Local entrepreneurs grow beyond Brisbane with Lord Mayor grants

25 March 2019

A start-up creating potentially life-saving wearable devices for domestic violence victims and a local company designing lab-standard testing technology for the world’s elite sporting teams are among the entrepreneurial ideas awarded funding in the latest Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced 11 successful recipients today following a competitive judging process of 190 submissions.

“This is the largest number of submissions we’ve received for any of the funding rounds, demonstrating the thriving entrepreneurial talent and in-demand skills available right here in Brisbane,” Cr Quirk said.

“The grants offer a boost to local businesses – so we retain this talent in Brisbane, help these businesses grow and enhance their chances of creating new employment opportunities for residents.

Judging panellist and Brisbane Chief Digital Officer Cat Matson said the program assisted entrepreneurs to grow their businesses beyond Brisbane’s boundaries.

“Among the recipients is Vald Performance, a local business making and distributing testing equipment currently being used by sporting clubs and human movement specialists around the world,” Ms Matson said.

“Vald will use the grant funds to establish a media room to enable more skype meetings overseas and interstate – something they say will help to keep their business here in Brisbane.

“Another recipient, Commsync, has developed and piloted a wearable device that connects those at risk of violence with an emergency network at the touch of button.

“This potentially life-saving technology for domestic violence victims connects wearers with a support network and has even helped victims to provide audio evidence in court, through its recording functionality.”

Each of the 11 grant recipients will be awarded up to $5000 to help their businesses reach new customers and tap into global markets.

Since 2012, more than 75 early-stage and scaling entrepreneurs have received funding to take their start-up to the next level. The Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program is part of the Digital Brisbane 2.0 strategy, which outlines Brisbane’s commitment to evolving the city’s digital capabilities.

Meet the Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program recipients

Rachael Trihey, Commsync

Commsync has designed the only technology solution that connects vulnerable children and families at risk of violence with their chosen safety network through a wearable device. The Commsync Alert platform co-ordinates SOS calling to a chosen support network, SMS and email alerts, one-way and/or two-way talk, GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking, Geo fencing alerts, verbal recordings and scheduling of responders. Commsync will use its grant to travel to the US to present to key decision makers in Child Protection and Family Violence.

Laurie Malone, Vald Performance

Founded by the Queensland University of Technology in 2015, Vald Performance is the company behind several innovative systems providing unparalleled insights into human movement, performance and injury risk. The products have been tried and tested by nearly 400 of the world’s most elite sporting teams, clinicians, universities, hospitals and defence departments. The grant will help establish a Skype Media room in its Newstead office, meaning less travel time and more time on the ground in Brisbane.

Ben Hallett, Vygo

Since 2017, Vygo has been helping universities support, upskill and retain students by deploying peer tutoring and mentoring platforms. Students in need of extra help are able to use the Vygo mobile app to connect with peers who have aced their required classes for tutoring and mentoring. Distinguished students and staff are able to become tutors and mentors, help their community and build their employability skills. After a successful few years, the company is now planning its expansion into the UK market.

William Ferguson, Wylas Timing

Founder William Ferguso has created a wireless swimming timing system that co-ordinates the collection, recording and display of timing information for swimming meets and carnivals. With a number of Australian clients already signed, the company is now expanding to overseas markets. It will use the grant to travel to the US to show its products at the Association of Aquatic Professionals Annual Conference.

Yasmin Grigaliunas, World’s Biggest Garage Sale

The World’s Biggest Garage Sale has already diverted more than 3.3 million kilograms of goods from landfill through its events. Its next challenge is developing a plan to introduce Brisbane’s first circular shopping mall, which focuses on recycling and upcycling second-hand goods. Entrepreneur Yasmin Grigaliunas will use the grant to visit an international circular shopping mall to help bring that knowledge back to Brisbane.

Craig Mair, Blue Lens Group

Blue Lens Group is developing an Internet of Things (IoT) system that can sniff gas leaks, detect intruders and monitor asset performance for the mining industry. The company is working with an oil and gas client to create a bespoke solution with the help of engineering undergrads from local universities. The company is sourcing local talent and plans to scale the IOT system to other commercial operators with remote, high value assets.

Cameron Singer, Point Pod

Point Pod is a Brisbane based company delivering an innovative solution to benchtop power. Founder and registered builder Cameron Singer prototyped and designed the new product after identifying a gap in the market for functional, well-designed pop-up power points. Since its launch to market, the product has been warmly received by cabinetmakers and been given the tick of approval from Hafele Australia – one of the largest international providers of hardware and fitting systems for cabinetmakers. Cameron is traveling overseas to expand globally and intends to run the Point Pod headquarters from Brisbane.

Juliette Murphy, FloodMapp

FloodMapp is a venture-backed start-up providing predictive flood mapping and personalised alerts to help businesses improve safety and prevent damage. FloodMapp allows its customers (such as insurers, farmers and resources companies) to better prepare for approaching weather events through planning safer travel for their staff, estimating claims and damages and streamlining the event response through personalised and location-specific alerts. FloodMapp will use the grant to travel to exhibit at InsureTech in Las Vegas.

Gerard Mezzina, Norbit Software

Norbit tracks when, where, and what a customer purchases in a bricks and mortar retail store, helping retailers build powerful customer profiles. In an age where bricks and mortar stores are under pressure, Norbit has developed a SaaS service allowing retailers to engage, track, communicate and reward customers through its retail app. As a first mover to this market, Norbit is beginning to gain traction in the Philippines, Norway and South Africa as well as its several clients nationally. Norbit will use the grant to travel to a trade show to exhibit overseas.

Caroline McCullough, Writally

Writally has developed a SaaS platform for companies to create custom ‘content recipes’ for a wide variety of marketing content. The content recipes enable non-writers to create powerful, customer-facing content with the service targeted at companies exploring brand advocacy as a means to grow revenue. Writally has been refining its product over the last two years and is using the grant to attend the Social Media Marketing World conference in March, with the aim to attract new clients.

Ruth Stephensen, Creatively Squared

Creatively Squared is a subscription-based platform to connect businesses with original, engaging visual content from a global network of content creators. With a network of more than 20,000 talented creatives globally, Creatively Squared matches brands based on location, visual aesthetic and brand values. With customers nationally and international clients plus a network of creators from 130 countries, it is now working to diversify from lifestyle clients to financial services and entertainment industry.

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