Lot Fourteen to sprout future investment opportunities

For South Australian IT consultancy firm Chamonix IT Solutions, moving to Lot Fourteen has paved the way for investment opportunities and greater collaboration with fellow businesses.

Lot Fourteen – the new name for the 7ha old Royal Adelaide Hospital site – is transforming into a growing innovation neighbourhood under the management of Renewal SA on behalf of the State Government. It has become home to a number of tech, cyber security, defence and space related businesses and industry organisations, with more than 1000 people expected to work there by September, 2019, and thousands more to join in coming years.

Chamonix, which also has three sister companies, Exposé: Data Exposed, SecMatters and Cortex, was one of Lot Fourteen’s first tenants.

The IT business was founded in Adelaide in 2010, specialising in end-to-end digital transformation and IT consulting. Exposé: Data Exposed focuses on data analysis and business intelligence, SecMatters in cyber security and Cortex Interactive in immersive learning and development, and on-boarding solutions using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

The Cortex team.

Since moving to Lot Fourteen, Chamonix has employed an extra 35 staff in total across its four tech businesses, bringing its total workforce to about 120 people. It’s also offered employment to a number of university graduates from the state’s three main universities who have gone through Chamonix’s graduate program.

Chamonix founders Geoff Rohrsheim and Scott Grigg say the energy in the building has “elevated to the next level” since the announcement that Lot Fourteen will become home to the Australian Space Agency.

In a massive coup for South Australia, Lot Fourteen will host the nation’s space HQ, set to transform and grow the country’s globally respected space industry and inspire the next generation of space entrepreneurs.

When the announcement was made public in December last year, it signalled a boost for the SA economy and potential engagement between other space, cyber security, defence and tech businesses not only within Lot Fourteen but across the state.

Geoff Rohrsheim is highly optimistic about potential investment opportunities the space agency could bring to Chamonix and its sister companies.

“The four businesses in our portfolio are still growing. That’s part of the interest in Lot Fourteen for us, being here we will see smaller companies and other companies will see us,” he says.

“The Defence Landing Pad and the space agency will attract companies from around the world and when they land here, they’ll need help … so there’s an opportunity to be able to help them with their IT needs, or partner with them in some way or form.”

State manager of Chamonix John Gray, Premier Steven Marshall and Exposé general manager Kelly Drewett.

Scott Grigg agrees, adding that smaller start-ups within the innovation precinct could benefit from mentoring and investment opportunities larger, more established tenants might be able to provide.

“(There are) opportunities for us to partner, to invest in and mentor up-and-coming organisations. People who have a great idea come in and want to market it, want to commercialise it, but don’t necessarily have the skills or the venture capital, so it was very attractive to go in (to Lot Fourteen) from that point of view,” he says.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway says Lot Fourteen is an attractor for local and global companies wanting to be at the cutting edge of technological development, bringing with them new products and ways of doing business.

“There is global interest to invest in Lot Fourteen from a variety of industries from space and defence to rapid growth start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs,” he says. “The site is specifically designed to inspire collaboration across the innovation ecosystem and is an ideal place to plant an office to reach out into the Asia Pacific market.”

An artist’s impression of Lot Fourteen, once fully redeveloped. Photo: Renewal SA.

Mr Ridgway says the start-up hub will also allow businesses to consider new partnerships with research institutions and other SMEs to develop new products and services, leading to further investment in SA. The space agency will also drive collaboration, he says.

“The SA space industry is a mixture of traditional aerospace companies and new tech start-ups with a space focus,” Mr Ridgway says. “As the doorway for other international space companies and agencies to enter Australia, I believe the National Space Agency will drive collaboration between established space companies  and new start-ups to grow and further develop our state’s thriving space industry.”

Lot Fourteen is already home to a number of businesses and organisations across the technology, cyber security, defence and space fields. Among them is highly successful satellite start-up Myriota, which specialises in low cost Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

Another is the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), aimed at supporting local businesses to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) products. The institute recently partnered with the world’s largest aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, who is moving a team of researchers from its STELaRLab (Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory) to be co-located with AIML.

