Customised 3D-printed surfboard and sporting goods startup Disrupt was among 10 graduates to pitch to investors at muru-D’s demo night, marking the end of the Telstra-backed accelerator’s second program.
Disrupt co-founder and chief executive Gary Elphick told StartupSmart the night was a good opportunity to meet with potential investors, and the beginning of its fundraising journey.
“It was pretty awesome. Telstra had 10 startups that presented to a hall full of investors and industry folk for five minutes each. Afterwards, there was a showcase where everyone had their own space for a booth and the investors had a chance to get to know all the investors and the teams,” Elphick says.
Before launching Disrupt around eight months ago, Elphick was undertaking an MBA program, but decided instead to focus on his business. He now describes muru-D as being far more valuable in terms of developing the mindset necessary to successfully launch a startup than an MBA course.
According to Elphick, one of the signs customisation is gaining popularity in the sporting goods market is that Nike’s customised shoes and accessories brand, NIKEiD, now accounts for 20% of its online sales. He estimates customised equipment could similarly represent 20% of the broader sporting goods market.
“[Disrupt] came about because I’m a surf instructor, and when we were out we noticed a lot of people would be out drawing on their boards with Posca pens. Then a friend of ours introduced us to 3D software, and we found somewhere to physically produce the designs we came up with.
“We made custom boards for ourselves, and then friends, and friends of friends. Soon, I had a queue of 10 people at my door, and my housemate said ‘you’re going to either have to put a stop to this, or turn it into a business’.
“If you’re into sport and you’re passionate about it, it defines who you are as an individual. So you go into a sporting goods store and everything on the shelves is mass-produced – the same size, same styles, same colours. For something so personal, you don’t want equipment that’s mass produced.”
Looking to the future, Elphick estimates there are around 125 sporting goods product lines that could potentially be custom-manufactured.
Disrupt is expanding into the skiing and snowboarding equipment market, ahead of a move into yoga equipment. It is also fundraising ahead of opening its UK office on July 2, while also looking at additional manufacturing facilities.
According to figures revealed by muru-D cofounder Annie Parker during the event, the10 startups from the first muru-D cohort have raised $3.7 million in funding and have generated $1.7 million in turnover to date. They have also created 21 full-time and 20 part-time jobs, with seven expanding internationally.
Alongside Disrupt, the other nine startups presenting on the night were:
- CrowdSourceHire is an online platform for assessing the skills of technical hires using crowdsourced industry experts.
- Fanfuel is a sports sponsorship platform that allows brands to easily search for athletes, secure sponsorship deals and measure their return on investment, while also helping athletes understand their marketing potential.
- Freight Exchange is a digital marketplace that enables long-distance freight carriers to connect seamlessly with their customers to sell their excess capacity.
- Instrument Works make data collection for the lab, the field and the factory simple, reliable and accurate through sensor devices connected through the internet and controlled by smartphones.
- SoccerBrain is a platform for soccer clubs to manage coaching, training and development of players.
- Tripalocal is an online platform that connects travellers with local hosts for authentic local experiences – it’s like the Airbnb for local experiences.
- Vclass is a hybrid education platform that combines the power of Internet, VoIP and traditional pen and paper to create an online teaching experience just like face to face classes.
- Wattblock offers quick, customised, web-based energy saving roadmaps for residential and commercial strata buildings without the need for onsite energy auditors or installation of hardware devices.
- You Chews is an online catering platform making it easy to find great food for meetings and events.