Venture Catalyst steering alumni’s to success
UniSA students and alumni are thriving in South Australia’s innovation space. From cloud-based software assisting landlords to deliver shops in shopping centres, to innovative screwcap technology revolutionising the wine industry, UniSA is helping pave the way for a new generation of local entrepreneurs through its latest initiative, Venture Catalyst.
An initiative of both UniSA and the South Australian Government, Venture Catalyst was established to encourage student entrepreneurship and the creation of local start-ups by providing $50,000 seed funding to early-stage ventures that are founded by UniSA students, recent graduates and their teams.
So who are some of the successful alumni behind Venture Catalyst?
TCPinpoint - 2016 Venture Catalyst Recipient
Bachelor of Interior Architecture (2006)
Graduate Certificate in Project Management
Entrepreneur, Rachel Kidwell, launched her successful company during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Although an incredibly risky time for any business owner, her acumen and intellect ensured its success, with clients including retail giants Woolworths, Precision Group, Pacific Group and Blackstone.
Despite the enviable clientele, Rachel noticed consistent problems being experienced by landlords and as a result her latest and most innovate idea was born – TCPinpoint.
TCPinpoint is an automated cloud-based workflow system to assist landlords deliver shops in shopping centres in a more efficient manner – saving both time and money. There are upwards of 20 consultants involved in the delivery of any one shop – before the shopfitter starts on site – and no tool to bring them all together. TCPinpoint will provide a platform for collaboration, calls to action for all required tasks, increased reporting capabilities and better document control.
Now, a few months on after winning Venture Catalyst, TCPinpoint has already hit the ground running.
“The $50,000 Grant has been committed to the engagement of a software designer to develop TCPinpoint,” says Rachel.
“We are working towards completion of the minimum viable product (MVP) in October and then a Pilot Program will be undertaken by two local shopping centres.
“We are aiming to officially launch the product in February 2017 and from there it’s simple; grow, learn, repeat.”
Vinnovate – 2015 Venture Catalyst Recipient
Simon Schmidt – MBA student
Joshua Schmidt – MBA student
Current MBA students, brothers and Vinnovate business founders, Simon and Joshua Schmidt started their Venture Catalyst journey back in 2015, after winning $50,000 with their ingenious screwcap technology allowing consumers to tailor wines to their own tastes.
Since winning Venture Catalyst, the brothers have been working hard and taking the wine industry by storm. They have continued developing their business and have been busy exploring different avenues to apply their screwcap technology.
“Being able to customise beverages is the next big consumer trend and we believe our innovation can positively impact how people enjoy and consume wine,” says Joshua Schmidt, Vinnovate’s Chief Innovation Officer.
In April this year, Vinnovate’s technology was named as the top innovation across the Australian and New Zealand wine industry, winning the team $35,000 and a chance to work with Pernod Ricard to grow their product.
myEvidence – 2014 Venture Catalyst Recipient
Bachelor of Commerce (2010)
Working police investigator, UniSA alumnus and business innovator, Tung Tran, was another successful receipt of Venture Catalyst in 2014. Tung, together with business partner and fellow police officer, Jerome Lienert, have developed myEvidence, a new investigation and evidence collection tool.
“We wanted to come up with one seamless and efficient mobile application that helps investigators capture an array of evidence and assemble it in the one place. It consolidates digital photographs, records interviews, undertakes scene canvases and can even do 3D scanning,” says Tung.
“myEvidence lets you do all of that on the phone, on the tablet, and then flick it back, so by the time you’re back at the station, it’s all there, all done.”
Since winning Venture Catalyst, Tung has developed the beta application and tested it within the market, with refinements to the app now currently being made. The $50,000 seed funding was used on a combination of development and marketing costs to help drive the early stages of the app’s presence in the market space. In the next 12 months, myEvidence will be aiming to obtain their first major customer (i.e. police department).
Now it is your turn! Venture Catalyst is now open for all current and recently graduated (3 years) students who may hope to achieve their start-up dreams. For more information, please visit our website.