Richard Harris: Okappy Applies Social and Market Networking Technology to a Real Business Need

August 9, 2022

Okappy applies social and market networking technology to a real business need. The need to communicate and collaborate when working with employees at different locations, when working with multiple subcontractors and when working for different clients.

By connecting on Okappy, companies are transforming how they work through increased transparency and trust, streamlined processes and a reduction in administration costs, duplication and errors.

Ultimately our mission is to give companies complete control of every job, every step of the way.

Tell us about yourself?

I worked in investment banking and management consultancy for the first part of my career. However, I have always been interested in building companies and when the opportunity arose to study for an Executive MBA and then leave the large corporate world to set up my own company, I jumped at the chance.

My first venture was a vehicle tracking solution which helped companies monitor, protect and better utilise their workers. However, I quickly saw that there was an even bigger opportunity to connect companies with their customers, employees and subcontractors to better manage work done by internal employees and external subcontractors.

As the network grew, we divested Okappy, raised funding and have been growing it since.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

My advice would be to not be too concerned about the short term ups and downs and concentrate on the bigger picture. It has been a difficult time, but there is no point worrying about circumstances out of your control.

There are always opportunities, the key is to keep improving what you do, be determined and focused and ensure the foundations are set so you are ready and able to grab opportunities as they arise.

What problem does your business solve?

Field Service Management Software can work well within a company but quickly falls down when more companies are involved in the work. 

Information is often duplicated between different systems leading to increased costs, inefficiencies and errors. Work can get missed and invoices can be delayed or disputed.

Companies have tried to solve this problem using a patchwork of tools from the likes of Google Calendar, Dropbox and Slack. However, this creates more problems with information becoming fragmented across lots of different applications.

We believe no one provides a complete, unified and focused solution. Dedicated to helping companies manage their work, whether done by internal employees or external subcontractors.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Okappy was initially developed as a feature within a fleet management company. A lot of our customers worked in the trades and were facing problems chasing paperwork, with jobs getting missed and with invoices being delayed or disputed. They started saying to me “Richard, you’re tracking my vehicles, can you also track my jobs”.

We started developing the job tracking functionality but quickly realised that it wasn’t just our own customers that wanted to use the platform, they also wanted to connect to their subcontractors and customers and share the status of their work.

That’s when we hit on the idea of a connected platform which combines the benefits of a social network, market place and software as a service to help companies better manage their work. We created a new company, Okappy, and started developing the connected platform in its own right.

What is your magic sauce?

Our magic sauce is the market network. We apply social technology which enables companies to build their profile and network.

This is combined with a managed market place which allows companies to connect to their partners. The final ingredient is the application of our cloud based software as a service which provides the tools to manage work.

Existing field service software is isolated within each company. Even if two companies are using the same software, information has to be copied from one company’s system to the other. This leads to cost, duplication and errors.

We believe Okappy is the only software which provides a complete, unified and focused solution dedicated to helping companies manage their work, whether done by internal employees or external subcontractors.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our aim over the next few years is to double revenues and raise a series A round. This will allow us to expand into new markets and target larger enterprise customers.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Okappy has been very successful with over 75,000 company connections made on the platform. Companies are connecting to similar companies so they can work together and compete with the big boys in their industries.

They are connecting to their subcontractors so they can manage their work and they’re connecting to their own customers so they can share the status of their work in real-time and provide the best customer service available.

The biggest challenge we face is convincing the larger companies on the platform to not just receive information from our customers but to act as order makers themselves.

A lot of the companies we come across are very set in their ways, they are stuck with old ways of working and prefer to pass the cost and effort on to their suppliers rather than work together for the benefit of all.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We would like to work with managed service providers to help promote Okappy to larger companies and provide implementation and support. Find out more at https://www.okappy.com/partners/

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