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Global expansion and Tipi HQ

For anyone needing a blueprint on exponential and international growth, might we direct you to Tipi HQ?

A Brisbane-based data solutions company specialising in the extraction, analysis, and visualisation of real time data, Tipi is now in its fourth year of operation and has reported a 2,000 per cent growth in customers year on year. After initially entering Australia’s pharmaceutical tech industry, they now cover business intelligence across a range of industries, including finance, retail, insurance, real estate, manufacturing and education.

The company has grown internationally as well, and, after partnering with pharmaceuticals company Mylan to become a pharmacy data analytics market leader in France, the company is currently investigating Japan as a launchpad for the greater Asian market.

“When we enter into different markets, there’s a whole myriad of things we have to understand,” Director of Technology and co-founder Adam Gilmore says. “We learned a lot of this when we went into France.”

“[For example,] what are the privacy laws in the country, what are the data laws, how does the market work, what does a retail store do,” he says. “We’ve had to do all that research again for Japan, but we have the checklist, so we know what to look for.”

Gilmore bootstrapped Tipi with co-founder Guy McKenzie prior to its 2010 rollout, when they developed the company through their experience and subsequent interaction with the pharmaceutical industry, where they discovered user experience issues with data products. Gilmore stresses accessibility and immediacy as reasons for his products’ subsequent success, and holds two simple rules: “don’t make me think” and “data for humans, [because] we feel really passionate about the fact that previously data has been more for analysts and for technical people.”

“If you download, for example, a product like Tableau, which is undoubtedly one of the top-tier business information tools, the experience is for developers,” Gilmore says. “It’s like a glorified spreadsheet.”

“Whereas what we wanted was something that made it clear, crisp and simple, gave data in real time, and made people feel like they could engage with the data,” he says.

A quick look at their pharmaceutical platform, GuildSmart, demonstrates a transactional view of data akin to social media. On top of the aforementioned emphasis on real time information, GuildSmart provides multiple dashboards, different products actions, data on generics and companion selling, and information on GST validity, as well as market opportunities and suggestions.

“We try to make it really visual, because when you’re looking at data  you’ve got to try to use things like patterns and colours,” Director of User Experience Dave Acton says. “Because with the human brain, if you’re just looking at raw numbers there’s no way to differentiate it.”

On major challenges in Tipi’s history, Gilmore touches on the broader industry issue of demand for programmers/engineers outstripping supply. He emphasises difficulty finding qualified, dedicated and available people, as well as geographical problems with Tipi’s European rollout.

“Just being able to expand and grow our development team, grow our support team, finding people who care and have that passion, it’s pretty rare to find those people,” Gilmore says. “I mean you do, [but] it’s almost like you’re selling yourself to them, why they should be at our company.

“In terms of our expansion into Europe and Asia, initially when we expanded into Europe it was a question of do need to move to Europe, do we need to have an office in Europe,” he says. “And we ended up saying no we don’t want that, and we were able to find French-speaking support people here, people who could help us through that expansion.”

Finally, on his plus 10 years in design and personal journey with Tipi, Acton emphasises enthusiasm and perspective as key to succeeding in the field.

“It’s a sense of mission,” Acton says. “It’s having that sense of mission that you’re working on something innovative, potentially revolutionary if done properly.”

“And I think when you come into the office in the morning and you know you’re working on something that could, based off your little team, affect thousands of people around the world, it’s exciting, it makes you lift your game, and it makes you put your best work out there.”

About Chris Woods

Chris Woods (@tophermwoods) is the Tech Street Journal's Editor-in-Chief. He lives in Brisbane, has worked in places like Sydney and New York (State of), and will someday update his media-news blog.