The Margaret Graham Building. Photo: Renewal SA.

International defence companies looking to establish in SA will be increasingly supported through the State Government’s Defence Landing Pad, providing access to affordable and short-term office facilities co-located with similar companies and industry associations.

At the centre of Lot Fourteen’s efforts to attract investment from budding and established entrepreneurs is FIXE@Lot Fourteen, a model led by SA’s Chief Entrepreneur Jim Whalley and the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

FIXE is tasked with attracting start-ups by accommodating 650 workspaces, encouraging new and established businesses to develop their ideas, identify investment opportunities, and connect members of the entrepreneurial community.

Commenting in relation to SA’s Blockchain Innovation Challenge last month, Jim said “the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur is delivering a vision to put entrepreneurship at the heart of SA’s economic game plan through FIXE, a new approach to inspiring, equipping, enabling and celebrating entrepreneurs to ensure they have the skills to grow a business from concept through to creation”.

For more information on the wider redevelopment of Lot Fourteen click here.

Industry in focus: Trade and Investment

Throughout the months of January and February, the state’s trade and investment industry will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia is in a prime position for trade and investment opportunities as we have a 24-hour connection to international markets and a prime reputation for our premium products and services.  Read more trade and investment stories here.

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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Overheard at Entrepreneurs Week 2018

More than 400 innovators poured into the Adelaide Convention Centre on Monday, July 9, to reign in Entrepreneurs Week 2018, the fourth annual installation of the event.

There were app developers, business founders, health professionals, scientists, CEOs, PhD students, and educators from South Australia and abroad all soaking up the wisdoms, teachings and inspirations on offer.

Continuing until Friday July 13 (and spilling a little into the following week) Entrepreneurs Week explores new technologies, workspaces, and why social entrepreneurship may be the most important of them all.

Brand SA News was there to soak up the pearls of wisdom, and here are a few.

South Australia is impressive, there are incredible companies here. I think SA is one of the leaders, if not the leader in just pure entrepreneurial spirit. – Chris Adams, former Facebook insider and Entrepreneurs Week keynote speaker.

Entrepreneurial schools are coming to SA

Four public schools will become entrepreneurial hotbeds, teaching students creativity, problem solving and collaboration.

“We will have specialist entrepreneur schools where you will see real life entrepreneur activity and very strong relationships developed with industry and the private sector,” Minister for Industry and Skills David Pisoni told the Entrepreneurs Week opening event on May 9.

The four schools will be chosen later this year and are expected to help set the course for the state’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship will also be added to the school curriculum, Mr Pisoni says.

“The SACE board is at this moment developing an entrepreneurial curriculum to be rolled out in our high schools,” he says.

“So every high school in SA, whether it be in the private sector or the public sector, will have access to the entrepreneurial curriculum.”


The old Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site is one to watch

The State Government has big plans for the old hospital, which closed in 2017 following the opening of the city’s world-class new RAH in 2017.

Part of the vision for the North Terrace/Frome Road site includes an innovation and start-up hub for entrepreneurs and businesses.

The precinct will be a place for the generation of new ideas and technology within sectors such as defence, cyber security, space, food and wine, medical technology, robotics, and creative industries.

Mr Pisoni says that 2000 people will be working for businesses in the entrepreneurial precinct by this time next year.

“Certainly the heritage buildings on that site (are) being converted into the largest innovation and entrepreneur centre in Australia where we will see a mix of start-ups and high-tech companies,” he says.

“Within a decade we want our state to have the highest number of start-up businesses in the nation.”


July is the entrepreneur’s version of Mad March.

You thought the festival season was only in March, right?

Not quite. July is also getting its fair share of festivities with the calendar of events an entrepreneurial playground.

Aside from Entrepreneur’s Week, we have Hybrid World, Avcon, the Umbrella Winter Sounds Festival, The Adelaide Festival of Ideas, the Adelaide Dance Festival and the Joint Dance Congress.

Acting Adelaide Mayor Sandy Verschoor sums it up well.

