Adelaide is well on its way to achieving its goal of becoming a city for entrepreneurs, with a number of university students and entrepreneurs winning prizes and receiving seed funding for their startups in recent weeks.
Jemsoft, a startup founded by University of South Australia students Jordan Green and Emily Rich, recently won a five-figure sum in seed funding from their university’s Venture Catalyst program.
The startup aims to revolutionise security in the retail industry without jeopardising the customer’s shopping experience. It works by analysing people as they approach the store, and determining whether they are a customer or pose a threat – thereby reducing the chance of an armed hold-up.
Green, who is 21 years old and studies IT, networking and security at the University of South Australia, told StartupSmart he has lived all over the country and considers Adelaide’s startup community to be one of the most vibrant.
“I think it’s very well nurtured, very well nourished,” he says.
“Because of the low cost of living in Adelaide it’s more viable for people to take that plunge and risk because if something goes wrong it’s much easier to bounce back.”
Green says the seed funding from the University of South Australia has meant he and his co-founder can now pay for a market research firm to help them find out the value of their service and line up industry partners to test the product.
“I’m absolutely an advocate for self-learning. However, to see a traditional institution like UniSA, which is built on educating people and pushing them into the workforce, support something like entrepreneurship and digital disruption is fantastic,” he says.
“South Australia has traditionally been a manufacturing state and our economy is not looking good because of that. So I think it’s definitely something that is imperative to focus on – supporting startups, especially those that can support jobs.”
Green has worked from the Majoran Distillery, and credits the co-working space for helping attract and retain local talent.
“Majoran is the absolute epicentre of the SA startup community,” he says.
“You can walk around the space randomly and chat to people about the software being built for the startups and there’s networking drinks every Friday night.”
Another Adelaide startup paving the way for its innovative ideas is myEvidence, which also won funding from the University of South Australia.
Co-founder SA Police Senior Constable Tung Tran says the startup aims to save the police force both time and money by recording evidence digitally.
“Within the department we found there could be a lot more efficiency,” he says.
“It comes down to really the paperwork. I found myself – even as a young constable starting out – that a lot of time we’d be doing administration and we had to duplicate a lot of paperwork to give to the prosecution, court, witnesses and solicitors. When you add it up it’s a lot of time.”
Tran says thanks to Adelaide’s welcoming startup culture, turning myEvidence from an idea into a reality was not too difficult.
“This [entrepreneurship] is probably an area in Adelaide that is getting more traction,” he says.
“Coming from a police background we weren’t really in the startup scene, but once we did a bit of digging trying to find help and support it wasn’t too hard at all.”