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Toowoomba startup sheds retail traditions

A Toowoomba startup looking to disrupt the relatively fixed state of shed retail has been accepted into ilab’s seventh Germinate round.

Currently running in beta, ShedProject bucks retail traditions by providing buyers with the ability to post individual requirements such as shed location, size and material. Sellers then have the chance to provide feedback and quotes.

ShedProject and Toowoomba Startup Group founder David Masefield works with sheds in a number of capacities, from running online magazine Shedblog to promoting the Australian Steel Institutes’ ShedSafe program. He describes the new platform as the “Freelancer for sheds”, and hopes it will bring the industry in line with current technology.

“The shed industry has pretty much been doing things the same way as 30 or 40 years ago,” Masefield said. “Given the movement in tech that’s available today to connect buyers and sellers, we’re looking to position ourselves in that market.”

“Today’s buyer is knowledgeable,” he said. “They’re tech savvy and want better service, more transparency, the ability to leave feedback and price comparison.”

Shed manufacturers and retailers can be found online and sites like Spanbilt compare retailers and installers, but ShedProject is designed more as an open portal where retailers directly contact buyers with quotes.

Masefield hopes the tool will provide buyers with “quotes from pre-qualified retailers of sheds and an education resource, so they can understand the technology of the shed industry and what traps to watch out for.”

The newest Germinate cohort was announced mid-June and included two regional startups: ShedProject, and Cairns’ leadership training system Dynamic Conversations. Teams were picked after a three day workshop of 24 startups, which were in turn selected from over 100 applications.

The Toowoomba-based ShedProject team also includes Noel Kelly as developer and Joy Taylor as admin and finance specialist. The group determined needs within the shed community through a Shedblog survey, and hope Germinate will help validate their current model.

“We’re using Germinate 7 to test and validate our hypothesis and to get on board some early adopters [and] early users,” Masefield said. “And get feedback from them so that beyond Germinate we can go forward with crafting the best platform possible.”

Germinate teams will workshop their ideas at ilab for the next three months, and, on top of a range of partner deals and mentorship opportunities, can access up to $20,000 in funding.

The full Germinate 7 cohort includes:

  • MOVUS – Cloud-based analytics and Internet of Things combination targeting management and audit of industrial and construction marketplaces.
  • Dynamic Conversations – A Cairns startup creating an innovative training system looking to overhaul the SME training space.
  • TYLT Airborne Systems – Commercialising proprietary drone control systems technology through targeting industries such as real estate.
  • Shed Project – A Toowoomba startup disrupting the shed building industry.
  • SMSFCheck – A self managed super fund, online investment strategy compliance and review service.
  • Tanjo – Fintech startup removing the pain of personal budgeting.
  • genomicOS – An operating system to simplify cloud processing usage in genomic processing.

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.