The Innovation Pipeline Series Part 2: Crowdfunding – the reality check was held on 28 & 29 August 2014. The 2 day forum was held at the Byron Community Centre and provided an opportunity for inventors to learn about crowd-funding campaigns as a way to test the market and fund their ideas.

The event was well attended with 150 inventors and innovators from across the country taking part. It was also well supported by local businesses who contributed to sample bags and held information stalls at the forum’s trade expo.

The first Innovation Pipeline event held in Byron Bay last year was a sell out event, and numbers for this event were restricted to ensure participants had a chance to mingle with speakers, angel investors and other entrepreneurs.


The presenters

Ric Richardson introduced a diverse panel of innovators and entrepreneurs who shared their stories of hits and misses in relation to crowdfunding campaigns.


Ric Richardson with Ted Esdaile-Watts and Bradon Wilson of Cocreators and Marcus Schappi

Ted Esdaile-Watts and Braden Wilson are cocreators Industrial Design.  Their successful crowdfunding campaigns launched the MicroView and the hugely oversubscribed Ninja Sphere, which asked for $115,000 investment via crowd-funding website Kickstarter and raised $702,937.

Download a copy of their presentation

Alf Wheeler, one of the founders of Zeoform, a startup that invented an innovative ecomaterial made from cellulose fibres, showed that a great product doesn’t automatically mean a great campaign. They shared the hard lessons learned from their crowd-funding campaign – you need to sell your product because no matter how great it is, it won’t sell itself.

Marcus Schappi, from Geek Ammo and Little Bird Electronics created a backing of $573,760 from a campaign that asked for just $25,000 for the MicroView.

You can view Marcus’ slideshow here or download a copy of his talk outline

Rowena Ryan gave a presentation from AusIndustry, the Australian Government’s support arm for Australian industry. The presentation gave an overview of Government support for innovation through a range of programmes and services. Download a copy of Rowena’s PowerPoint presentation here


The pitch

A highlight of the event was an opportunity to pitch your invention to get mentoring and support to create a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. There were 6 local inventors who pitched their products with the Kickstarter package being given to young inventor Jacob Clarke.

Jacob, a year 11 student from Shearwater Steiner School, beat five adult local inventors, and was flocked by Melbourne and Sydney investors, manufacturers, industrial designers and a film producer, all keen to help the teenager commercialise his idea.

Jacob Clarke, winner of the inventors pitch, with Ric Richardson

Jacob Clarke, winner of the inventors pitch, with Ric Richardson

Jacob’s invention, “Picstor”, is for a portable battery-powered hard-drive to back up photographs and video. A keen nature photographer and adventurer, Jacob came up with the idea while he was in Tasmania with his family and ran out of storage on his SD card. He also saw its potential for adventure sports enthusiasts filming on GoPro cameras. “The Picstor” will allow you to automatically back up your SD card when you run out of space saving the need to delete photos.

Jacob will receive mentoring from Ric Richardson to create a crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the commercialisation of his idea. All six local inventors will be matched with suitable mentors under Nortec’s Business Pathways Program that connects small business people with experienced mentors in the area.


Trade expo

As part of the Forum a trade show, showcasing local creative businesses, was held in the break out space. Along side our Government sponsors, AusIndustry, the following local businesses had the opportunity to promote their products and services to the diverse range of inventors and entrepreneurs in attendance.

David Tindale Video Productions – video production, photoshop, music, multimedia, media production, graphic design, film, event management, sound, photography, editing, acting, film production, public relations, music production, social media and television.

Turtle Films – developing ideas for screen content to create the best visual representation of you and your organisation, drawing on past experience in documentaries, TVC’s, creative advertising, music videos, visual designing ,  social and web media.

G’day Byron Bay – small team offering a variety of creative services, including graphic and web design, art direction, creative consultancy, branding, video production, photography and illustration.

True Brand – Every business brand is different. Using a genuine two-way working relationship to create unique, personalised and innovative branding.

Digital Tao Studio – Combining decades of experience in professional film/broadcast, online design and audio production, offering multi-award winning services in an intimate boutique agency environment.

Break time discussions proved fruitful for exhibitors with one business lining up 16 follow up meetings with businesses from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, across Northern Rivers and one local business that operates from Los Angeles.

Regional Development thanks all exhibitors for their participation in the forum.


Our sponsors

Innovation Pipeline Part 2: Crowdfunding – the reality check was well supported by local businesses who donated items to include in the forum show bags. Regional Australia thanks all of the participating businesses for their contribution to making this event a great success. Click here for details of our sponsors and links to their websites.


Innovation Pipeline in pictures

We captured the essence of the Forum through the many photos taken throughout the 2 day event. If you were there and want to be tagged in a photo or would like a digital copy of any of the photos please contact us with the numbers of the photos you are interested in.