This start-up is trying to tackle companies’ admin woes

22 Jul 2019

Gareth Macklin. Image: TechWatch

Obbi Solutions is one of 12 finalists in the upcoming Invent 2019 competition. TechWatch’s Emily McDaid spoke to founder Gareth Macklin to find out more.

Gareth Macklin is a self-described family man. He has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to working for his family business, the Macklin Group.

The company employs 650 people in healthcare, hospitality and construction. Macklin is from Randalstown, Co Antrim, but the business is based in Belfast.

The years of business acumen that he has accrued are now helping Macklin with a new venture in software development.

‘Unable to buy what we needed, we embarked on developing it and came up with Obbi’

“We had a requirement for a software to assist [in the running of] our business. Unable to buy what we needed, we embarked on developing it and came up with Obbi,” he says.

The end product of that homegrown effort, Obbi Solutions, digitises business processes in HR, operations, and health and safety. “It improves people productivity, reduces costs, and improves compliance and risk management,” Macklin adds.

Macklin is a driven individual, with an aim of doing things for the greater good. “For my next adventure my team have challenged me to jump out of an aeroplane in August to raise money for two charities, the Alzheimer’s Society and MyMy (Mind Your Mate & Yourself).”

When asked what he does in his free time, Macklin immediately jumps to describing his family.

“I married Rose and have two young children, Patrick and Grace. They are my world. Bikes, beaches, sandcastles, swimming, slides. I come home from work and I get jumped on by the kids, and my focus reverts to them – that’s pretty much my life. I also play a bit of golf, surf and I love to snowboard.”

From a young age, Macklin has been business-focused. “When I was much younger in school I was running events, offering ticketing systems to concerts and discos. I was always into selling, right through school,” he says.

I ask how Obbi became involved with the Invent competition.

“We heard about the contest and attended the semi-finals last year. I told my team that our 12-month goal was to be a finalist in Invent 2019. And here we are,” Macklin says.

About Obbi Solutions

  • The software has three key modules: Talent Guardian, Compliance Guardian and Incident Guardian
  • Launched in spring 2018, it serves clients in hospitality, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and sports. Customers hail from Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and Ireland, and include Decora Blinds and Creagh Concrete
  • The cloud-based software automates key business functions: onboarding, training, audits, health and safety processes, team communication and engagement, and risk management and mitigation
  • The software aims to achieve reductions in admin and onboarding time, while increasing staff retention

By Emily McDaid, editor, TechWatch

A version of this article originally appeared on TechWatch

Obbi Solutions is a finalist in the annual Invent competition run by Catalyst, aiming to showcase the best and brightest innovators that Northern Ireland has to offer. Invent 2019 will take place on Thursday 10 October in Belfast, where 12 finalists will battle it out for a £33,000 prize fund.

TechWatch by Catalyst covered tech developments in Northern Ireland