Young inventors get a harder head for business
LEGEND has it Isaac Newton discovered gravity when an apple landed on his head. Now a Brisbane inventor has been inspired by narrowly escaping a head injury of his own.
Rob Joseph is one of three young entrepreneurs who have founded Anti Ordinary, which is bringing to market a beanie that hardens on impact for head protection while skiing or snowboarding.
The idea came through a near-miss while Mr Joseph was snowboarding at Queenstown.
"Being a Queensland boy I've always worn a helmet, riding bikes, motorbikes and skateboards," he said.
"And I got to the slopes of New Zealand and took my helmet off, as I saw a lot of other people were doing.
"And then had a bit of a crash and realised not wearing a helmet was really dumb.
"I had a look around and noticed the people who weren't wearing helmets were wearing beanies.
"So we thought, instead of making a more comfortable helmet, why don't we just make a safe beanie?"
The result was the A1 beanie, which employs a "non-Newtonian material".
"We use a material that's imported from Portugal, but we've layered it in a way nobody has before," Mr Joseph said.
"Essentially it just feels like a thick beanie - a bit heavier, the weight of a helmet."
Mr Joseph said their product was the first of its type to be fully safety-certified.
The trio hope to have passed all the safety certifications to bring their product to market by October, just in time for the northern hemisphere ski season.
The A1 will retail for $A250.
Anti Ordinary is one of nine startups from Queensland and interstate that have been participating in the Collider Brisbane accelerator program, and will deliver their final pitches at today's (Thu 18th) demo day at the Powerhouse.
Run by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Collider brings entrepreneurial talent from around the world to mentor up-and-coming creative-tech businesses.
Collider has given them a more worldly outlook on business.
"We've had a lot of great input from mentors who've been there and done that," Mr Joseph said.
"Thinking more about the worldwide impact and getting out there and doing that has been a big one for us."
Collider took the startups to Bangkok for an Asia immersion week recently, introducing them to the burgeoning Thai investor and startup scene. And Anti Ordinary sees it as a potential gateway to the Asian market.
"Japan is obviously a huge market for us; China is gonna nearly double the amount of people on the slopes in the next few years after the Olympics in their country," Mr Joseph said.
Of today's demo day, Mr Joseph said: "Often you'll make a connection with someone, you'll have a chat afterwards and they'll know someone who knows someone who might be super important to your business down the line."
Other startups in the Collider program include a location-based messaging app, a social network for podcasters, esports analysis and tuition, digital "handwritten" greeting cards, video editing and marketing, an art rental service and licensor of indigenous artwork.