MOD. shocks with pain chairs, futuristic babies and Josh the robot

A lifelike robot head modelled on a real-life teenager, modified silicone babies, and a room dedicated to testing the perception of pain – welcome to the Museum of Discovery (MOD.).

The interactive public science and creativity space’s director, Dr Kristin Alford, says the museum has already attracted up to 6000 people since opening in May this year.

The futuristic museum of discovery, housed in the University of South Australia’s $247m health and research facility, aims to inspire young adults about the world of science and technology.

MOD. sets out to help shape people’s understanding of the world and explore possibilities of the future.

“We’re here to inspire young adults aged 15–25 about the potential of science and technology for their futures, whether that’s to keep them engaged in science and tech for their careers or just keep them engaged in, enjoying and appreciating science,” Dr Alford says.

“We will need science for most careers of the future.”

Josh the robot ‘wakes up’ when approached.

Spread over seven galleries across two floors, the rotating exhibitions at MOD. change every six months.

Among the exhibitions is a lifelike robot head placed in the corner.

Approach ‘Josh’ – modelled on a real life 18-year-old Adelaide man – and he will speak, 14 small motors under his skin controlling his expressions to match his words.

But to reach Josh, visitors must stroll past Transfigurations, a conversation starter by Agi Haines that explores surgical enhancement of babies to adapt to future conditions.

One of the baby’s heads features extra folds of skin allowing for greater ventilation to adapt to global warming, while a feature on another baby allows for faster absorption of caffeine.

Visitors wander through each of the silicone babies that have surgically enhanced features to help them cope with future conditions.

Another of MOD.’s highlights is the ‘pain room’ – a dark space dedicated to exploring the human perception of pain.

Two armchairs in the middle of the room invite daring visitors to sit, before they’re distracted by pictures and given a minor electric shock.

MOD.’s permanent exhibition is the Universal Gallery’s first Science on a Sphere – an Australian first featuring a large sphere hanging from the ceiling.

At the touch of a button the sphere can be transformed into planet Earth, the sun, moons, and other planets, and is currently set up to explore astronomy with Aboriginal stories.

Data can also be projected onto the sphere, showing weather movements and other data.

MOD.’s Universal Gallery is a permanent exhibition.

Dr Alford spent two years collaborating with researchers, artists, the public, students and government to build the futuristic museum, which she says is attracting about 1500 visitors a week.

Among the visitors who have so far stuck in her memory is a teenager who spent more than two hours exploring MOD. with her family.

“I went into the Universal Gallery on opening weekend and there was a 14 year-old-girl, she was wearing a t-shirt that said, ‘don’t talk to me’,” Dr Alford says.

“She just laid back and cried, ‘I love this place!’.

“She and her dad and sisters were still there two hours later exploring everything.”

Dr Alford has lived in SA for over a decade and is originally from Brisbane.

When she arrived in Adelaide she admits that things “felt a bit flat”.

MOD. director Dr Kristin Alford.

“I could see that there were lots of exciting things under the surface because as a futurist that’s what you’re looking for,” she says.

“I think there was a lot of discussion around that time around advanced manufacturing and there was a desire for things to move on but yet to see the traction.

“In the last 10 years I think we’ve seen that traction … with the work that’s being done at Tonsley (Innovation District) and there’s a whole lot of work that’s going on in creative industries and technology, co-working spaces, and software development.”

Dr Alford says Adelaide’s small size makes it the perfect place for entrepreneurs, artists and scientists to make connections fast.

“You can quickly find interesting people doing really interesting things,” she says.

“If you want to connect with an artist or a scientist to explore something it’s not hard, it’s probably two phone calls away.”

MOD.’s current exhibitions will remain until November when new installations will move in.

Entry to MOD. is free and it’s open every day except Mondays.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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No place like home for hugely successful Pocket Casts pair

Adelaide app developers Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic’s climb to the top of the tech game is the stuff of entrepreneurial dreams.

In 2008 the two work mates built their first app, Pocket Weather, as a side gig to their full-time day jobs.

A decade later and their Adelaide-based company Shifty Jelly and its hugely popular podcast app Pocket Casts has been snapped up by four of the biggest radio and podcast creators in the United States.