“I think we can look forward to what’s happening now which is a bit of winter renaissance,” she says.

“This month is going to be absolutely huge.”


The entrepreneurial game is full of lessons, including failure.

Former Facebook insider Chris Adams was a keynote speaker at the Entrepreneurs Week opening event.

He shared highlights of his extensive career so far, including how he created and produced the first user-generated reality TV series, Facebook Diaries, which lead to the launch of the Facebook ‘share’ button.

He shared an insight into what it’s really like to become an entrepreneur from the ground up.

“If you are going to fail, fail spectacularly. Fail as quickly as you can but make it part of your story,” he says.

“Someday you’ll look back when you tell your story at whatever point in your life, and that failure will be like the hero’s journey, a challenge, something on the curve in which you found yourself, an incident that changed your path.”

Chris also believes that to reach success you must lay the groundwork.

“Every time we build a company or join a company, we’re looking at the $20m house with marble floors. We look at the interior design and the lighting, the taps in the bathroom,” he says.

“Planning – it’s the boring stuff and the stuff we don’t see that supports what we do see. So put your dreams in the $20m house, in the beautiful taps and the Mercedes, but put your work into the slab.”

Entrepreneurs Week keynote speaker Chris Adams at the opening event.

Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and abilities

Social entrepreneur Dr Guy Turnbull, who was named UK Entrepreneur of the Year, is in SA to inspire budding innovators and business founders on what it takes to make it in the game.

The Entrepreneurs Week keynote speaker was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was two, and has exercised his entrepreneurial skills his whole life.

“When I make myself a cup of tea … although it takes a bit longer I haven’t burnt myself in 52 years. So it’s about ingenuity and that again is another entrepreneurial trait,” says the former managing director of Care And Share Associates (CASA).

“Entrepreneurs come from many different sectors, and many different walks of life, and from many different abilities.”


We’re kicking goals when it comes to female entrepreneurship

SA is home to a community of female entrepreneurs with global ambitions.

Look at Italian rocket scientist Flavia Tata Nardini, who came to Adelaide for love after meeting her engineering husband who is from SA.

She now runs Fleet Space Technologies and is one of the people behind the push for SA to become Australia’s space technology hub.

Flavia, along with a number of other local female entrepreneurs, shared their insights at the Entrepreneurs Week Celebrating SA’s Female Founders session.



Did you overhear something worth sharing? Let us know on Twitter #EWeekSA2018

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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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Premier Steven Marshall on his vision for the old RAH’s future

The redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital (oRAH) is an “incredible opportunity” for South Australia to create new themes in innovation, entrepreneurship and high-value job creation, says Premier Steven Marshall.

Brand SA News recently sat down with Mr Marshall, South Australia’s 46th Premier, to discuss his vision for the redevelopment and to ask – what infrastructure opportunities does the 7ha site present?

The State Government’s ambition for the oRAH will see it transformed into an innovation and start-up precinct, an international centre for tourism, hospitality and food services, and a national Aboriginal art and culture gallery.

“I think this site itself is so special it will attract global companies that want to have an Australian presence,” Mr Marshall says.

“I’m very optimistic about the potential for this site.”

Photo: Steven Marshall MP Twitter.

One of the global companies the State Government has its eye on is Google.

The government recently approached the US tech giant in a bid to bring Google’s Australian headquarters to Adelaide.

Some of the state’s top business leaders have also voiced their desires for the global household brand to set up in the city.

Mr Marshall says some aspects of the tech giant’s operations would be ideal for South Australia and the oRAH site.

“There are some aspects of the Google operation which I think will be ideally suited to South Australia and we’re having in-depth discussions with the Google organisation now,” he says.

“I don’t think they’re going to uproot themselves from New South Wales and transfer all employees here, but I think there are very real opportunities … to bring areas of specialisation here to South Australia and they would be ideally suited to the old Royal Adelaide Hospital innovation precinct.”

The new chapter of the oRAH site began on September 6, 2017, when an ambulance blared its siren as it transferred the last patient to the new, world-class facility.

