The program is officially live!
Earlier this month we commenced our inaugural seed investment program after receiving 70 applications from across Australia and overseas.
We’re excited by the diversity of companies and founders accepted into the program as it showcases the incredible talent that Australia could nurture and benefit from.
Our six-month program is customised for each company, offering operational support, access to the Skalata network of investors, prospective customers and advisors and up to $250,000 in funding to help the selected companies become significant and sustainable.
I sat down with three of the companies who joined our program to talk about the problems they’re solving, the traction they’ve gained and what attracted them to Skalata Ventures.
Founded in Qatar in 2014 by Sara Khorasani and Raffat Zreik, Gamyra Tech was established to transform driver training, rehabilitation and research through immersive simulation technology.
Whilst this technology has recently gained traction in the consumer space, it also has a myriad of applications from surgical training to workplace safety.
Previously engineers for the Williams Formula 1 Technology Center in Qatar, we saw that Sara and Raffat have the technical skills required to build and scale a great product that could benefit industries across Australia.
ML: What problem is Gamyra Tech solving?
SK: Over 3,000 lives are lost on the world’s roads every day, largely due to human error. Better driver training will undoubtedly save lives; however, in traditional on-the-road training, driving instructors do not have the tools to train students to deal with dangerous hazards without risking their own, and the students’ lives.
Gamyra Tech’s products offer instructors effective training tools in a completely safe environment, enabling training techniques that were not possible before.
ML: What are your long-term goals for Gamyra Tech?
RZ: In the medium-long term, we’re aiming to expand into other industries such as occupational health and safety, and medical.
ML: What attracted you to the Australian market and to our program?
SK: While Gamyra Tech gained considerable traction in Qatar, we wanted to move the business headquarters to Australia where there is a larger addressable market and a thriving startup ecosystem with greater support.
Skalata’s seed investment program is a critical step for us to develop from a local boot-strapped startup to a product-based, scalable and high-growth business.
Cattle farmers in Australia collectively run 28 million cattle across 200 million hectares and the industry is continually researching ways to improve efficiencies of production.
Darren Wolchyn, Founder of AgTech business, Smart Paddock, presented an innovative solution that provides Australian cattle farmers with the relevant tools to run their operations more effectively.
ML: What does Smart Paddock do?
DW: Through the creation of a Bluebell smart ear tag, Smart Paddock enables farmers to monitor the animals’ activity, whether it be health related or simply knowing if cattle are in the correct paddock.
ML: What prompted you to start Smart Paddock?
DW: The inspiration behind the ear tags came from visiting a childhood friend who raises cattle — he expressed how useful it would be to GPS track his cattle.
ML: How do you think Smart Paddock will make a difference?
DW: Smart Paddock will enable all cattle farmers to more effectively run their operations; larger producers will be able monitor their large herds as if they were a small operation, while family run farms will be able to manage larger herds without needing to invest in further labour or resources.
ML: What made you want to apply for the Skalata Ventures seed program?
DW: We were keen to be part of the Skalata program because we are in the ideal position to take full advantage of the support, guidance and connections that this program offers to assist us in scaling the company.
We’re also thrilled to be working with online volunteering marketplace, Vollie, who have developed a unique platform that could transform the volunteering industry.
Founded by Matthew Boyd and Tanya Dontas in 2016, Vollie aims to break down the barriers to entry with volunteering and connecting talented people with meaningful causes across the world.
ML: How do you think Vollie will make a difference?
MB: The volunteering rate in Australia sits at 19%, yet almost every one of us wants to make a positive impact in this world. The reasons why people don’t volunteer are because of limited time, a lack of flexibility with traditional volunteering, and not knowing how to get started. Vollie is providing a solution to all of these barriers, and as a result, will increase the volunteering rate in Australia and make a significant positive impact in the world.
ML: Can you describe how much traction you’ve had since inception?
TD: In two and a half years, the platform has facilitated 550 impact projects and generated $512,327 of skilled volunteer value back to the NFP sector.
ML: What made you want to apply for the Skalata program?
TD: Skalata is the perfect missing piece that matches where Vollie is in its lifecycle.
Businesses that are a couple of years in can find it very challenging to reach the current expectations of VC’s regarding monthly recurring revenue and this can stifle growth. It’s a huge leap going from being a startup to an established sustainable company and there’s not a lot of support for companies at that pre-venture capital stage.
We’re excited to have these companies join our program and we’re looking forward to sharing their progress with you over the next 6 months!
To keep up to date with Skalata Ventures and our portfolio companies, you can sign up to our newsletter at skalata.co