InnovationACT (IACT) is a 10 week program designed to support participants through the early stages of a business venture. Offered to students, staff, and graduates of Canberra’s major tertiary institutions, IACT aims to provide its participants with the skills, tools, and networks necessary to build a business.
IP Australia has collaborated with IACT for the past three years and we wanted to take a look at where some of the 2016 winners are today.
Pixelated Induction is a small tech start-up based in Canberra, with a goal to transform entire surfaces into wireless charging stations. That means you could place your device on any flat surface that is embedded with their technology, and allow it to charge without a single cable.
During the past year, the team has developed a hardware prototype of their large-area wireless charging solution and by the end of 2017, they will be able to demonstrate complete functionality.
They do admit, however, that during the initial stages of their venture, they were so focused on product design that it took a long time to realise the importance of customer validation. “We have now started to realise that customer validation is an important part of guiding our design. It has helped us start a number of great conversations about shortcomings and strengths for our product, especially with regards to how people think they would use it in their daily lives.”
In the past year, GhostBolt Games has progressed from a start-up project to a fully-fledged registered business with the equipment and expertise necessary to take on any project.
Their primary aim: to “create new and interesting games that are fundamentally different from the norm.”
As one of the winners of InnovationACT (IACT) 2016, GhostBolt Games has used their share of the seed pool funding to lay the groundwork for their business, investing in computers, software, and marketing material.
One of the most important things the team learnt during the IACT program was the value of pitching, within and outside of their industry. “This is especially important given the technical nature of our work.”
To date, the group’s biggest achievement was when their game, Scrapper, was Greenlit on Steam. In order to join Steam, games must pass through a community-driven vetting process called Greenlit. “For us this was a huge acknowledgement of our effort and served as validation for our work.”
ReJoyce is a social venture that seeks to positively impact society by connecting communities to performers.
Since winning InnovationACT in 2016, ReJoyce say they have continued to engage with community venues and musicians to grow their social venture, “we are also negotiating partnerships with other non-profit organisations, community radio stations, and music societies to promote with our operations.”
The team have also achieved their first significant milestone, securing their first paid rehearsal at a nursing home in Queanbeyan.
What’s the most important contributor to success? “Be willing to spend time on the venture, and actually approach potential customers to test your idea and get feedback.”
For future entrepreneurs, Rejoyce highlighted the importance of capitalising on opportunities “I would say that our biggest misstep was, in some cases, not striking the iron while it was hot.”