But despite the recent international investment in the South Australian tech company, the humble pair say they have no plans to move from Adelaide.

All development will stay in the city, with the Pocket Casts team based in a small office on Ebenezer Place in the Adelaide’s East End.

Their space is modest and shows no obvious signs of flashy success, although the duo joke that a Silicon Valley-style ping pong table would probably fit nicely in the corner and be welcomed by their small but soon-to-expand team.

“They were talking about wanting us to go to New York, but from the early days we said we wanted to stay in Adelaide,” Russell says.

“They could see that we’d make a successful product and they could have a level of trust in us so that even though they can’t be here all the time, they know our team will still deliver.”

Pocket Casts app developers and I Choose SA ambassadors Philip Simpson, left, and Russell Ivanovic. Photo by James Knowler/JKTP.

Since the acquisition earlier this year by the Americans – NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago and This American Life – Pocket Casts is knuckling down on its ambitions for the future.

I Choose SA ambassadors Philip and Russell say they hope to hire at least another six staff members before the end of the year, adding to their small team of five.

Weekly they Skype their new CEO, former iHeartRadio senior vice president and general manager, Owen Grover, who is based in New York.

Pocket Casts is a premium podcast listening app allowing users to access and manage more than 300,000 podcasts on Android, iOS or web devices.

It was launched a few years after Philip and Russell had quit their day job and started their own venture, Shifty Jelly, a two-man operation which grew to include a designer and support and admin staff.

Pocket Casts has been downloaded more than 100,000 times in Google’s Play Store and in 2015 the design was recognised by the internet giant at the annual San Francisco developers conference.

A recent ABC survey shows that almost 90% of Australians aged 18–75 claim to be aware of podcasts which allow users to download and listen to episodic audio files on electronic devices.

Pocket Casts was one of the first of its kind on the market and even came before Apple’s own podcast app.

Philip says having the backing of the US consortium means the team now has more flexibility and financial security to grow Pocket Casts’ features.

“We can be more flexible now … before we were always profitable but were restricted with money,” he says.

“Now we can expand more and put on more developers to help with the features we’ve been wanting to do for years, it’s very exciting.”

The popularity of Pocket Casts wasn’t Philip and Russell’s first brush with success.

Before launching Shifty Jelly in 2010 the pair’s first app, Pocket Weather, was released in 2008 and was an immediate hit.

Within one day of its release the weather app, showcasing live weather data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, shot to number one in the Australian Apple App Store.

“It was amazing because we didn’t expect that, but we didn’t really know what it meant either,” Philip says.

“We were earning more money outside of work than we were at work, so we decided to take the jump with Shifty Jelly, and it was definitely worth it.”

Both Philip and Russell agree Adelaide’s creative industries and technology scene holds real job prosperity for graduates and job seekers.

“There’s plenty of work coming out of Adelaide if you want it, there’s the defence sector and the start-up thing is also happening,” Russell says.

“There’s almost no reason to move to Sydney or Melbourne, you’ll be paying five times more for housing, transport and everything else.

“If I was coming fresh out of uni, I’d definitely be getting a job in Adelaide.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Homegrown VFX companies striking gold in film boost

Adelaide’s largest visual effects companies are seeing a surge in work on major Hollywood and Australian films as the state’s new 10% rebate kicks in.

Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) and Kojo have both recorded their highest growth year as the rebate for post production, digital and visual effects comes on top of the Federal Government’s existing 30% rebate.

It has led to Rising Sun Pictures establishing an entire new floor space at its Pulteney Street studio, with managing director and joint founder Tony Clark saying the studio is building on its busiest time in a 20-year history.

The space would house a projected 60 to 80 new staff as South Australia strengthens its global reputation and draws more work away from countries like rebate-rich Canada.

Hollywood blockbuster Thor launches in the theatre.

“In the past year we’ve achieved $22.7m in revenue, when you think about it over its 20 years, the company has probably contributed more than $250m to the state’s economy,” he says.

“The money flows directly from RSP staff into the economy, creating jobs for baristas, hairdressers, in schools or in housing.”

The highly regarded studio has led the way for SA, working on Hollywood blockbusters like Thor: Ragnarok and Gravity, and its current work was expected to see staff numbers peak as high as 280 by the end of 2018.

