A start-up that intends to develop an online community named Shario, where musicians can borrow, lend and hire equipment, won Australia’s first Startup Weekend, hosted by Queensland University of Technology’s Creative Enterprise Australia in Brisbane 18-20 March.
The event saw fourteen teams, each hoping to launch a project combining creativity and technology, compete. They spent the weekend coming up with their ideas before pitching them to a judging panel comprised of Steve Baxter, founder of River City Labs; Drew Koven, CEO at The Beach People; Elaine Stead, director of investment at Blue Sky Funds; Michael Smellie, chairman of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia; and Carol Dickenson, senior deputy vice-chancellor of QUT.
Shario hopes to help musicians who cannot afford expensive gear, such as high-quality instruments and sound systems. “A lot of musicians have things lying around,” group presenter Ellen Hartwig told the panel, as reported by the ABC. “If I’m not currently using my guitar and Michael is not currently using his microphone, we could swap for the weekend. There’s a creative opportunity there for inspiration.”
Second prize went to Splash Zero, which plans to manufacture board shorts with an in-built waterproof pocket. In third place was Discovered, a music streaming service that allows users to rate local musicians and make connections with local venues. The winners share in a prize pool worth $10,000, which includes video training, an audit and a launch party.
“Innovation and start-ups are key to Australia’s growth and development, both economically and culturally,” said Michael Smellie. “The winners identified a market niche, came up with an idea that was viable, scalable and different, and presented it well.”
Declaration: Michael Smellie is also Chair of Music Australia