Myriad Live 2017 sit down with Mark Gustowski, Executive Manager of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia
Mark Gustowski, Executive Manager of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, shares news about the new accelerator and how they are contributing to Australian's startup ecosystem by being all about creative tech #Myriad2017Posted by BeachCity on Thursday, March 30, 2017
Suzy: I'm with Mark, and Mark and I have been talking about innovation and startups for ages now. Mark, can you introduce yourself to everyone else, please?
Mark: Sure. I'm Mark. I'm the exec manager of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, which is an incubator accelerator co-working space and investment fund. It's primarily focused on working with creative tech and creative industries.
Suzy: I'm glad you kind of niche yourself. By doing that, you're focusing on helping creative people, but sometimes creative people don't even know how to manage money.
Mark: Yeah, we noticed that there was a really big gap in the market in terms of helping people that were in the creative industries and also creative tech. A lot of them are solely founders, so they don't necessarily have a technical co-founder, and so CEA really existed to help a lot of those individuals that are wanting to grow scalable, creative businesses, but perhaps don't have all of the resources and knowledge around them, so we help them do that.
Suzy: Who are your standouts, in terms of within your creative tech at the moment?
Mark: We've got a couple of really cool tenants at the moment, really cool members, we should say there. TrademarkVision, which is one of the companies in our investment fund, is doing some amazing things in image recognition, in the [inaudible 00:01:02] and IP space. Fame and Partners, who is a bespoke fashion wear company, closed to Series A. We're invested in them, closed to Series A late last year, which is really exciting as well. We've just made a couple of pretty cool investments into companies like Travelshoot and Audience Republic, so we're really excited to see where they're going to go, and yeah, we're about to launch a creative tech accelerator, which will be Australia's first.
Suzy: Exclusive. Exclusive. You got to hear it first here. What kind of accelerator is it?
Mark: Yeah, so we're going to be launching an accelerator in May called The Collider Accelerator, which will be Australia's first creative tech accelerator, so we're really going to be focusing on verticals like ARVR, robotics, gaming, music tech, fashion tech wearables.
Suzy: You're thinking physical hardware as well?
Mark: Some hardware, yeah. We might get some through. And because we're lucky in that we do have a presence at the university, we do have access to a lot of resources and a lot of facilities, which helps. But because it's not been done in Australia before, we're not sure what's going to come in, so it's going to be exciting to see.
Suzy: What kind of startups are you specifically looking for? Are they already scalable? Do they have an existing NVP?
Mark: Yeah, we'll be looking for startups that have at least an NVP. They don't really need to have revenue, but they need to have a solid product and a very good [inaudible 00:02:17] market.
Suzy: Is it scaling, because you want growth. Scaling can come afterwards, after the product has been refined, right?
Mark: Yeah, but the one thing we do want to make sure is that, all of the founders have an international vision, and they've got a vision to take their products or service internationally, so scalability is really important for the fund.
Suzy: I feel like that's really important. Let's talk about the Australian ecosystem. They [inaudible 00:02:39] were on an island and quite conservative in their attitude towards business. How can we continue to stand out when we're an investor of the startup ecosystems around the world.
Mark: I mean, it's an interesting question, because the market in the US is big enough to service the US startups, and similarly in Europe, you've got all of the various countries that sit within the European continent. In Australia, what we see is that a lot of our startups have to think globally straight away. They may not know how they're going to get to their global markets, but they've got to be immediately thinking about which global markets do we need to access in the interim, because Australia's a great test bed, which a lot of people at the conference here have said, but it's not necessarily going to get you to the unicorn status that you might want to get to. Yeah, we're really looking for startups to come into our accelerator that are globally focused. They may not know how they're going to get there, but it's part of their vision.
Suzy: Usually having a really strong vision means having an impact on society. We have a one billion kind of impact. Is that what it is?
Mark: I mean, that'd be nice, right. Atlanta Daniel did a survey recently on how many unicorns are in Australia. It might have been in the twenties, or something like that.
Suzy: Less than that.
Mark: Less than that.
Suzy: It's 17.
Mark: 17, there you go. Look, they're very rare, but what we really want to do is create awesome creative tech businesses that have great access to growth. Whether they hit that magical billion-dollar mark or not is probably not our complete focus. It's so they can actually build products and services in creative industries and scale them internationally.
Suzy: How can tech companies or accelerators that are creative tech connect and learn more about this accelerator?
Mark: Well say, if you go to qutcea.com, launching tomorrow on the website, you'll get the page, it talks about the length of the accelerator. We've got a really cool international entrepreneur residence coming in to run it. We've got five international facilitators coming in to deliver services. They'll find out about the investment components, the team, the dates when it's all opening, so qutcea.com.
Suzy: Check out the website and learn more about it. Thank you again, Mark.
Mark: Thanks, [Suzy 00:04:36].
Suzy: We're a club.