Tech start-up of the week: JamJou

26 Jan 2015

Pictured is Jo Brennan, founder of JamJou with Jim Murphy, CEO of PREM Group

Our tech start-up of the week is JamJou, an online training application using gaming mechanics and real-life work scenarios to deliver training to organisations.

JamJou applies the use of gaming mechanics to enhance employee engagement with training and retention of information.

With 70 per cent of customers no longer using a company after a bad service experience, JamJou is currently being used for customer service, sales and product training.

It can be used on its own or to complement existing training programmes.

A cloud based system with no requirement for the installation of costly software,JamJou is simple, easy-to-use and one of the first training tools where management have real time access to staff skills assessment.

The market

“We are targeting organisations with large numbers of front line staff who are challenged with the cost of removing staff from the front line for training purposes, getting staff engaged in training and who also question the value of training,” explained founder Jo Brennan.

“Our solution using real life work scenarios brings fun, relevant, engaging training that can be completed across any mobile device.  

“Our solution can be used across multiple industries and we already have strong interest from hospitality, retail, financial services and contact centres in Ireland and the UK.”

The founders

JamJou was created by founder Jo Brennan and her business partner, John Costello, lead developer of JamJou.

Brennan worked at senior management level in sales, business development, marketing and training at some of the world’s leading technology companies, including Dell and Oracle.

Having always wanted to strike out on her own, she set up her own company delivering training in sales, customer service and management coaching to large organisations in 2008 before founding JamJou in early 2014.

Inspired by her son’s interest and engagement with gaming apps for entertainment and education, and her research into games’ ability to deliver rich data back to the creator, Jo took a gamification and scenario approach to her training product.

The technology

Jamjou uses gaming mechanics and real life work scenarios to deliver training to organisations. 

“We use interactive gaming features such as animated characters, real life work scenarios, levels, points, leaderboards to engage staff which drives their performance. Our solution also acts as an effective management tool as real time data points alert business managers to areas of skill or knowledge weakness.

“Users can log in using any mobile device and complete their training either in the workplace or on the go. They receive instant feedback through scoring points on their learning and can see how their colleagues are doing through a leaderboard.

“With attention spans shrinking in today’s hyper-tech world, JamJou’s training levels can be completed in three to four minutes. Users are retaking levels to improve scores which reinforces the training.

“Training levels are released on successful completion and content refreshed over time to continually drive behavioural change and update workforce knowledge,” Brennan explained.


Identified as ‘High Potential Start Up’ by Enterprise Ireland, JamJou hopes to capitalise on the rapidly growing gamification and eLearning markets, both set to grow by 37 pc and 23pc respectively by 2020.

Following an initial investment of €100,000, Kilkenny based JamJou plans to grow the business from two to 11 employees over the next three years with expected revenues of €1.5 million, primarily from export to the US and UK markets.

“The dream is to be the number one next generation learning tool across the globe. By working through real life work scenarios users become aware of how they are behaving in a safe online environment. We want to help drive positive behaviour change to customers and to co-workers so everybody benefits” said Brennan.

Early adopters

Suited to a range of industries, JamJou has seen initial interest primarily from Hospitality, Retail, Contact Centres and Financial Services sectors across Ireland and UK.

One of the early adopters of this new technology is PREM Group, specialists in managing hotels and service apartments with 32 properties spanning Ireland, England and Northern Europe.

The group is using JamJou for customer service and sales training in Ireland and the UK, with a rollout to other European countries planned for later this year.

“We are very excited about this product and have seen a positive effect on our business,” said Jim Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of PREM Group.  

“‘Mystery Shopper’ inspections have found real behavioural change with front line staff who have trained with JamJou and feedback from users has been excellent.

“We see this as an innovative and fun way to deliver training and JamJou as the future of training in hospitality”

A further 18 companies are trialling JamJou and initial interest is very strong in Ireland and the UK.

To scale up the business JamJou will be looking for investment from angel investors to come on board over the next six months to help target the UK and US markets.

“There are many challenges that you must overcome after the excitement of seeing your idea coming to fruition – finding first paying customers, finance, finding right skills sets to build your software product. You will get many ‘tyre kickers’ but most important are those who will commit their time or money. “

Talk to customers

Brennan said the start up scene is vibrant and there is a huge amount of information from various support and launch pad groups.

“The great thing about Ireland is that it is small so you can get access to some very senior people for advice quite easily. The most important thing is to stay focused on your business and not get distracted with the amount of information and events out there for start ups.

“There are a lot of people willing to offer advice and help, Enterprise Ireland have been a great support to us. We are very lucky in Ireland to have such support behind start-ups as I have met start ups from other countries who do not get the same support.”

Her advice for start-ups is to have an unwavering focus on the customers.

“It can be daunting at first when you have an idea and you are not sure how far it will go. But you have to be brave and get out and talk to potential customers.

“If they are saying yes to your idea then you have something. You don’t need to spend anything to tell prospects about your idea. I started with PowerPoint slides before I went near any software development.

“Stay focused, believe in what you have to offer. Listening to potential customers is paramount to building the right product,” Brennan said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years