The iSeekplant.com.au platform, and its various tools and features, facilitates the connection between people with gear (plant hire companies and service providers with plant) and people who need to hire their gear, or employ their services (contractors, engineers, project managers, private hirers and commercial builders - just to name a few).
Hundreds of thousands of people in Australia's many construction industries (civil, commercial, residential, mining and agricultural construction) have made iSeekplant a part of their everyday work practices - and we are now the go-to online destination to source plant, equipment and services across Australia. If you need to find plant or services within the closest proximity to your job, to ensure your cost and productivity goals are met - then simply run a search on iSeekplant, and our system will provide you are list of the most suitable local suppliers.
Two civil engineers were standing on a fly-blow mine haul road job in Central Queensland in 2010, searching desperately to replace two broken-down elevating scrapers that were causing their bulk earthworks circuit to come to a grinding halt. This breakdown would go onto destroy their productivity for 3 days and erode the job’s profit margin substantially.
The senior civil engineer (Shaun Whittred) sent the junior engineer (Drew McPherson) back to the shed to start calling local plant hire companies in the area from his book of business cards, in the unlikely event that a nearby plant hire company had these specific scrapers sitting available in a yard. Drew, a Gen Y mobile-phone addict, remarked that there should be an online database of plant hire suppliers they could search to find the closest replacement scrapers quickly.
Drew & Shaun would work on this idea at nights, sleeping in their shared donga on FIFO contracts for 8 months. They called a mutual friend (Matt Peters) with an IT background and some spare time, and Drew's sister (Sally McPherson), who was a technology marketing professional working in Sydney, and together they built and launched the world's first online directory of plant hire suppliers.
They launched it in October 2012, working at nights and paying for it with their own credit cards.
The site launched with 14 searchable categories of yellow machines, but has grown to 74 categories (and we add two new categories per month, on average), allowing users to search for over 2,000 different classifications of construction machines and services across Australia.
The company would grow quickly and go onto attract investment from two of the biggest brands and businesses in industrial services - including Seven Group and Position Partners.
Macquarie’s investment will help us do a lot more of what we do best – which is drive more online enquiries to our customers through every means possible and ensuring our users find what they're looking for quickly and efficiently, using best-in-class technology. We already have over 507,000 visitors to our platform (September 19) – but we are going to ramp up our traffic and usage tactics exponentially.
iSeekplant is now owned and operated by a team of energetic and creative digital developers and online marketers who together have dominated local and international competition to be the highest ranked and most prolifically used marketplace in the plant and equipment space in the world. (Source: AHrefs, SEMRUSH, Moz.com)
To make finding an comparing suppliers for construction and mining projects easy, with technology that helps people pinpoint the best possible supplier in the closest proximity.
A commercial development guy, two civil engineers with over 43 years in earthmoving and a technology marketer came together one day and decided to take the construction industry online. As the business has grown, Matt, Sally and Drew run the day-to-day operations, under the guidance and governance practices of our Board of Directors. Our business is split into 5 teams: Sales and Business Development, User Growth, Product Development, Customer Delivery & Agency Services and our Finance and Operations Division. All are essential to delivering on our promise of finding construction suppliers more work online.
Sally was born into the quarrying industry in North Queensland the 1980s. One of her first memories was being lifted onto a sand stack at a quarry plant in Townsville in a Caterpillar 950B front-end loader bucket – her and the other kids of unsafe parents would ride cardboard boxes down the stockpiles for fun. You could do things like that in the 1980s without your site getting shut down. Her love of the industry started there.
She studied marketing at University and after graduating, got excited by the bright lights of Shanghai, then eventually came back to Sydney where she worked for Samsung and Microsoft in technology marketing.
It wasn’t until 2011, when founders Drew, Matt and Shaun came to her with their idea to take plant hire online, that she gladly returned reinvigorated her love of dusty demountable offices, the smell of grease, the straight-talking, no-nonsense, salt-of-the-earth industry she’d grown up in.
In 2012, she started writing about industry issues on iSeekplant’s company blog. It gathered steam quickly, as people started to like her funny, self-deprecating and well-written pieces about industry issues. Her Dad started calling her the ‘Flapping Mouth of Plant Hire’ – that nickname stuck, and now The Flapping Mouth Blog has tens of thousands of readers each week, and over 200,000 followers across social media.
Matt always had an entrepreneurial spirit – he just needed the right outlet. An enterprising university student, he set up a business selling schoolies t-shirts to kids on the Gold Coast, earning enough in 2 weeks to support him for the year while he studied his Bachelor of Business Management (including Computer Science for a year – which proved to be useful down the track) and MBA after graduation. He began his career in commercial property development which taught him about the economics of construction, selling and leasing commercial property while consulting to their raft of tenants to help develop their businesses within their projects.
His time in the development sector cultivated his commercial abilities and entrepreneurial aspirations. Working for someone else was always a means to an end – until the right idea came along in 2010. Shaun and Drew came to Matt with their idea for iSeekplant, and Matt agreed to research, concept and build the platform from his bedroom.
Matt is passionate about automation, efficiency, accuracy and doing things with the most up-to-date class leading technology available to our business. He has been instrumental in helping iSeekplant to discover a scalable and profitable business model.
Earthmoving and plant is in Drew’s blood. Drew’s first job was in his Father's crushing and screening business welding hard facing coating on loader buckets. Later graduating to changing manganese wear plates inside cone crushers. He and his sister Sally would spend every school holiday working there. This is where they both learned how to work with the myriad of personalities in plant hire, mining and construction.
Drew started a Civil Engineering Cadetship at 19 with Pac-Rim Crushing and Screening (Now Sedgman Metals). Drew worked his way through the cadetship, building mineral processing facilities throughout remote areas of Australia. A few years later he was thrust (somewhat accidentally) into running the construction phase of the largest crushing contract ever awarded to Sedgman Metals crushing division at the Rio Tinto site in Mt Isa in 2002. He was only 21.
From there, Drew did his Masters of Civil Engineering at night, and after graduating, worked for Seymour Whyte and then Golding Contractors and a Project Engineer, where he and his supervisor Shaun Whittred dreamed up the concept iSeekPlant.
iSeekplant’s early years were funded by the founders, family, former colleagues and friends – most of whom hail from the construction and mining industries. In 2013, we met the legends at Position Partners Pty Ltd. A forward-thinking technology business in civil and mining, we shared the same audience, culture and the vision for our industry. Position Partners invested and gave us the legitimacy and scale we needed to take our business national.
In 2015, Seven Group Holdings joined as investors in iSeekplant. The synergies were obvious - with their existing properties spanning media, construction and mining, they agreed with us that construction procurement, across all the products, services, machines and commodities, was indeed ripe for a ‘shake-up’. They backed us as the team to make that ‘shake-up’ happen.
In 2017, the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) joined as shareholders shortly after the Seven Group – supporting us as a Queensland-based technology business that was gaining national traction, employing trained Queenslanders and developing world-class technology.
Then in late 2019, Macquarie Group joined Seven Group, Position Partners and the QIC as our latest strategic investor. Macquarie’s investment will deliver growth capital to iSeekplant and support the company’s strategy and scaling plans.