Let me start with a full disclosure here: this is a rather personal post, although the self-reflection part was inspired by something very special – mCare Digital celebrates 11 years in business on the 1st of November this year. Even just the multiples of the digit ‘1’ bring about a kind of nostalgia that perhaps risking it all and starting a company with my brother all in the name of helping our father was simply meant to be.
The years leading up to the moment of this business being born were rather challenging. A significant fall out with a close friend was followed by a geographical relocation of my family as I found myself back in Sydney without a job or a clear direction. Shortly after, my father suffered a stroke and suddenly, the impermanence of life became more real than ever.
In moments like these you realise that there will never be a better time to do what you know you were always meant to pursue. Deep down, I always felt like running my own business would be the ultimate life journey of discovery, fun and freedom. Where I could truly align with my values and create something that’s inspired by my personal beliefs serving the greater good. Where what we do goes way beyond just being another product or service in the world.
Launching the mCareWatch in 2012 not only helped our father recover from his stroke by maintaining his independence but it also provided the kind of dignity that was important to him as a community leader in his area.
We soon realised just how many others are in the same situation – having ageing parents who don’t want to be put into a home just because they require supervision. The nature of the mCareWatch is that of being a GPS device, a smartwatch that can make and receive calls and of course having the customisable reminders feature, bridge the gap between worry and peace of mind; and these are only the basic features.
We knew making the technology accessible for the elderly and the smartwatch software easy to use, were key for increased adoption, which is directly tied to someone living independently in their home after illness or falls. Our journey has taken us down the path of talking to our immediate network of friends and acquaintances to explore who else could benefit from such a device. To our surprise, the list became quite extensive.
It was the catalyst for initiating our first production run. Although the early stages of mCare Digital were solely focused on solving problems for the ageing population, since then our solutions, the mCareWatch and mCareMate, have extended to other segments in society, such as those with disability and people experiencing domestic violence.
Key milestones as mCare Digital celebrates 11 years in business
We’ve become an approved NDIS provider and work with agencies and occupational therapists to integrate our devices, whether it be the mCareWatch or mCareMate pendant, into care plans. This work has been particularly rewarding as we’ve seen people’s lives transform with the help of our devices. This includes people who were born with disability but also those who acquired disability later in life.
Our technology was nominated in 2021 for the best assistive technology solution as part of the Australian Disability Service Awards and we’ve been fortunate to take home the runner up trophy.
Driven by our desire to help others, we’ve figured there were 2 other high-risk areas we could explore solving for: lone workers on the job and those subject to domestic violence. They carry a degree of uncertainty that technology could be useful for, which is why we’ve gone down the path of customising our solutions to be more discreet (operating in stealth or silent mode).
Our mission is to support those experiencing domestic violence to live safely in a socially inclusive environment while offenders are held accountable for their actions. And for those occasions of imminent danger, for our technology to be literally lifesaving.
We have had the privilege of collaborating with state government agencies and organisations, providing state-of-the-art duress alarm devices and services to support those in need. Although each state has a different way of working with people experiencing domestic violence, our technology has been safeguarded with all the necessary security and privacy upgrades in order to fulfill requirements set by the government and courts.
And as for the lone workers, their safety on the job is paramount. Being able to feel like help is only a press of a button away in cases of emergency provides that peace of mind not just for the worker but also the employer. We’ve been working with government departments in this space too enabling that all important support for those whose jobs require them to enter into often unpredictable and dangerous environments.
The team behind mCare Digital
But how did we get here, you might ask? Yes, the devices and software are what most people see when they interact with our brand but the heart and soul of the operation are the people behind the scenes. We lovingly joke sometimes that we’ve employed a United nations of assistive technology as our team is very diverse and collectively, comes from 4 continents and speaks 10 different languages.
They are the extension of our family and we often get together in person celebrating key milestones on our journey. However, we are and have always been advocates of remote work and support our staff in their location preferences. After all, what makes us show up every day at work isn’t so much the perks of a physical office space (although we love our 3pm tea time with biscuits every day) but rather the feeling of belonging to something bigger than us. A mission of helping those most vulnerable in our society who are often forgotten or misunderstood.
Over the years, we’ve also been feeling the pressures of growth. These came in all shapes and forms, including external capital, potentially being acquired and having to hire more staff, fast. Somehow, we’ve managed to remain even-keeled thus stepping into each chapter with more confidence and conviction. We are still bootstrapped and growing year on year (in both revenue and profit). We are grateful.
Thank you for your support over the years
There were times when we felt outsourcing our customer support to overseas was a great idea, yet we stuck to our guns and remained Australian owned and operated. There is nothing lost in translation when you talk with our very patient customer care team. We are also not rushing them to get off the phone because of some arbitrary KPIs. We like to talk to our customers and understanding their challenges helps us innovate. Think about it as combining service with research. And you bet, our customer care team is invited to our weekly meetings.
I know, a bit unconventional but it works for us. Perhaps we could think about us entering into the 11th year of operations as becoming a teenager. We are still learning, experimenting and exploring. Everything is personal – and we believe this to be a great thing!
There is something else that we need to acknowledge – the incredible support of our country’s media. From our very first feature in The Australian newspaper, being guests on The Today Show, the mCareWatch being featured on 10 News and so much more. But what we value the most is the unwavering support of our customers over the years, some who have been with us since the very beginning. Without you, none of this would’ve been possible.
Although our beloved father passed away in 2017, I’d like to think he is still guiding us and looking out for us. Just like he raised me and my siblings to show up for others, I am so grateful that we were able to show up for him first and foremost. It’s where everything started. We love you, Dad!