Melbourne-based incubator BlueChilli says it plans to launch one start-up a month as it finalises plans to open a Sydney incubator, with further plans to expand to the United States and South East Asia.
BlueChilli was founded by former Navy officer Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, but only moved into the start-up accelerator space 12 months ago. It is backed by Domenic Carosa’s Future Capital Development Fund.
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The incubator has big plans for 2012, including the launch of a Sydney incubator to complement its already-thriving base Melbourne base, which recently held a soft launch.
“We’re finalising the address on the Sydney one – we’re hoping March,” Eckersley-Maslin says.
Once the Sydney site is open, Eckersley-Maslin says he will formally launch both locations simultaneously.
He says BlueChilli’s approach is very different to other technology businesses, with the focus on getting the business model right before looking at the technological solution to support it.
“We firstly look at the target market and a strategic marketing plan and only after we’ve done that do we look at the software,” he says.
Among BlueChilli’s ambitious plans is its intention to launch a new start-up every month. This includes GiggedIN, a soon-to-be-launched site offering musicians a new way of booking gigs.
GiggedIN is built around the concept that a gig will only be held once a minimum number of tickets are sold. It will make its money from a booking fee on every ticket sold through the site.
However, one of its most significant assets will be the database it creates, consisting of ticket-buyers and their music preferences.
Down the track, that information will be used to help brands reach new audiences, and create additional revenue streams for GiggedIN.
BlueChilli has also worked with Vumero, an online marketplace that matches finance professionals with those needing work completed.
Eckersley-Maslin says other standouts in his portfolio include EyeCrowd and RenterFixer. BlueChilli is also building a life insurance product, and a new platform “in the real estate space”.
“EyeCrowd is a fantastic concept where it’s crowdsourcing opinions,” he says.
“For example, if you want feedback on a new logo, some copy or the title of one of your articles, you pay $99 for 99 subjective opinions about it.”
“RenterFixer is for people renting and have something that doesn’t work, and have to wait six to eight weeks for something to happen because their property manager is so overworked.”
“RenterFixer is streamlining that process. The user uses their phone to snap a photo [of the problem], upload it to the system, and then the system drives the process.”
“The owner is automatically informed and it’s pushed out to contractors. It cuts out the middle man – it makes the real estate manager’s job so easy. All they have to do is approve it.”
Eckersley-Maslin says what he’s ultimately looking for is a founder with an awesome idea. However, it has to operate in a niche market and it must be transaction-based.
“We build the entire platform to the point where it can make money from day one,” he says.
Eckersley-Maslin says BlueChilli is planning to establish a presence in the United States, namely San Francisco, in addition to setting up an incubator in South East Asia.
“They’ll all be linked via video conferencing,” he says.
“South East Asia is close to our door and has lots of support from the Singapore Government and other governments, and larger corporates. We want to be part of that.”