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B.C. startup offers ‘contactless screening’ as workplaces re-open

Traction Guest’s latest tech comes following a US$13m raise last year

Walking into an office, signing one’s name at reception and shaking hands with the first person to offer a greeting might feel like a lifetime ago amid the pandemic.

“We think the days of visiting a location without following mandated health and safety precautions are going away or gone,” said Keith Metcalfe, CEO of Traction Guest Inc.

“Now everybody’s in the position of saying, ‘Those [days] are gone, now what do I do?’”

His Burnaby-based startup specializes in visitor management technology for companies like Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX), and last year raised US$13 million in a Series A financing round.

But the appeal of touching a communal iPad sprinkled with others’ fingerprints has obviously waned during the pandemic.

And with economies throughout the globe slowly re-opening, the prospect of entering offices and other worksites could be significantly less safe that just two months ago.

Traction Guest’s latest tech could alleviate some of those concerns with a what it describes as a “contactless screening” platform.

For guests who’ve already been invited to an office, they’ll receive an email with all the details of their visit, such as safety requirements.

Visitors will need to click on a link that takes them to a registration portal and they can then use their smartphone to scan in on a company iPad without touching any surfaces.

The registration portal, accessed through a web application, takes visitors to a company’s customized website that might do everything from require visitors to sign documents to watch a safety video before being permitted to enter.

Walk-in visitors face a similar process, except they’ll use their smartphone to scan a QR code on the company iPad first before the registration portal appears.

After signing in, the platform could be used to instruct people to wait in a designated area.

“When you come into a location, regardless of what it might be, there is now more than ever a need to have people sign in and sign out for record purposes,” Metcalfe said.

“However, people generally don’t want to be touching what other people have already touched.”

Between the Series A round and the beginning of the pandemic, Traction Guest saw its headcount grow from around 40 workers to about 90 workers as it opened offices in Seattle and Dublin.

Metcalfe said clients that already had strict regulations about entries into job sites, such as certain manufacturing or food-processing facilities, have been particularly busy during the pandemic.

As workplaces start to re-open, he expects increased health concerns will translate into increased demand for the company’s technology.

Traction Guest was incubated by Traction on Demand, one of B.C.’s largest software firms, which helps companies implement marketing strategies using the Inc. customer relationship management service.

CEO Greg Malpass told Business in Vancouver in 2016 his goal was for Traction on Demand to launch 100 spinoffs over the next decade.

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