A Wellington startup founded by an emergency-room doctor has won backing from Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 fund and Lance Wiggs' Punakaiki Funds.
Dr Stephen Pool's Core Schedule is raising $1 million from the pair, plus a third, un-named investor, who have collectively taken a 25 per cent stake at a $4m post-money valuation (Punakaiki will have the largest stake, with a 17.5 per cent holding, as the deal closes).
The company has also been awarded $172,000 by MBIE's Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund.
The startup's eponymous, cloud-based software is used for rostering staff.
The four-year-old company was conceived by US ex-pat Pool when he was working in an ER in New York a decade ago, and wanted to find easier, more flexible rostering software.
Finding none, he became a self-taught programmer and created the program today known as Core Schedule.
The software, which is charged at US$375 per month for a licence covering up to 40 staff, offers mod-cons like custom reporting, txt alerts, and photo boards so everyone literally sees who is working when - essential when the right person with the right credentials has to be at the right place at the right time in a hospital with hundreds of staff.
Over the past couple of years, it's gained a solid base. It's now used in 80 hospitals across the US and Australasia, including 14 DHBs in NZ.
Its testimonials run from doctors at American medical centres to the head of ER at Wellington Regional Hospital in Pool's adopted hometown (he and his partner moved here seven years ago following a honeymoon in NZ).
But coronavirus chaos, which has seen hospitals everywhere lose staff at short notice to illness or quarantine, has given the product extra urgency.
"When Covid-19 hit, most hospitals painfully learned that their existing rosters - frequently maintained on spreadsheets) were completely inadequate to the task. So it was no surprise that we had our busiest three months during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown."
Pool and his 14 staff (eight in Wellington and four in Brisbane) will use the new funds, in part, to develop disaster contingency rostering tools for hospitals to help plan their rosters in advance for any level of disaster response and not wait until it happens.
The new money will be used to hire marketing staff in Australia, and to add more features for dealing with Covid chaos.
In the meantime, Pool is using the current version of his own company's product all the time. He left full-time medicine in 2017 to focus on his CEO duties at Core Schedule but still works per diem at Wellington Regional Hospital's ER, where he can be found most weekends.
Most other medical staff in NZ are also using his company's software, or at least being managed by it.
"We introduced our new Anaesthesia and Operating Theatre modules in Middlemore Hospital this last year, giving Core Schedule a presence in just about every type of ward and unit throughout NZ hospitals," Pool says.
His per diem work has allowed him to be "front and centre" for elements of our outbreak.
"We've been lucky," he says. "I worked in hospitals in New York for 20 years, and talking to ex-colleagues there now it's like Third World."
NZ has still had its fair share of Covid rostering challenges, however, including in early March, when 54 staff at North Shore Hospital had to be stood down for two weeks, Pool notes.
He won't give any financials for the privately-held Core Schedule but says the company has had 100 per cent growth for the past two years and anticipates the same trajectory for the next two.
All going well, it will breakeven for the first time in 12 months, its founder says.