It marked the end of an era for the North Terrace/Frome Road site and the beginning of a once-in-a-century opportunity to create another standout piece of infrastructure for Adelaide’s CBD.

Now plans are afoot to breathe new life into the location, with demolition already taking place and continuing into 2019.

By the nature of its size and central location, the oRAH site presents a ‘build it and they will come’ opportunity that Mr Marshall says is unlikely to present again.

“We are very lucky because when you survey Adelaide there is a lot of opportunity to go up,” he says.

“Seven hectares in the middle of one of the world’s most liveable cities is an incredible opportunity and we have to make sure we do this, but also do it in a timely way so the site doesn’t sit vacant for longer than it needs to.”

A number of Renewal SA-led activations have already occurred at the oRAH since it closed in 2017. These have included music festivals, interactive light installations and Fringe shows.

Under the State Government’s oRAH vision, the creation of the innovation and start-up hub will be overseen by a chief entrepreneur who is “independent of the government” and will lead the facility’s establishment and operation.

The hub would allow new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and explore new technologies across fast-growing industries of defence and space, cyber security, food and wine, medical technology, robotics, and media and film.

Other plans for the oRAH include a $60m international centre for tourism, hospitality and food studies, which would include the relocation of the International College of Hotel Management and the Le Cordon Bleu school from Regency Park TAFE.

Mr Marshall says he wants South Australia to host more international students as they contribute greatly to the economy.

“We think that this old Royal Adelaide Hospital site is precisely the type of location to encourage more and more international students to come and study here in Adelaide and maybe even start businesses in South Australia,” he says.

According to the oRAH vision, Adelaide also has the potential to become the gateway to Aboriginal Australia, by way of a national Aboriginal art and culture gallery.

Mr Marshall says the South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of SA and Tandanya (National Aboriginal Cultural Institute) would work together to create something of national and international significance.

Other elements of the proposed oRAH redevelopment include a contemporary art gallery, hotel accommodation, and integration with the botanic gardens.

It is understood the redevelopment will take decades to come to fruition, and that decisions on development partners are yet to be made.

A pop-up event unfolds at the oRAH. The building is partially covered in a printed shade cloth designed by local artist Vans the Omega.

In the meantime, Renewal SA – which is managing the oRAH redevelopment – has activated the site with a number of temporary installations including music festivals, interactive light installations and fringe shows.

Mr Marshall says the oRAH won’t be the only key piece of infrastructure to unfold in Adelaide’s CBD

He says the Adelaide Casino revamp, the Adelaide Festival Plaza works, and Charter Hall’s $250m office tower development for BHP are other major projects helping to transform the city.

Mr Marshall says the Women’s and Children’s Hospital also presents another future development opportunity, as the State Government intends to co-locate the facility to the new RAH site by 2024.

“The detailed planning is being done on that at the moment … but therefore there will be an opportunity for another redevelopment of similar magnitude (as the oRAH) maybe not in quite the same iconic location, but a similar magnitude,” he adds.

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Calling Adelaide entrepreneurs! Eastside Startup Series is here

A series of business mentoring opportunities in Adelaide’s east throughout the year aims to aid future business growth within the city’s emerging startups.

The Norwood Payneham and St Peters Council and Adelaide Company LeapSheep are presenting the Eastside Startup Series, a collection of entrepreneurial and networking events throughout 2018.

LeapSheep CEO and former head of entrepreneurship and innovation at Microsoft, Kirk Drage, will host Global Opportunites on Tuesday April 17, at Brick+Mortar Creative.

LeapSheep CEO Kirk Drage will share his startup wisdom on April 17.

The event will feature two panelists, Ken Saman, founder and CEO of Adelaide-based tech company Personify Care, and Andre Eikmeier, co-founder of Aussie wine start-up Vinomofo.

They will discuss Adelaide’s hyper-connectivity and its opportunities and technologies that can enable startups to accelerate their growth and success.

Then on July 4 a free networking event at Little Bang Brewing Co in Stepney will allow participants to connect and share knowledge with other entrepreneurs and business owners.