This includes work on the next Predator and the next X-Men films, along with Dumbo for Disney, directed by Tim Burton.

Rising Sun has also just finished its first major project for a Chinese film production, a fantasy adventure called Animal World that has secured a distribution deal with Netflix.

The Rising Sun crew.

Tony says he believes growth is also being spurred by the steady rise in film production in the US, Europe, Australia and China, triggering parallel demand for ever-more spectacular visual effects.

Earlier this year, another major development for the local industry was announced with global entertainment giant Technicolor saying it would open a $24m visual effects studio in Adelaide.

Its chief executive Fred Rose predicted the studio Mill Film could generate 500 new jobs in SA during the next five years.

Tony welcomes the news, saying building SA as a hub for the industry means it will attract a greater pool of talent – but means existing businesses must prepare for a more competitive labour market.

In a move to ensure more creative talent keeps appearing in the local jobs pipeline, Rising Sun Pictures has expanded its education program operating in partnership with the University of South Australia.

A new undergraduate course in visual effects skills was added to the offering and the Graduate Certificate program expanded.

The company also continues to search globally for talent, recently hiring veteran visual effects supervisor Tom Wood, who earned a 2016 Oscar nomination for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road.

At Kojo in Norwood, chief executive Dale Roberts is also feeling optimistic saying the creative services company’s film and TV section of the business “had its biggest year in history”.

Creative agency Kojo has experienced a surge in the number of project it’s taken on in the past year.

“In the past 12 months we’ve done a record number of projects, I think six, in a good year we would usually do three,” he says.

Dale says the new government rebate has certainly helped trigger more international work.

The team has worked on American-Australian thriller film Hotel Mumbai, on Storm Boy featuring Australian and Hollywood star Geoffrey Rush and earlier this year finished a second series of Wolf Creek for Stan.

“We’re also working on a new movie starring Hilary Swank called I am Mother and a new Netflix series called Pine Gap that was shot here earlier this year,” Dale says.

“Post production and visual effects is definitely the growth area for us.

“We are really good at it here in SA, we offer a world-class product out of Adelaide and because we have a different cost structure to somewhere like Sydney or London or New York, we can offer competitive pricing.”

Australian actor John Jarratt plays notorious serial killer Ivan Milat in TV series Wolf Creek.

Kojo’s numbers have increased to 90 across four offices in Australia along with about 30 contractors, with Dale saying its two other core businesses are also staying strong.

Its advertising, marketing and communications team recently won the contract for BMW events nationally, including for famed car brand Mini.

Meanwhile, Kojo sport won the contract to operate lighting, sound and video at the new Perth’s Optus Stadium – it already has the job at Adelaide Oval – and Dale says Kojo will pursue other stadium work during the year.

Kojo also has work with AFL teams Adelaide and Port Adelaide, along with Richmond, Essendon, West Coast and Fremantle.

“We’ve had an incredible year of growth, in the past year, our overall revenue has grown 20% year on year, and staff numbers have grown 12 to 15%,” Dale adds.

Adelaide-based VFX studio Resin is also experiencing growth from the state’s burgeoning creative industries sector.

The company says it has experienced 200% growth in the past financial year.

Resin’s portfolio includes the highly anticipated remake of SA classic, Storm Boy, as well as film Hotel Mumbai, which is set to open the Adelaide Film Festival in October.

The company is also currently working on the first ever Netflix original Australian produced series, Tidelands.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Adelaide company involved in Aladdin’s magic carpet

As the much-anticipated Aladdin and its magic carpet musical sweeps its performances around Australia, a niche Adelaide engineering company is helping keep the American-designed centrepiece in the air.

Peter Spooner is predictably tight-lipped on revealing any detail about how the intriguing carpet actually flies, saying only that “it’s actually magic, it’s a flying carpet”.

But adds that he’s looking forward to taking family and friends to see the Disney Theatrical performance when Alchemy helps move it into the Adelaide Festival Centre next year.

Photo by Deen van Meer courtesy of Disney.

The talented engineer, who established Alchemy Engineering with his friend Michael Shone in 2011, is only home in Adelaide for a 40-hour stopover after overseeing the show’s current installation in Perth.

Next stop is Indonesia where he’s helping work on some scenery for the opening of the Asian Games as a mechanical technician, but this job’s details are being kept quiet too.

