Perth has got its first start-up co-working space in the form of Spacecubed, which will be divided into three broad industry categories and has partnered with crowdfunding platform Pozible.
Spacecubed is the brainchild of project manager Brodie McCulloch, who is also the managing director of Social Innovation in Western Australia, a network group for social innovation enterprise groups.
“Basically, I moved back to Perth after working overseas two-and-half-years ago and couldn’t find any start-up spaces based in Perth – there just weren’t any,” McCulloch says.
“There’s a lot of really interesting and innovative stuff happening in Perth but none of it was connected together. What we’ve been able to do here is centralise a lot of that.”
McCulloch set up Spacecubed at 45 St Georges Terrace in the Perth CBD. The venue – supported by property developer Stockland – celebrated its official launch last month.
“We’ve got 500 square metres of space… We initially had four desks but we’re starting to sell memberships and building the community further,” he says.
“We’re up to about 78 members and expect to reach 100 members. That will be sort of the ticking point.”
“Because this is the first thing like this in Perth, it’s a bit of an education process [but] we’ve got some great organisations like PetRescue.com.au. There’s a whole lot of interesting start-ups.”
According to McCulloch, the space will be divided into three categories – social and environmental, technology and creative industries, and government and corporate projects.
“We have a business starting up an online casino sitting next to social entrepreneurs starting up a school in Nepal. There are really interesting conversations happening because of the diversity of the people here,” he says.
In addition to online tools and networking opportunities, members can also take advantage of Spacecubed’s partnership with Pozible, a crowdfunding platform set up by Rick Chen.
Pozible will offer a discounting service fee to any Spacecubed members who want to hold a crowdfunding event, and will facilitate or host free workshops on crowdfunding.
“I’ve known Rick for a while and we’d started looking at crowdfunding solutions as [traditional] funding is so hard to come by in Australia,” McCulloch says.
“[The partnership] is a real opportunity because we have a lot of start-ups that potentially need capital… Pozible is a solid platform our members can plug into.”
McCulloch believes the mining boom is a blessing, rather than a burden, for the Perth start-up scene.
“What we’re seeing is the mining bringing some really smart people into WA. The mining companies offer high salaries to every professional related to the resources sector,” he says.
“These people have their own projects they want to do because doing software updates for mining machinery, for example, is probably not the most interesting work.”
“What we’re seeing is a lot of people coming to Spacecubed to work on their projects. We’ve got that high end talent that has the time, and also the money, to invest in their own projects.”