The networking opportunity falls prior to Entrepreneurs Week from July 9 –13, which involves a showcase of forums, talks and events on innovation and startup success stories within SA.

Norwood Payneham and St Peters Mayor Robert Bria says entrepreneurs are big contributors to local economies and that a number of success stories have already emerged in the area.

“It is important for the entrepreneurial and startup business industries to be supported through local opportunities for learning, development and networking…” he says.

Eastside Startup Series will continue in the second half of the year, with a Startup Growth Hacks session on September 18, followed by The Future of Work on November 20.

Chairman of Coworking SA Josh Garratt says events are a crucial part in building and supporting start-ups.

“Events are an essential ingredient in supporting startups through the process of building the companies and jobs of the future,” he says.

“Bringing these people together fosters community which has an economic multiplier effect.”

The first Eastside Startup Series event was held in February.

Each session will cater for 40 participants. Book tickets here.

New entrepreneurship hub to boost innovation on the Limestone Coast

Entrepreneurs and businesses in South Australia’s second largest city – Mount Gambier – will be given a leg up when a $1.5m innovation incubator opens in 2018.

The hub called eNVIsion Limestone Coast will be delivered through the eNVIsion accelerator program led by Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI) at Tonsley.

To be located in Mount Gambier’s town centre, the regional incubator will give emerging entrepreneurs and business people “the tools to get started”, while creating jobs and increasing exports.


eNVIsion Limestone Coast is expected to open in Mount Gambier’s town centre in early 2018.

The hub will feature co-working spaces, workshops, and access to acceleration programs, large file sharing, video conferencing, and content streaming technologies.

It will also be connected to the high-speed broadband GigCity network, helping to “break down regional barriers to create a thriving business ecosystem”.

While supported by Flinders University, eNVIsion Limestone Coast also received funding from the three tiers of government.

Overall investment in the project, expected to launch in early 2018, is about $1.5m.

NVI director Matt Salier says the innovation incubator will help entrepreneurs, business leaders, researchers and industry professionals to compete in national and global economies.

The regional innovation hub will be a place for business owners and emerging entrepreneurs to connect with industry leaders and launch their ideas.

The regional incubator will be a place for business owners and emerging entrepreneurs to launch their ideas.

He says innovation incubators generally have links to angel investors and global ‘launching pads’, like those NVI has in Austin, Shanghai and Singapore.

“We have been talking to the local council about the needs of the community and all of the wonderful opportunities down there and where they see growth,” Matt says.

“The agriculture and seafood industry – these industries are already there and very much having a global focus.

“We are confident our incubator can assist more from these and other industries to succeed in the same way.”

Matt says interest from potential eNVIsion tenants is already strong.

“We have networks all over the world whether it’s in Asia, the US or Europe, we are bringing that capability to local businesses and working with great people already, like (local design studio) Hello Friday,” he says.

“These are the types of businesses that are able to compete from wherever they are.”

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Hope for IVF parents – and it’s all because of a SA entrepreneur

South Australian stem cell biologist-turned-entrepreneur Dr Michelle Perugini is set to not only change lives, but help create them.

From Adelaide Life Whisperer co-founder Dr Perugini has helped to develop cutting-edge technology that will improve IVF couples’ chances at having children.

Life Whisperer is an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, cloud-based image analysis platform that improves accuracy of healthy embryo selection in IVF treatments.

Set for commercial release in 2018, the Adelaide-based start-up will be a lifeline for many couples undergoing unpredictable and expensive IVF treatments which currently have a low success rate.

“There are 1.4 million people who undergo IVF each year … it’s is a huge industry that’s growing by about 12% globally year-on-year,” Dr Perugini says.

“If you know anyone who has gone through the process, it’s quite terrible and can be very traumatic.

“So it’s nice to be applying technology to help these people to have children.”

Dr Michelle Perugini is the I Choose SA for Entrepreneurship ambassador.

Dr Michelle Perugini is the I Choose SA for Entrepreneurship ambassador.

