Author: Entry 29

Community Catch-Up: IACT – Gulmohar Ahluwalia

IACT has had a super successful 2016. Meet some of their best!

Introducing Gulmohar!

Most entrepreneurs start with one great lightbulb idea and chip away at it slowly until they make it into a business. Gulmohar (affectionally known as just ‘G’) followed quite a different path. G first made her appearance in the entrepreneur world as part of the ANU College of Engineering Internship Program. For six months, G interned with fellow Entry 29 member and entrepreneur, Tom Watkins on his business ‘CoachLive’. Having studied electronics systems engineering at the ANU, G threw herself into the project – working on the hardware, design testing, and electronics before finishing her internship with Tom on a trip to Melbourne to test the design and meet with investors. Taking every opportunity to grow her knowledge in general business and how start-ups work, she finished her internship at the end of 2016.

Mid 2016, she also joined the Innovation ACT (IACT) program with the aim of learning more and applying what she can to her internship.  However, while she was taking part in the meetings, seminars, lectures, and classes, G joined a group of fellow IACT members to work on a startup idea.

They figured out each other’s interests, passions, and skills to put together a business idea that not only catered to their own individual interests but one that they could take through the IACT program. The idea they formed evolved into Polayas – a company specializing in software development, licensing, and integration for governments across Australia.

The team pushed through with the idea, using what they learned from the IACT courses and applied them to grow Polayas. G said that going through IACT allowed her to talk to people, make new contacts and get a range of opinions from people in the ACT government to explore further opportunities. The ACT Government is able to cater for the emerging Canberra startup community using the SBIP program that small entrepreneurs like G can benefit from.

Time and other commitments saw the team drop off a few members, but G stayed right through to the end of the IACT program, and even though she missed out on the final IACT scholarship, she was successful in getting a scholarship placement at Entry 29. G now works out of Entry 29 in her team of one, playing and learning through her start-up. She is currently working on the sales for a ‘Voice Biometric’ based security software which is keeping her very busy.

Being surrounded by other new start-ups with like-minded, skilled and motivated people has encouraged G to pursue her startup dreams and see where it takes her. G plans to return to ANU this semester to complete her engineering degree and will continue to work on this project part-time, but as long as she can still “keep learning things, meeting people and making connections”, G is in a happy place!

Community Catch Up: Nick and Seb Harrison

Meet Seb and Nick Harrison: The Founders of OzGuild

 

With over twenty million players, ‘Magic: The Gathering’, is an international community and gaming phenomenon. Seb Harrison was one such player, who, like the majority of Magic players had more cards than he could count, making it difficult to even remember which cards he possessed to play. A database that catalogued your decks was needed, but one that didn’t require manual entry and take days to complete. Recruiting brother Nick, a software engineering student at the ANU, the two of them started forming a solution.

Moving from a Magic-card-covered bedroom, Nick and Seb hooked into the ANUSA Start program in late 2014. This allowed them to workshop their idea and start to develop what we know today as OzGuild. Although they diverged, altered, and changed the original proposal more than once, their persistence paid off and at the end of January 2015 they won the Innovation ACT Program and were introduced to Entry29.

From the start OzGuild had the connections and the space to thrive. Working right next door to the Griffin Accelerator team, OzGuild joined the second round of Griffin. The three-month intensive program was the extra boost the brothers needed and by the end of December 2015, they had secured an investment, had a team of four paid employees and an ever growing following under their belts.

 

Nick and Seb HarrisonStill based at Entry29, the OzGuild team now takes up the whole back end of the space. Kitted out with bean bags and near-constant ‘T2’ supply, the brothers want to continue to be a part of the growing Canberra Start-up Community. “There are way more companies now than when we started and way more connections with investors and innovators being in this space”.

 

The past two-and-a-half years have been non-stop for Seb and Nick and they have no intentions of slowing down. The current ‘game’ plan is to use the OzGuild image-recognition and cataloguing software to establish a system for both merchants and players to develop a network for card trading. “Once the cards are catalogued, you have a product database from which you can sell”. With the most valuable card selling for $40,000, and the majority trade for around ten cents per card, there is huge potential for a system like this.

 

“Canberra is an exciting city to start a company in and there is a huge following of board gamers here that we can chat with and get feedback form”. The OzGuild team is here to stay and you can bet your next Magic Tournament that the OzGuild brand becomes the go-to network for all Magic players.OzGuild Community

 

Entry29 Startup Co-working Membership Infographic 2016

In the heart of Canberra, there is an office floor that is like many other offices but this particular office floor is special.

This floor is home to over 12 million dollars in invested capital.  The birth place of 85 new jobs, 75 amazing people, and 42 world changing startups! This is home of Entry29 Startup Co-working and it’s members.

Canberra is an amazing city with a booming startup ecosystem and we are very proud to present our latest membership infographic. If you have an idea or startup we have a community of like minded people and a fantastic co-working space for you! Until November if you are referred by an exisiting member you’ll save 20% off your membership! There is no better time to join.

Check out our latest Membership Infographic below!

Membership Infographic

Community Catch Up: Kimley Foster

 

Many people are aware of the poor working conditions of the ‘sweat shops’ and clothing factories in China and Bangladesh, where images of the ‘underpaid’ and ‘overworked’ are common. Most shoppers efficiently wipe this from their mind and continue to shop where clothes are plentiful and cheap. Thankfully, this is slowly changing, with ethical clothing becoming readily available and affordable on the international market.Kimley Wildheart

Entry29 resident and entrepreneur Kimley Foster is one young entrepreneur driving this change. Based in Canberra, her clothing company Wildheart, is bursting with potential to expand into this niche new growth market.

