This year has been all about growing our PopUp Wi-Fi product. We work right around Australia, bringing Wi-Fi for events like Stereosonic, Dark MOFO, Gympie Music Muster and Ad:Tech. Companies like Sony, Boost Mobile, Nissan and Vodka O sponsor the Wi-Fi that we customise for them. We also bring fast Internet for crowds anywhere.
While our company is Tasmanian-based, 12 months ago one of our co-founders, Linden Kurth, moved to Sydney to service the mainland.
Our clients are production companies, festival, event and conference organisers.
We face two key challenges in running our business from Tasmania. The first is securing investment to scale PopUp Wi-Fi. This is to meet an already surging demand for our services nationally. The other, is particular to our business model and relates to a lack of Tasmanian population density – there are simply fewer events with sufficient budget to engage with us. We are constantly staggered by the enormous disparity between the affluence on the mainland and in Tasmania.
Basing an office in Sydney has definitely been the difference between sinking or swimming.
They are wealthier and always hungry for the next innovation that will give their event a further point of difference and profitability. People in Tasmania still ask us “does it work?”. 200 events under our belts, yet we frequently get emails from people we’ve never met simply booking the service in Sydney.
As Tasmanian ICT companies enter a period of maturity, the development and implementation of a coherent industry wide strategy is of critical importance to inform strategic pathways for growth and development.
On a different note, we have noticed an interesting trend taking place. Our mainland clients are generally enthusiastic and supportive that we are a Tasmanian Startup. “Brand Tasmania” seems to extend as far. It has been particularly noticeable in the really positive attitude that mainland and even overseas clients demonstrate towards PopUp Wi-Fi being founded and based in Hobart.
I think a key issue to address, in order for the tech and innovation landscape in Tasmania to flourish, is for Tasmanians to identify with the attitude that others are increasingly gravitating towards us. The Hobart waterfront area is growing some of Tasmania’s most exciting ICT companies and provides the opportunity to grow the Tasmanian Tech brand through trade missions and through local awareness of what it all means to us.
Doing business is great in Tassie, and getting better if you’re clever and lucky enough to have a revenue-based start-up. If I was hunting for investment for an idea, I’d head elsewhere.