Life Whisperer was launched in February 2017 by Dr Perugini, her husband Dr Don Perugini and business partner Dr Jonathan Hall.

Currently, IVF involves an embryologist selecting a suitable embryo for implantation based on a visual assessment.

Life Whisperer improves the accuracy of this assessment by using key algorithms that recognise the features of a healthy embryo.

“Currently the embryologist assesses which embryo to implant by looking down a microscope, but instead they will have a software, web-based application next to that microscope,” Dr Perugini says.

“They will drag and drop the images of the embryos and it will come up with an instant assessment of which ones they should chose for probability of success.”

Life Whisperer doesn’t impose any changes in the process for the clinic or the patient, she says.

“The patient will benefit from the knowledge that they’re using the most advanced technology to be able to select the best possible embryo,” Dr Perugini says.

In June 2017 Life Whisperer partnered with Monash IVF Group and its subsidiary Repromed to allow access to thousands of embryo images.

Based in the University of Adelaide’s start-up incubator ThincLab, Life Whisperer is currently looking for funding to help launch offshore in addition to Australia-wide.

The start-up has already secured TechInSA funding to help drive commercial growth.

Life Whisperer is not Dr Perugini’s first dip into SA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Adelaide start-up Life Whisperer will make the world of difference for couples undergoing IVF treatments, as it will improve the accuracy of the embryo selection process.

The Perugini couple are also founders of AI platform Presagen, launched in conjunction with Life Whisperer in early 2017.

Presagen specialises in automation of human-centric tasks and medical diagnostics using AI techniques.

Before launching both Presagen and Life Whisperer, the husband-and-wife duo first became an entrepreneurial force in 2007.

After completing their PhDs at the same time, the Perugini’s combined Michelle’s 10-year background in medical research with Don’s technologically-focused experience in the defence industry.

The result was start-up ISD Analytics and its revolutionary software used by businesses to predict consumer behaviour.

In 2015 ISD Analytics was sold to Ernst and Young.

The pair’s innovative solutions have taken them across the globe, including to Silicon Valley.

But raising a young family and harbouring an unwavering passion for Adelaide’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has caused them to always call SA home.

“There’s a genuine camaraderie around entrepreneurship and innovation in this state,” Dr Perugini says.

“There are so many cool things happening, we have the world-class medical precinct, access to top medical researchers, and our defence sector is producing talent in the AI space.

“Other than that, SA is a great place to live.

“What more could you want?”

Technology pioneer Simon Hackett on why he chose SA

It’s hard to believe how different South Australia’s tech scene would be if entrepreneur Simon Hackett had accepted a job offer in the US in the early 1990s.

It was just before the ‘dot-com boom’ when the tech pioneer turned down a job opportunity with a “great company” and instead launched his own business – Internode – from Adelaide in 1991.

Internode grew to become a nationally significant broadband provider and by 2011 it had 450 staff, 200,000 customers and an annual turnover of more than $180m.

Simon says choosing to stay in Adelaide was a “conscious choice”.

“Sometimes it feels that success comes despite being in Adelaide rather than because of it,” he says.

“But in Internode’s case, we built a 450-person plus organisation filled with smart people and a high retention rate, which I think would be difficult to achieve in the eastern capitals, where there is much fiercer competition for talent.

“I’m incredibly proud to be South Australian.”

Simon, is a fan of Tesla and says SA's adoption of renewable energy makes it a world leader.

Simon is a fan of Tesla. He is passionate about the world of renewable energy, but is most known for founding the company Internode in 1991.

Before the birth of Internode, Simon was involved in establishing the first signs of the internet in Australia.

After graduating from the University of Adelaide in 1986, he was part of a national university team that created the Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet) – the first emergence of the internet in the country.

From then onwards, the internet became bigger and more integral to people’s lives than most people could have expected.

By the year 2000, broadband internet started to come about, so Simon pushed for Internode to become a nationally significant broadband provider.

“We achieved this during the next 12 years, pioneering many important communication technologies in Australia and winning an incredibly loyal and satisfied customer base,” he says.

