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[PRESS MENTION] Jostle appoints WestJet co-founder Don Bell as chairman

Jostle, the Vancouver-based developer of enterprise intranet software, is getting some help from 20,000 feet.

Best known for co-founding WestJet Airlines in 1995, Don Bell is joining Jostle as the new chairman of the board.

The company develops a cloud-based “People Engagement platform” that replaces traditional intranets, or internal company websites, and primarily competes with social enterprise networks such as Yammer.

Mr. Bell has been a Jostle investor and director since 2009.

“At this stage of Jostle’s growth, it is Don’s pragmatic understanding of what it takes to scale a business that is most important, [and] his passion for helping leaders create companies with vibrant cultures that enable employees,” said Jostle co-founder and CEO Brad Palmer.

“He really was the guy that architected [WestJet's] culture and made it work.”

Mr. Bell’s appointment comes just three months after Jostle raised $3.1-million in Series A funding — not from venture capital funds, but all from private investors. The round raised Jostle’s total funding to date to $4.6-million, with the remainder coming from private investors as well.

Now totalling 16 employees, Jostle is developing a mobile version of its platform with a part of the funds, Mr. Palmer says, which is currently in testing, as well as a new addition to the Jostle platform called Discussions.

Similar to functionality found in Yammer and Campfire, Discussions allows teams, departments and employees to chat with one another in real-time. He called it the “last missing plank” Jostle’s customers have been looking for.

“We weren’t starting from that Facebook premise, but a deep understanding of how teamwork and culture actually happen,” said Mr. Palmer, which is part of the reason why the company still refers to its product as an intranet, and a not a social network — even though there are social elements.

Mr. Palmer said Jostle is currently being used by a wide and disparate set of customers — the smallest has five employees, and the largest is in the low thousands, though the sweet spot is around 400 — including a funeral home in Paris, a chain of coffee shops in London, England, and more conventional technology companies as well.

About 60% of those customers come from North America, with another 26% in Europe and the rest scattered worldwide.

“It’s been very exciting to see Jostle’s platform help companies stay connected and reinforce their culture, as they deal with rapid growth and worldwide operations,” said Mr. Bell in a statement.

“It’s time to accelerate this unique and powerful approach into the marketplace, so I’m excited to work with the team to take Jostle to new heights.”

Kelly Batke

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