ilab has announced their 8th Germinate cohort, which includes everything from crop and nutrient testing hardware to a personalised car-washing service to an app that guides couples through their divorce.
Following a selection bootcamp that included 28 startups, five early-stage teams began the three month Germinate program last week. Like previous cohorts, they will receive mentoring, up to $20,000 in funding, and the opportunity for an additional nine months of incubation.
The Germinate 8 cohort, which also includes a vet app and a social hub for music professionals, highlights the practical challenges around non-traditional startups, especially those dealing with social issues and hardware.
On reinventing divorce
For example, Reinventing Divorce provides an “interactive platform for couples to cooperatively uncouple” and reach a court-sanction divorce settlement, which naturally requires navigating a range of social and legal challenges. This will in turn require a mindful validation and trust building process, according to ilab director Bernie Woodcroft.
“There’s some obvious sensitivity that goes around it, as would be the case with startups in mental health and that sort of stuff,” Woodcroft said, possibly referencing previous Germinate graduate Mindstar. “You can’t just whack a user interview process together and go out and find what people think quickly.”
“You’ve got to be careful about when you’re interviewing your real users, who are looking to buy the service or potentially buy the service – that means they’re in a world of pain when they’re talking to you.”
This mindfulness also extends to identifying the target demographic; while the app is driven by the economic and emotional benefits that come from divorcing without additional legal assistance, the team acknowledges this will require co-operative uncoupling.
“If people hate each other and are going to tear each other limb from limb, then they’re going to do that, with lawyers,” Woodcroft said. “They [the team] understand that there’s always going to be a group that… they’re not going to get to tranfer to what they’re doing.”
“But there’s a whole group that isn’t in that mode and they would like an opportunity to do this in a trusted, secure way, that’s also based on facts,” he said. “So when they’re talking about a settlement, there’s confidence in the algorithm.”
The trouble with hardware
Soil and crop nutrient tester Agalytics provides a different set of challenges. The startup is working on ‘lab-on-a-chip’ technology for macronutrient analysis of soils and plant tissue, and while ilab have included startups with hardware/IoT aspects in their programs before (notably RedBackTechnologies, MOVUS and HSK Instruments), these startups generally require a more delicate validation and distribution model than software startups.
“Rather than change some code, which immediately gets out to everyone using the system and they all get to benefit, you have to be really careful when you pull the trigger on what gets manufactured,” Woodcroft said. “Now, there’s nothing new about that problem in today’s day and age that hasn’t always been the case.”
“What you’re still trying to do is marry those lean processes into this engagement, so that you’re trying to get there faster.”
A list of the full Germinate 8 cohort can be found below:
AirSponge offers a service that “will get your car washed wherever you are, at whatever time and price you want by people who want to wash it”. Unlike most Germinate teams, AirSponge emerged from a startup competition; the team won Brisbane’s Startup Weekend for Women in October, which was organised by Blue Sky and River City Labs.
50DMC – A social hub of musicians, video / music producers and their supporters merging production fundraising, commissioning and management.
Vet Suite Technologies – Pet Connect digitally records key patient data while simultaneously providing real time updates on pets to worried parents.
Agalytics provides a rapid and cost-effective solution for infield soil and crop nutrient testing, for smarter decisions in agriculture.
Reinventing Divorce Team
Reinventing Divorce Team – A tablet-based app to guide couples through a cooperative process to reach an equitable court-sanctioned divorce settlement.