In 2012 Internode was sold to internet service provider iiNet of which Simon was director for 18 months before joining the board of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

In 2015 iiNet was sold to TPG.

SA entrepreneur Simon Hackett at Base 64 in Adelaide.

SA entrepreneur Simon Hackett at his current workplace Base64 in Kent Town.

Simon says his time with Internode was a great learning experience as the internet in Australia was growing at “incredible speed”.

But like all entrepreneurial pursuits, it wasn’t without its challenges.

“We had some challenging times in an industry that was dominated by a huge company which was both a supplier and a competitor – Telstra,” he says.

“But we managed to survive them all.”

Aside from his internet pursuits, Simon launched a company Base64 in 2012 from a historic mansion in Kent Town.

The 19th Century property provides workspaces and encourages collaboration among a range of technology businesses and start-ups.

Base64 is also home to Australian battery manufacturer Redflow’s battery laboratory.

Simon Hackett with a Tesla Model S vehicle and the Redflow zinc-bromide batteries.

Simon with a Tesla Model S vehicle and the Redflow zinc-bromine battery system.

Simon invested in the Brisbane-based company in 2014, becoming its executive officer before recently stepping down and becoming a non-executive board member.

“Redflow is an Australian company that has developed the world’s smallest zinc-bromine flow battery, a unique design that is free of some of the limitations of traditional chemistries such as lead-acid and lithium,” he says.

“Redflow has a team in Adelaide who have launched the ZCell residential battery and developed software to make all Redflow batteries easier to use.

“That’s the sort of smarts you can get in a place like Adelaide.”

In a nod to his interests in renewable energy, Simon is a fan of electric carmaker Tesla and its Model S vehicles.

He says SA’s uptake of wind and solar systems, along with the world’s biggest battery being built near Jamestown, makes the state a world leader.

SA entrepreneur: Start-ups are the key to state’s success

By Melissa Keogh

Adelaide start-ups have the ability to become a “global force” and help steer the state’s future economy, says South Australian entrepreneur Kirk Drage.

“We can be a global force from Adelaide, we have world class expertise and passionate people here,” says the CEO of LeapSheep and former head of entrepreneurship and innovation at Microsoft.

“Building a start-up is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable, and we’re seeing more people across the state choosing this path which bodes well for creating new economy jobs.

Kirk’s enthusiasm for the future of South Australian entrepreneurship is well-placed; he has spent his working life either launching or engaging with start-up founders.

The former Flinders University student spent more than a decade at technology giant Microsoft, where he was responsible for 20 Microsoft Innovation Centres, supporting entrepreneurs and driving growth of innovative new businesses.

Kirk Drage has has held leadership roles in Silicon Valley – the centre of high-tech developments.

Kirk Drage is the CEO of Adelaide company LeapSheep.

He also launched Microsoft’s start-up support program, BizSpark, recruiting more than 8000 start-ups across Asia in its first year.

Kirk travelled from city to city to support start-up founders, helping them gain access to customers, develop technologies, connect with investors, and manage company growth.

“It was an amazing journey at Microsoft and I would recommend to anybody to seize the opportunity to join a growing, multi-national company,” he says.

In 2011 Kirk became an angel investor – someone who provides financial backing to emerging entrepreneurs.

“I helped them (entrepreneurs) move from Singapore to Silicon Valley; a rather steep learning curve, turns out picking winners is hard, who knew!” he says.

“In Silicon Valley there is a deep culture of curiosity around what’s possible with new technology and a race to build companies that can leverage those technologies to solve global problems.

“I enjoyed my time in Silicon Valley, and what’s great is you can take what you’ve learnt and that culture with you, including home to Adelaide.”

After more than a decade overseas, Kirk decided it was time to return to his home state and be with his family.

“It goes without saying that the lifestyle here is amazing.”

Upon his return Kirk launched LeapSheep, an artificial intelligence start-up, with business partner Kathryn Heaton.

LeapSheep empowers start-up founders to successfully build hyper growth (rapid expansion) companies and facilitates connections with universities, companies, governments, accelerator programs, and investors.

