Melbourne startup BlueQ is on a mission to make junior sporting clubs safer and more efficient

A Melbourne startup is on a mission to improve safety-screening measures at junior sporting clubs and make the administration process smoother and more efficient.

BlueQ offers a platform that digitises compliance checks, allowing clubs and organisations to keep this information up-to-date and in one place, CEO Nathan Merzvinskis says.

“We brought qualification data online so you never have the problem of losing [it and get] expiry reminders to renew those,” Merzvinskis tells StartupSmart.

Since founding the startup in 2014, Merzvinskis and co-founder Hugh Krantz have raised $100,000 in seed funding and secured a $30,000 grant from the City of Melbourne.

The startup is based out of Melbourne co-working space York Butter Factory and now has acquired more than 3000 users and 30 client organisations across the education, hospitality, healthcare and sports and recreation sectors.

Krantz says that until now junior clubs have had unreliable and ad hoc systems in place to ensure their trainers and volunteers are properly screened.

“We spoke to one sporting association that kept working with children checks on a phone,” Krantz tells StartupSmart.

This leaves the system open for failure and correption, Merzvinskis says.

“Managing qualification data is not an appealing role particularly in coaching clubs where coaches are volunteers,” he says.

So the two entrepreneurs created BlueQ as a tool that digitises hard copy checks and provides a way to lighten the administrative burden and streamline the process of ensuring people working at children’s sporting clubs have valid and current safety checks to do so.

To ensure these are valid, Krantz says the startup also runs a free auditing process to cross check databases with certification providers to ensure individuals on their system have actually completed them.

“It’s an extra level of protection,” he says.

The platform offers two account types, one for individuals in any sporting context to register their working with children checks or first aid certificates and receive expiry reminders to ensure these are updated periodically, and another for organisations and clubs to “have oversight and aggregate all that data in the one spot”, Krantz says.

Krantz and Merzvinskis both worked at schools before launching the startup and experienced the problem of storing and updating an array of checks, certificates and qualifications firsthand.

“It became a real hassle to check if we’re compliant,” Merzvinksis says.

Since launching in January this year, BlueQ has been picked up by several junior sport clubs, including South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL), which has more than 1800 coaches, trainers and volunteers.

SMJFL general manager Jake McCauley says the platform will become incredibly useful in junior sport across the country.

“Giving our coaches and trainers their own accounts to manage their accreditations is a great feature that will make them more proactive in ensuring their accreditations are up-to-date and valid,” McCauley says.

“I hope that BlueQ becomes the industry standard for qualification and accreditation management nationally, to help increase the compliance levels in junior sport.”

The co-founders are now working to drive up their user base to 50,000 and generate $100,000 in revenue by the end of this year.

“We want to be the gold standard of digital qualification – we’d like to increase the compliance levels of all junior sporting clubs across the country,” Krantz says .

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