For this creative company, growth has been about building industry contacts and trust in a multitude of confidential projects.

“Our business is all about building a relationship,” Peter says.

The Aladdin work came from Peter first meeting Australian Mark Henstridge from Disney during a job working on The Lion King in South Africa in 2006, and maintaining a connection.

In a tight-knit global industry, Peter and Michael have also worked on making sets for the State Opera and joining forces with Global Creatures, creators of theatrical arena show Walking with the Dinosaurs.

Alchemy Engineering directors Michael Shone, left, and Peter Spooner.

One of Peter’s favourite jobs was providing engineering and site support for Global Creature’s King Kong production in Melbourne, created in collaboration with PRG Scenic Technologies in the United States.

King Kong was amazing, it was a very big eye opener of how big and technically advanced the market is,” Peter says.

It’s these spin offs that prompted the two to start their business – “there’s the prospect of travel, there’s all the people that you meet, they are really interesting, they’re worldly, plus we’re building big contraptions that are doing some crazy things.”

There’s been work at Vivid in Sydney last year to support an award-winning lighting and sound display and building the floor for Annie the musical.

Peter has also worked with artist Craige Andrae creating installations throughout Adelaide including a statement maple leaf for a Mt Barker housing development and the silver rings sculpture on Osmond Terrace in Norwood.

There’s also the Memorial to the Forgotten Australians, four giant stainless steel daisies in the North Adelaide parklands created as a symbol of healing for children who suffered harm in state care.

While in 2014, Alchemy took care of the mechanics for giant fan leaves created for the Myer Centre fashion show in Sydney.

Alchemy was behind the mechanics for these large decorative leaves overhanging the runway at the Sydney Myer Centre fashion show.

Peter says the company runs a highly flexible and stripped back business model, the two control projects with admin support, and call in “a bunch of casual guys who have industry experience” when projects roll in.

There can be up to seven in the workshop at one time, with the company also relying on a valuable local supply chain of mainly South Australian businesses.

It was back in 2005 when the fitter and turner trained directors met working in the Adelaide Festival Centre engineering department to build scenery and props.

Their shared interest in weekend hobbies led to the two renting a workshop together in Wingfield where Peter was refurbishing his 1972 Toyota Celica car and Michael a sailing boat.

“It was our hobby workshop and we had started buying machines and tools, that was where we were on the precipice, and we decided why not have a go?” Peter says.

They moved into a larger Wingfield site and created four sections to the business, stage and theatre, architectural fabrication – “that’s really ramped up in the past two to three years”, industrial design and corporate display.

Alchemy has worked with architects and builders including Space Craft and Damien Chwalisz on one-off projects from staircases to balustrades and fences.

And on more traditional engineering work, producing wheel nuts, laser cutting and a contract with Adelaide company Top Shed making coffee tampers with a specific design brief.

“All of our suppliers are from SA, apart from some of the electrical components, and we try and buy Australian steel,” Peter says.

“Our business is all about building a relationship, to get the best out of everyone and for everyone to get the best out of us, it’s about people being honest with timeframes and their ability to deliver and it’s about having nice people to work with.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Meet the SA producer leading our TV and filmmaking initiatives

Film and TV producer Kirsty Stark has never felt the need to leave South Australia in order to pursue a successful career in filmmaking.

The 34-year-old, who heads Matchbox Pictures’ SA office, cut her teeth on the sets of SA-based feature films, learning from world-class directors and cinematographers taking advantage of the state’s picturesque scenery.

“Being in SA is what gave me the opportunity to build my career because I got the chance to work on feature films, learn from people, and get experience on set,” Kirsty says.

“There seems to be a lot of really interesting projects coming out of SA that are unique compared to what you would see in Sydney and Melbourne, which seems to be more standard.

“In SA we’re able to create projects that have a bit more of a unique voice.”

Matchbox Pictures is filming Channel 7 hit crime drama Wanted at SA Film Corporation’s Adelaide Studios, as well as in Murray Bridge and the Flinders Ranges.

Lead actors Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill are in SA for the project that will eventually flicker on TV screens in living rooms across the country.

Matchbox Pictures’ development producer and I Choose SA ambassador Kirsty Stark.