“We now have 24 start-ups on our beta program and we’ve engaged with more than 100 since I’ve been back in Adelaide,” Kirk says.

“We want to really transform the way start-up founders are supported to build their companies.

“There’s so much advice about how to build a start-up, but it’s often too much for a busy founder to sift through, assess the quality and figure out how to apply it.

“The opportunity is to provide founders with the right kind of support, at the right time in a way that’s accessible and affordable.”

Kirk is also the City of Adelaide Smart City Studio’s Entrepreneur in Residence,  sharing his experiences in building “high-growth, investment-ready” businesses.

Kirk says the key to SA’s success is local founders aspiring to scale into global markets.

“One of our weaknesses is that we haven’t had to look too far for prosperity in the past,” he says.

“Now is our biggest opportunity to build scalable products and services that allow us to enter foreign markets to support growth of local new economy companies.

“Then we’ll have plenty of great jobs to match our world-class lifestyle.”

How an Adelaide entrepreneur pedalled to success

By Melissa Keogh

Adelaide entrepreneur Daniels Langeberg has zipped through almost every nook and cranny in Adelaide’s CBD and has come to one conclusion.

“It’s blatantly clear that Adelaide is awesome,” he says.

The 32-year-old spent three years in Shanghai – one of the flashiest cities on earth – but chose South Australia to launch his two successful start-ups, EcoCaddy and Maché.

“Adelaide has a lot of unrealised potential,” he says.

“The city is coming out of its adolescence and realising that it’s actually really smart, fun and doing things in its own way.”

Daniels Langeberg says Adelaide is supportive of start-ups and holds less threat of business competitors.

Daniels Langeberg says Adelaide is supportive of start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs.

So why does a young man living in Shanghai as an urban designer pick Adelaide to launch a start-up?

“My health was deteriorating, I became really sick from the polluted air (in China),” he says.

“I would come back to Adelaide for Christmas for three weeks and I got to see the city progress in these bite-sized pieces – the building of SAHMRI, the footbridge and Adelaide Oval.

“My sister, being an influence on me, convinced me to stay for two months and I then considered moving back.”

Daniels had an idea for a short-distance transport system similar to rickshaws or ‘tuk tuks’ on the streets of Asia.

He was already connected to rickshaw manufacturer TreeCycle in Shanghai and had a feeling the bamboo three-wheeled bikes would be a hit in Adelaide.

“Adelaide has a flat terrain making it the best city in the world to cycle,” he says.

The pedicabs, pedaled by fit and knowledgeable riders, transport passengers across the city for a small flat rate.

Daniels says South Australia is the perfect place to launch a start-up because it’s “less competitive” and “more supportive”.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill, right, is a fan of EcoCaddy.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill, right, is a fan of EcoCaddy.

With the help of the state’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, he brought his EcoCaddy idea to the Velo-city cycling conference in Adelaide in 2014.

Everyone loved it but money was an issue, until a private investor came along and helped lift EcoCaddy off the ground.

Since its launch in 2015, EcoCaddy has helped transport 40,000 people across the CBD and now employs 16 staff.

It currently only operates during specific events, such as Oz Asia, and for same-day delivery services and tour experiences.

Daniels aims to relaunch a daily public service and have the pedicabs designed and made in Australia by late 2018.

“We’re also looking at all Australian capital cities in the next two years and a move into South East Asia as well,” he says.

Daniel's two start-ups EcoCaddy and Maché provide employment to South Australians.

Daniel’s two start-ups EcoCaddy and Maché provide employment to South Australians.

With EcoCaddy a rolling success, Daniels again began brainstorming and launched Maché, a space offering co-working areas for creatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Maché, located on Wright Street, has meeting rooms, co-working desks, artist and recording studios, as well as EcoCaddy’s headquarters and workshop.

“I’ve gone global and gained a great perspective on how unique Adelaide is,” Daniels says.

“If people can learn the (start-up) process and reach out, we can accelerate and grow the community.”