathalyzer that has access to control management and real-time face recognition features. The platform is easy to use and integrate into other systems. It functions as a service, so no equipment is required for purchase.
All that the client needs to do is ensure that an employee goes to the device and performs the test. The employee’s face is then recognized, and information on sobriety and time of arrival/leaving is automatically collected and given to authorized persons. No worries about the calibration of equipment, software updates, installment of new features – we take care of that.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Globally, our competitors include manufacturers of breathalyzers, such as Draeger, Lionlaboratories, SentechKorea. But they just sell the equipment and don’t focus on service. Their primary devices are not connected to centralized systems and only perform the tests.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
With the rise of employee-related costs, increasing demand for better management of the risks associated with intoxicated employees, and more and more companies outsourcing the services that are not directly related to their primary business, a need for trustworthy, automated breath analyzing system has arisen. In the meantime, the transition to the Internet of Things was happening. Once the companies have realized that buying things is in the past, and to truly solve the problems they have to
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We have launched our service for more than four years ago. The biggest challenge was to turn the great idea into a reliably functioning service that is capable of handling big loads of data, while simultaneously ensuring exceptional customer service. We began in Lithuania, where we worked with huge companies having thousands of employees – the largest fertilizer producer in the Baltics – Achema; Vilnius Public Transport, which carries over half a million passengers every day. Ensuring excellent management of risks associated with intoxicated employees, and smooth operation of processes were our biggest ambitions since day one.
The service is adapted for transport, manufacturing, construction, and security sectors. Our target market is medium and large companies in these sectors. Worksober.lt can also be used by smaller companies that wish to control their employees remotely. This service also helps to solve social issues, so we expect a higher interest from establishments that work with addicted people. Currently, the geography of our service fully covers Lithuania, and we are expanding to other countries of the EU with the help of Lithuanian companies that have branched out abroad and, of course, our international partners.
What are the main challenges while working on this product, and how are you overcoming them?
We always challenge ourselves to be one step ahead. We achieve this by being as modern and as flexible as possible so that we can always satisfy the evolving needs of our clients. We also aim to get a competitive advantage over other players in the market, and we have accomplished that by providing more than sobriety tests, thus creating more added value. We are on a constant lookout for new solutions that will allow our clients to focus on their success by trusting us with what our specialty is.
Our strength lies in our DNA – at our core, we are an IT solution. We thus are not dependent on the most prominent manufacturers of breathalyzers, which are hardly ever flexible and often struggle with transforming themselves to accommodate the needs of the current markets.
By creating our product from equipment to platform and, simultaneously, providing automated sobriety testing service, we can ensure compatibility, simplicity, and complimentary benefits, such as factual time accounting feature and integration with access control systems.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
The company was founded by three shareholders who believed in the idea and didn’t choose the most straightforward way of re-selling things. They patiently invested in the enterprise, never prioritizing quick returns, but rather eager to grow the company and the geography of its operations.
Currently, we are at the stage of having developed great products and a steady client base in Lithuania, which allows the company to function independently. We are now ready to begin looking for first external investments that will help us to expand into other countries.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
We are happy to have found like-minded people at the very beginning. Their experience ranged in service provision, telecommunications, and IT sectors. This has allowed us to position the company and define the product correctly. Then, a lot of effort has been put into creating innovative management and technical teams that made the initial ideas come true.
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
Here are some numbers:
Clients buying the service (companies) > 200
Employees regularly tested > 70.000
Our revenue is generated almost solely from monthly service fees. These do not include re-selling or one-time projects, and thus are much more sustainable.
Revenue 2017 > 100.000 EUR
Revenue 2018 > 300.000 EUR
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
The service has been thoroughly and successfully tested in Lithuania. The clients value it and see its added values. The next step is to take this practice into other countries. And, of course, to keep improving the service – and we have plenty of ideas for it.
Thank you for the interview!