Kirsty is fulfilling her role as Matchbox’s development producer and she’s on the lookout for local writers and directors to develop their concepts for the screen.

“My role is to look for concepts from SA writers or directors and to develop them, so they can turn it into a production that we can hopefully film here in SA,” she says.

“We’re open to anything that’s scripted content – so not documentaries or reality TV.

“They can just get in touch with me and we can have a meeting or they can send through documents if they’ve already started on their idea.

“It’s a shame to see people go interstate to pursue those opportunities, so I’d love to build the industry here in SA.”

Kirsty’s climb to the producer’s chair began with her completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Screen Production, before tackling an Honours degree at Flinders University.

She then set out for the film industry, assisting camera departments on set of a number of Aussie dramas being shot in SA, including Beautiful Kate, Oranges and Sunshine, Lucky Country, and the notorious biographical crime horror film Snowtown.

“I loved all of my camera assisting experiences, part of it was being able to travel so much to different parts of SA and seeing so many unique locations,” Kirsty says.

“I was starting to build projects and have a bit more creative control over things, and through that my friend Vivyan Madigan and I started Epic Films.

“We were both camera people and wanted to shoot on 16mm film, but realised the only way we’d have the opportunity to do that was to do it ourselves.”

Through Epic Films Kirsty produced the company’s first major project, a post-apocalyptic series Wastelander Panda, which was ABC iview’s first drama series commissioned in Australia.

Epic Films is also behind ABC iview comedy Goober, kids show First Day and documentary series Unboxed.

As an individual, Kirsty also produced the film A Month of Sundays starring Anthony LaPaglia and John Clarke.

While the larger states of Australia may be seen as the entertainment meccas of Australia, Kirsty says it is possible to make a career in film and TV in SA.

Matchbox Pictures hasn’t been the only film and production company with its sights set on SA, as Screentime Australia and Technicolor are also establishing a presence here.

“It feels like it’s set to take off here. There will be many exciting things coming out of SA,” Kirsty says.

“We’re all supporting each other instead of feeling like we need to compete … we’re just doing what we need to do and creating an industry for ourselves.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Global reach a reality for Adelaide creatives

Anton Andreacchio is waiting for a flight to take him to the Taipei Film Festival when he grabs a few minutes to run through the swathe of projects his virtual reality company Jumpgate VR is delivering in the coming financial year.

It kicks off with Anton’s presentation at the festival and leads onto a series of meetings with some of Taipei’s most important cultural leaders, including from its symphony orchestra and performing arts centre.

This thriving Adelaide business has certainly piqued the interest of cultural institutions around the world after creating what is believed to be a world first virtual reality symphony with the Adelaide orchestra back in 2015.

“We have about 35 projects on the go, most are in South Australia and Victoria but we’ve got some in Northern Territory with some mining companies, in the arts, film making, entertainment, to high performance training in sport and safety training,” Anton says.

The company, based in Adelaide but also with an office in Melbourne, is currently touring an Adelaide Symphony Orchestra virtual reality production throughout SA that brings its unique performance to life for those unable to make the town hall.

The Jumpgate VR team Genevieve Rouleau, left, Carlo Andreacchio, Anton Andreacchio, and Piers Mussared at a football game following the company’s joining of forces with the AFL to incorporate VR into the game.

Its successes are also seeing a growing number of contracts in the sporting world after Jumpgate joined forces with the Australian Football League a few years ago.

The work ranges from bringing new VR elements to the games for fans to helping its elite athletes improve their performances – with players donning headsets to observe replays or new game play simulations.

“Each club uses it very differently,” Anton says.

This nimble and creative business is not the only one in Adelaide making its mark in the creative and virtual reality space with Adelaide companies like Monkeystack and Untethered VR also working to push the boundaries.

Animation and interactive design studio Monkeystack recently won a substantial international 2D animation contract.

It’s keeping the details under wraps but expects it will help swell staff numbers by 40%.

Its Adelaide-based team is equally as adaptive working across 3D animation, VR, simulations and visual effects, growing from its three founders in 2004 to a team of 36 artists, producers, programmers, designers and project managers.

Untethered VR has also found its own niche, creating Adelaide’s first virtual reality arcade with its doors officially opened by Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese in March this year.

