In 2012, Zach Kitschke (now head of comms at Canva) penned a great article on the From Little Things blog called THE HARDWARE RENAISSANCE: IS IT HITTING AUSSIE SHORES? – in the past two years, I would say it’s safe to say that statement was pretty true and that we have some brilliant entrepreneurs in this country conceptualising and building some of the most amazing hardware products the world has ever seen.
Whether they are completely revolutionising industries like deliveries, paving the way for the future with robotics or even making access and usage of new technologies easier for the older generation amongst us, these ten Australian hardware startups are certainly having an impact on the global community.
LIFX | founded by Phil Bosua and Andrew Birt
Founded in Melbourne, LIFX® is a wifi enabled, multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulb that you can control with your smartphone. Back in 2012 when they launched their original Kickstarter campaign they raised over $1.3 million – well above the $100,000 they were asking for. Recently they closed a $12 million dollar Series A round and have a presence in both Melbourne and San Francisco now.
Collusion | founded by Robert Yearsley, Sumeet Patel and Navdeep Saini
Another Kickstarter success story, Collusion ran into a storm of bad press when there was found to be issues with getting the product out and the pen (the hardware aspect) was not working properly – they copped a pretty big caning to be honest. Collusion comprises a dedicated high precision digital pen, offering the highest available precision of any input device for the iPad. According to Yearsley 2014 is the year for Collusion – they are based in the US now and have worked through the product fixes and have had some pretty successful trials of the product in schools and with emergency services investigation departments.
KISA | founded by Dmitry Levin, Dennis Volodomanov and Leon Kosher
The Kisa phone eliminates the complexities that make smartphones inaccessible – instead, featuring large tactile buttons, clear text and no screen, while allowing users to call family and friends with the push of a single button. The purpose of the phone is to make mobile communication accessible to everyone. The co-founders were all good friends before founding kisa; and after Levin expressed frustration about not being able to find an easy-to-use phone for his grandparents, they recognised an opportunity to fill a gap in the marketplace.
Ninja Blocks | founded by Madeleine and Marcus Schappi, and Mark Wotton (no longer with organisation)
The founders have successfully launched a number of products through Kickstarter including NinjaBlocks and the Microview. Each Ninja Block is a computer that can sense its surroundings and transmits information back to your favourite web app(s). Built into every Ninja, is an accelerometer and temperature sensor with four (more to come) expansion ports to add further sensors like motion sensors, distance sensor, and a camera. The device can also influence its surroundings by controlling lights and locking your door for example. Ninja Cloud allows users to control their Ninja Blocks without writing a single line of code. Using Ninja Cloud, users can program their Ninja Block by creating ‘Tasks’,which are made up of ‘Triggers’ (detected movements) and once a trigger has occurred, it’ll set off an ‘Action’ – They have just recently launched another cool device called the Ninja Sphere.
RUBIX | founded by Will Matters
Design-centric hardware startup RUBIX, has also kickstarted it’s crowdfunding campaign for AUGMENT, an innovative modular charging solution for the iPhone. The recharge unit simply needs to be jacked into the bottom of the iPhone like other charger plugs. The unit can be recharged using a typical USB plug. Matters, an industrial designer originally from Adelaide, who moved to China to work for a contract manufacturer, has taken the solution to the next level.
ModBot | founded by Daniel Pizzata and Adam Ellison
Modbot is a set of affordable, reusable, and user-friendly robotic modules that snap together like Lego, filling the major gap between a $100 hobby and $20,000 industrial motion equipment. The startup aims to put the power and precision of industrial grade robots into the hands of everyday consumers. The modules can be assembled into various configurations, such as a 3D printer, a robotic arm or even a humanoid, without the need for wiring and coding, and for a fraction of the cost of industry equivalents.
Edisse | founded by Nicholas Tong, Jai Chopra, Angela Mariani, Vanush Vaswani, John Haire and Emila Yang
In Australia alone, there are currently 3 million people above the age of 65 and each year 1 in 3 of these people fall, which results in an injury. Current systems such as a panic button attempt to solve this issue but have problems – they are relatively conspicuous, can be forgotten and left behind and in some situations, they can’t be utilised properly (e.g. unconscious after falling). The Edisse Watch then is an elegantly designed solution that instantly notifies a nominated carer of the incident and the location of such a fall, meaning help can get to the wearer as fast as possible.
GoFar | founded by Danny Adams
The mission that GoFar have for customers is that they experience a longer more meaningful relationship with their car. GoFar reduces the cost of owning a car. They aim to save you between $500 – $1500 a year. You just plug the GoFar device into your car’s onboard diagnostic port – it’s in all cars since 1996 and lives under the steering wheel.
Flirtey | founded by Matt Sweeney and Ahmed Haider
Flirtey has just completed the latest Startmate incubator program. Whilst the company as a whole are focused on being the newest way for deliveries to happen, the drone hardware product and what they are building it to do is extremely impressive. Flirtey have also worked closely with The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering and the team have established a working group so they can go through the process of applying for a RPAS registration.
Ingogo | founded by Hamish Petrie
What ingogo has done well is positioned themselves as a full service provider for taxi drivers that own their business. The hardware they provide customers is sleek, not bulky and from a customer perspective easier for drivers to use than bulky eftpos machines – is actually less than 10% of the cost of a normal full taxi fit out, which is usually north of $7,500. This is definitely the future of not just Taxi’s but on the move business models everywhere.