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Brett Geoghegan, Ricky Robinson and Walter Haas at ATP Innovations in Sydney.
Brett Geoghegan, Ricky Robinson and Walter Haas at ATP Innovations in Sydney.

Brisbane teams make the Startmate cut

Three Brisbane tech founders, Brett Geoghegan, Walter Haas and Ricky Robinson, have begun their stint in Startmate as part of the 2014 cohort.

Geoghegan and Haas of Inductly are building a simple mobile education platform for delivering employee induction training with their New York-based cofounder, Jonathan Lai. Robinson, one half of the HaystackHQ founding team, is working with Canberran cofounder and CEO, Lachlan James, to rethink legal e-discovery.

Inductly and HaystackHQ, along with six other startups from around the country, beat out hundreds of other startups who applied to Startmate late last year, all of them hoping to cement a place in the 2014 edition of Australia’s best recognised startup accelerator program.

Geoghegan, Inductly CEO, said: “I lived with the Startmate teams in San Francisco in 2012 for a period, and got to see first-hand the introductions and opportunities that Startmate were able to open for them. If nothing else, these introductions alone are worth the 7.5% equity.”

This is a sentiment shared by Robinson.

“While the $50k is nice, Startmate have worked hard on building connections into San Francisco, the Valley and elsewhere, and I think that’s one of the most valuable things they bring to the table,” said Robinson.

For Robinson and James, it was a case of second time lucky, having made it as far as the interview stage during the previous year’s application round.

“Last time around we had some fancy tech but only a vague idea of the problem we were solving. This time around we have a clear picture of the problems in the e-discovery space and how we’re going to solve them. The Startmate mentors also spent noticeably more time asking us about the team at the interviews this time through.”

After three months hacking and hustling in Sydney, the Startmate 2014 teams will spend at least two months in San Francisco. Geoghegan has decided to relocate Inductly there at the end of Startmate. Following the likes of Chris Raethke of BugCrowd and Coen Hyde of Popbasic, Geoghegan and his maths whiz cofounder, Haas, are two more names to add to Brisbane’s brain drain list (Jonathan Lai, the third Inductly cofounder, left Brisbane for New York some time ago).

“The best thing about the startup scene in Brisbane is that there is one,” said Geoghegan. “The worst thing is the ecosystem for startups is just too juvenile. It doesn’t have the successful entrepreneurs, investors, media, excitement, social acceptance, OK-to-fail mentality, or big companies to lead as beacons of possibility – like Apple or Google in the US – to enable the scene to thrive.”

Team Inductly: Geoghegan, Haas and Lai

Team Inductly: Geoghegan, Haas and Lai

Robinson, one NICTA’s first employees in Queensland and co-founder of The Tech Street Journal, is certain Brisbane’s tech scene will kick on.

“Lachlan and I don’t know exactly where we’ll end up in the long term. As for Brisbane’s tech scene, I’m sure it will continue to grow. Aspirational cities like Brisbane probably don’t have much choice in the matter,” said Robinson. “It’s becoming less clear how you can grow and maintain any world-class industry without having a great tech sector.”

Inductly aims to simplify the induction process for enterprises, streamlining orientations and briefings, systems and processes education, and product and service familiarisation.

HaystackHQ provides visual analytics for legal e-discovery, simplifying the task of finding emails and documents that are relevant to a particular legal matter.

The other six teams in the Startmate 2014 cohort are:

  • SportHold: sports betting without the gambling debts;
  • Drawboard: PDF review and annotation for tablets;
  • Flirtey: deliveries by drone (unlike Amazon’s recent publicity stunt, this one seems to be the real deal);
  • Lumific: automatic photo enhancement and organisation in the cloud;
  • Composure: write your emails faster; and
  • Foogi: schedule meetings without the back-and-forth using any calendar app.

Note: Fear not! TSJ lives on in the absence of our Editor-in-Chief. However, we will be making some changes internally to ensure we can continue publishing top notch articles about the local tech scene. We’ll keep you posted.

About Karen Henricksen

Karen is a researcher interested in ubiquitous computing and the design of technologies for everyday life. She is particularly passionate about tech creation by and for women. She is the Margaret Peel Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Queensland.