Anton says companies are recognising Adelaide is a great place to work but they needed to remember that it shouldn’t be trying to mimic other cities.

“Our whole business plan is to reach really high in Adelaide and to pivot across Australia, it’s a great testing ground,” he says.

Jumpgate may have burst onto the arts scene with its virtual reality show of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, but now its joint owners including Anton, his brother Carlo and Piers Mussared, are winning international recognition for their cutting edge approach to all kinds of genres.

It has a close relationship with the Australian String Quartet, and its recent collaboration with famed Australian photographic artists Narelle Autio and Trent Parke The Summation of Force was selected for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

The work, co-directed with Matthew Bate, appeared in the New Frontier program of cutting-edge digital art at the prestigious Sundance event in the United States.

The program aims to push storytelling boundaries with new technology.

Anton says another artistic collaboration, this time with artists James Darling and Lesley Forwood and the Australian String Quartet, is currently showing at Hugo Michell Gallery in Norwood.

Jumpgate VR managing director Anton Andreacchio.

Their Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe installation has involved flooding two thirds of the gallery and generating a landscape spanning three billion years.

“It’s virtual reality without the headset, it’s showing where the building is and how it looked three billion years ago,” Anton says.

Meanwhile, Jumpgate is also finding a growing interest from industries around work, health and safety.

It has formed a relationship with industry based group training organisation PEER, along with mining and construction companies, as they discover virtual reality’s potential in giving them an edge in training staff.

“We’re really excited about the art world work and the potential with virtual reality but the other one we’re really excited about is the PEER relationship, industry is really interested in being engaged,” he says.

“It will be a paradigm shift.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Is Adelaide poised to become the mecca of start-ups?

Adelaide’s talent pool of thinkers, its world-class universities and gigabit speed internet networks make it the ultimate breeding ground for start-up business and budding entrepreneurs, says TechInSA’s Dr Judy Halliday.

The director of industry development and Hybrid World Adelaide LAB mentor says the city’s small-town environment also works in favour of entrepreneurs wanting to connect with the right people.

“I think there are a number of advantages in South Australia,” says Dr Halliday who has been with start-up support agency TechInSA, born from the former State Government’s bioscience agency, since 2016.

“There is high quality talent here as well as world-class universities, and there’s a lot of defence related work going on.

“Adelaide has that small enough but big enough thing going on … in the bigger cities it’s a bit more competitive.”

TechInSA’s Dr Judy Halliday.

Dr Halliday has more than 25 years’ experience working in technology commercialisation and innovation and has helped raise millions of dollars for start-up businesses.

She says the gigabit speed internet networks – GigCity and Ten Gigabit Adelaide – are a huge advantage over other cities, particularly in the gaming and virtual reality (VR) sector.

“GigCity is really important for supporting start-ups and technology development in VR, AR (augmented reality) and the creative and gaming space,” Dr Halliday says.

“But also our universities are world-class and the biomedical precinct on North Terrace is a great aggregation of a lot of intensive, useful and really cutting-edge health sector related opportunities.

“There are many real strengths.”

Born overseas and moving to Australia in the 1980s, Dr Halliday built her career as an inventor, founder, investor, academic and industry professional in Brisbane.

Before moving to SA she was non-executive director of a company in the US state of Georgia, Que Oncology, which ended up raising $16m in a Series A round.

Dr Halliday says she was lured to SA by its burgeoning innovation ecosystem.

“I could see that there was a deliberate intention to support the innovation ecosystem in SA, and I thought that was a terrific opportunity,” she says.

“I was really attracted to the opportunity to be here and get involved very early on in the ecosystem in SA, which is world class.”

Thebarton-based TechInSA works with start-up companies and entrepreneurs to bring their innovations to global markets.

The agency provides grants, programs, business and marketing assistance, lab and office spaces and access to international networks.

Since late 2016, TechInSA has assisted more than 150 start-ups in business advice, networking, and marketing.

“TechInSA’s broad aim is to provide support for early stage commercialisation of technologies developed in SA,” Dr Halliday says.

“Recently we were involved in taking four SA founders to London Tech Week to help expose them to global markets.

“We’re there to support companies and founders that have a global intention … it’s about building sustainable businesses for SA’s future.”

