Lithuanian mobile workforce management solution Mobile Worker who had reached 15,000 B2C users in past year announced that it has raised €500,000 from two major Norwegian private holdings JBO Holding AS and Uni Micro Holding AS and developed a B2B version. Long before the announcement Mobile Worker already had more than 100 B2B clients signed up for their upcoming solution.
A private beta was released earlier to several B2B customers for testing. Yesterday Mobile Worker was officially released to public. The team is currently setting up businesses from the pre-order list, to be followed by an active sales campaign. Main customer locations are USA, Germany, Norway and Russia, most prevalent industry is construction. It is interesting to note that most B2B customers were prompted to sign up by their own workers who have been already using Mobile Worker B2C version individually.
Mobile Worker has grown out of a concrete need that a friend at Norway’s second biggest accountancy software Uni Økonomi once shared with Ramune Augute. Managing records of mobile workers like construction workers, service providers and handymen for accounting purposes was a cumbersome and unpleasant process for everyone involved. Workers did not have a time and opportunity to track and organizetheir records properly, often submitted imprecise or inappropriately structured reports on hours worked, work done and supportive documents. As a result, both their managers and accountants were frustrated.
“Mobile Worker Android app works offline and lets users track the time worked, register expenses and attach a photo or other relevant documentation.” Mobile Worker CTO Andrius Dirvanauskas explains. “As the device is online again, it syncs with Web client available to worker company’s administrator who can then decide how to treat hours and expenses for accounting purposes.”
This means that the worker does not have to give in almost any data – just tap the screen when the work is started and when it is finished, as well as to take a photo of receipts, invoiced and other relevant documentation. Expenses are non synced with electronic payment methods, so accountants still need to process each receipt manually. However, it is still a step forward in terms of handy data organisation. An iOS version of the app is coming in May.
Mobile Worker’s team consists of 8 people based in Lithuania – idea author Ramune Augute and experienced developers who were looking for a new challenge. The company also has a customer support office in Bergen, Norway. The two holdings that invested in Mobile Worker are financial investors and not involved in the business.
Uni Økonomi has become Mobile Worker’s first integration partner. Because Mobile Worker is just a data gathering solution and does not do accounting itself, it is important to obtain notable integration partners that would then offer Mobile Worker plug-in as a convenient addition to their clients. This handy integration has surely helped the team to appeal to Norwegian customers.
Mobile Worker sure isn’t the only tool trying to solve mobile workforce management problem. However, closest competition is focused on time-tracking alone and less on gathering contextual information for accounting purposes. American TSheets is in the business of mobile employee time tracking since 2006 and claims to be used for time tracking every 1.3 seconds. It only deals with time tracking till now, yet is seems to be doing it rather well. Another time-tracking solution ActTIME, owned by an American software development company ActiMIND is probably an inhouse solution made commercially public.
What comes closest to Mobile Worker is probably Harvest , a New York-based company incorporating time-tracking, billing and expenses in one solution. Mobile Worker sees its strength against competition in its intimate insights about construction and electricity industry. They also specialise on problems of handymen in particular, such as limited foreign language proficiency. Moreover, they are nimble enough to offer flexible product customization to meet customer needs.
Mobile Worker is available in 13 languages and this was part of the reason that helped it spread across 22 countries. In countries like Norway where a significant portion of construction workers are immigrants it provides the additional convenience for the worker to give in information in his own language.