Wildheart ethical leggingsFormerly a freelance marketer, Kim didn’t start on her career path as an entrepreneur. In June 2015, she embarked on a marketing tour in which she spent 12 months abroad, working in 12 different countries. A new country and new workplace every month was eye opening and absolutely exhausting. Halfway through, she took a month off where she joined an Ashram in Thailand and began the whirlwind journey that we know today as Wildheart. In the Ashram, Kim began researching the reality of ‘sweatshop’ factories and made it her mission to use her skills as a marketer to address the injustice and plight of the powerless, by creating a 100% ethically produced clothing brand. As she continued on her 12-month program, her idea developed and samples were sent to countries in all corners of the world. Wherever she went the feedback was positive – people loved her idea. Kim is the first to admit that it was not easy, but by breaking the process down and working on it consistently, she was able to successfully launch Wildheart in April 2016.

Wildheart 100% ethical leggingsWildheart 100% ethical leggings

 

Now back home in Canberra and fully operational, Kimley is putting her experiences from her time spent abroad to good use.

 

 

“The young vibe and comfort in being surrounded everyday by like-minded people who are all working and getting over similar hurdles in Entry29 has made the move back much more attractive”.

Kim hopes to grow Wildheart and actively promote the importance of ethically sourced clothes. It’s only the beginning for Wildheart and Kimley’s passion for what she does is contagious. Watch out for Wildheart as it continues to grow and work its way into your shopping bags!

Check out Wildheart and receive 15% off using the code WH15off (Thank you Kim!)

Visit Wildheart Shop

Community Catch Up: Dr Amir Hadad

People regularly ask about the kind of people we have working from out space. We’ll be releasing these Community Catch Ups each week and let our community of entrepreneurs introduce themselves in their own words. First up, we’ll say hi to Dr Amir Hadad, founder of Pictionist.

For how long have you been coding?

I’ve been programming for over 10 years now. This has been in a commercial as well as academic context. I’ve been involved in building four different software products, the most recent being my startup Pictionist. I completed my Bachelors of Engineering and Masters of Artificial Intelligence at Tehran Polytechnic, and received my PhD from the ANU in Computer Science (focusing on predictive modelling). My technical interests are machine learning, predictive data modelling, building software products, web application automated build and deployment processes, version control strategies and continuous integration.

What is it that attracted you to startups?

It’s very adventurous and you have to learn many different areas. In a large organisation everyone has dedicated roles and tasks with a limited scope. In a startup you learn a lot more than you otherwise would.

What are you working on now?     

I’m building a solution for organisations with large image repositories. It’s a CMS for images. It’s called Pictionist.

When did you begin working on Pictionist?

I started the initial work on this over 3 years ago. It was originally a desktop application.  Since then I’ve received an Innovation Connect grant from the ACT Government and created a prototype version of the cloud-based image repository management system.

How is Pictionist different?

It enables organisations and businesses with large image repositories to import and search their images. They can use image-based search as well as ordinary text search to extract relevant information in image and metadata formats. This is an improvement on current solutions, as similar CMS are restricted to text-based search only.

What’s something that you didn’t expect before starting?

The opportunity to present my prototype to larger organisations is easier than I expected. At the same time, moving things further along the sales process with a prototype can be difficult.

Were you originally working from home? Has coworking helped?

I was originally working on this from home. Coworking has been a big help. I’ve met so many interesting people. The majority of people share an adventurous and positive nature, and are keen on new ideas. Being able to share with people has been a rewarding and motivating factor in my work. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I need to do some real work!

How do you rate Canberra as a place to build a startup?

Government support has been reasonable and satisfying. I think investors are a little conventional and that’s something to improve in Canberra. It’s a quiet place, and if you want to actually get things done it’s a very good place to do that. I suspect in bigger cities it’s harder to focus, especially for something like a tech startup where you wear all the hats.

Amir is hosting a catered ‘Tech Talks’ event on Wednesday 25 February at Entry 29. Join us for some pizza and the opportunity to discuss issues and approaches to software development. This month’s topic is Version Control. You can register for your place here.

Amir Hadad

Travelling interstate? Our Cowork Passport has you Covered

Entry 29 is Canberra’s best co-working space for startups. But what if you’re a member and are headed interstate for a bit?

Leaving Canberra to travel interstate doesn’t make any sense to us. Virgin Blue has assured me it happens.

In response we’ve partnered with Australia’s best co-working spaces for startups to bring you reciprocal memberships. We’ll call it the ‘Cowork Passport’. This means you’re covered wherever you go. This is just one part of our fast-growing Member Benefits Program.

The Offer

Each space below is offering up to 3 days* free desk space with additional days for $22/day (GST inc) to members of Entry 29.

Members of those co-working spaces listed are invited to work from Entry 29 under the same deal while they’re in the ACT.

The Spaces

These are the rad spaces you should absolutely work from while you’re away:

The Process

Email us with your destination and travel dates. Please provide 2 business days notice so that we can give the other space enough time to prepare for your awesomeness.

Safe travels!

 

* Except Fishburners, who are offering 1 free day.

What’s in a name? The story behind ‘Entry29’

The story behind the Entry29 Name

A question we’re often asked is ‘where did the Entry29 name come from?’

You probably know that Walter Burley Griffin was the lead designer for  the city of Canberra. He collaborated with his wife Marion, an architect, and won the Federal Capital Design Competition in May 1911. Griffin was the 29th entrant to the competition. Our name is in reference to this piece of Canberra history.

Griffin’s plans laid out the foundation for our physical home. In the same way, we believe Entry 29 can play a role in layout of Canberra’s startup ecosystem. Our name is a connection between the city’s history and nascent digital future. The Entry29 name is one that reflects both the start-up community and the people that make it up.

You can read more about Griffin’s entry here, including the 1917 Royal Commission into the slow progress of construction. Rest assured, we’re moving much faster 🙂