TechInSA’s success stories include Adelaide space start-up business Myriota, which recently raised US$15m through a number of venture funds.

Dr Halliday says the support and services TechInSA provides helps fast track a business’ success.

“It’s really about getting more quickly to a point whether that be getting a product to a customer, getting an investor or supply chain partner, or in some cases it’s about knowing whether this idea, product or service is going to succeed or fail,” she says.

Hybrid World Adelaide creative director Robert Tercek on stage at the HWA conference.

Later this month, Dr Halliday will be involved in Hybrid World Adelaide (HWA), a digital entertainment and technology event that celebrates tech culture in the state.

As a HWA LAB mentor, Judy will assist 15 finalists in developing their projects, pitches and ideas.

The finalists, to be revealed next week, will come together over two days.

“It’s a fairly intensive opportunity to meet with many mentors who have experience in a number of different industries, to pressure test their idea, business plan or go to market strategy,” Dr Halliday says.

“It’s an opportunity to ask lots of questions and hear what is often confronting feedback from mentors to help them really make their business leaner and meaner.

“It’s not often that you have access to many high-quality mentors in a short amount of time.”

HWA runs from July 20-24. Click here to check out the program.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Adelaide innovation firm finds solutions in the digital age

Digital innovation firm Enabled Solutions began as a two-man, home-based operation and is now celebrating almost 20 years in the game.

The Adelaide business and its team of 16 designers, software developers and business consultants, has taken on clients as close as down the road and as far as around the globe.

Over the past two decades it’s built relationships with some of South Australia’s most renowned businesses, helping bring them into the digital age by developing apps, software and digital experiences.

In 2016, Enabled celebrated a successful development with Adelaide-based Coopers Brewery involving the world’s first fully automated home brewing machine.

Through the BrewArt home brewing kit, home brewers can monitor their batch anywhere and at any time via a smartphone app.

Enabled also marked its place in the digital innovation space through its works with a string of other local companies, including Seeley International, Clipsal and the RAA.

The southern suburb-based agency developed the RAA’s app, myRAA, removing the need for members to carry a membership card and allowing benefits and competitions to be more easily accessed.

Enabled Solutions CEO Grant Hull says Adelaide’s size makes for great networking and business opportunities.

He also says the city is a perfect breeding ground for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs and that it’s becoming increasingly renowned for the sector.

“There is a tremendous amount of opportunity wherever you are in the world, but in SA there has always been enough work for us at Enabled,” Grant says.

“There seems to be a reputation building in SA and it’s reaching a point of substance.”

Adelaide’s brightest thinkers, budding entrepreneurs and innovation leaders are set to bring their ideas to the table in July through the city’s Entrepreneur’s Week and Hybrid World.

The Enabled Solutions team at the Malvern studio.

Grant co-founded Enabled Solutions with a university classmate in 1999 with little more than a desktop computer.

Their client base grew, as did their reputation for being one of the first movers in app development and mobile technology.

Grant’s brother Craig joined the business after some time and Enabled has since gone on receive a number of accolades in the tech space.

Recently, its internal culture book won an award of excellence in Corporate Communications Category at the 2018 Communicator Awards.

Grant also has strong ties to SA’s three universities, the University of Adelaide, UniSA, and Flinders University.

For the past four years he’s been a lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s annual Australian Tech eChallenge, which allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and potential investors.

Grant says partnering with the state’s universities is not only a way for him to “give back” but also allows him to search for the next generation of potential employees.

“When you head up a business, you’re passionate about your own team, but you also think about how you can bring more great people on board, and working with the universities is one way to do that,” he says.

“Also, when you’re working with large businesses they don’t want you to play with their business, they don’t want mistakes.

“So (by working with universities) you can experiment with what works and what doesn’t – it’s a proving ground.”

Grant says many local entrepreneurs and tech-start ups launch their businesses in Silicon Valley in the US which is regarded as the global tech hotspot.

“A number of people go to Silicon Valley and raise enough capital before realising that rent is through the roof,” he says.

“There are opportunities here in Adelaide. I think we’re doing quite well here in SA. We’re self-sufficient inventors.”

Header photo: Enabled Solutions co-founders Grant Hull, left, and Craig Hull.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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