What is Indigital Storytelling?
We’ve created an augmented reality (AR) mobile app called Indigital Storytelling, which showcases Australia’s Indigenous sites and stories through the world’s newest technology. The first of many ventures to come from my company Indigital – where we design and deliver Indigenous digital technology products, specifically augmented reality, for shared profit and purpose.
How did you get the idea?
My idea came to me after seeing AR at Canberra University’s INSPIRE Centre in 2012. I wanted to be able to use AR to tell Indigenous stories on Country, without the use of the internet.
What’s the biggest win you’ve had so far?
I could say being awarded a development grant from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. That, and being able to demonstrate my app to Prime Minister Turnbull earlier this year as a part of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Entrepreneurs Reception. However, I think the biggest win is being able to work with Senior Artists and Traditional Owners in Kakadu – to bring ancient cultural stories to life through our app, Indigital Storytelling. It has been an unreal experience so far, and I don’t want it to stop! I guess I’m on the right path to keep this kind of work going.
I’ve had attention this year being an Indigenous female tech entrepreneur in a remote area, and whilst this is great, I’m also looking forward to a time when this isn’t so unusual.
What was your biggest mistake?
So many to choose from! All my mistakes have been blessings in disguise. I think the biggest mistake I made was starting a company straight out of the public service, without any business management training. That led to a tonne of lessons on how not to do things! I ended up fixing this mistake by undertaking a Diploma of Business and Entrepreneurship at BSchool (Republica Education). BSchool have been an amazing support network for my idea. I can’t recommend doing their courses highly enough! Everything changed when I started BSchool.
How’s your experience been funding your startup?
It has been difficult. I invested everything I had and more to get a beta prototype up. I was able to share this with the Prime Minister, and that was when things started unlocking for me. Having a beta app was proof the concept worked, and I was able to show investors something tangible. It has been much easier to obtain support to drive the product to market since then. I’m using everything I’ve got now to drive the business, which includes smashing glass ceilings. I’ve had attention this year being an Indigenous female tech entrepreneur in a remote area, and whilst this is great, I’m also looking forward to a time when this isn’t so unusual.
What needs to improve/change for Australia to become a global leader in tech?
I would encourage investors to invest in people first, before technology. Invest in providing the financial space required by founders to build prototypes and take a product to market. I like the Westpac Foundation model of investing in people by providing a small stipend to make ends meet whilst founders change the world.
I would encourage investors to invest in people first, before technology.
Have you had any challenges growing/sourcing your team?
The challenges I face include the tyranny of distance. I have worked with my team for a number of years, and they are the best. Growing the team will be contingent upon the market embracing the product. I would like to be in a position to employ more Indigenous people.
How do you deal with competition?
I try to work with them. I’m a collaborator by nature and nurture. I like the theory of competition to drive excellence, but I think it is better if people can combine resources, skills, and networks to get things done.
Do you have any tips for acquiring new users/scaling your business?
Tell your story at every opportunity. This year I’ve travelled to four countries, and almost every state in Australia to tell my story to whoever will listen. Amazing opportunities have opened up for Indigital from me putting myself out there, and meeting people face-to-face. I love digital, but nothing beats face-to-face.
Find the pilots in your field and do everything you can to learn from them.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I actually can’t think of anything I would rather be doing. This is my Dreaming.
If you could go back, tell us two things you would do differently.
Trust my instincts implicitly and just do it. I spent a lot of time second guessing myself before committing to action. I don’t do that anymore.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone starting out?
I was told by a great friend once, “Would you prefer to fly with the world’s leading academic on flight theory, or would you like to fly with the pilot who has taken off and landed successfully?” Find the pilots in your field and do everything you can to learn from them.
Tell us one thing about you that most people don’t know.
I recently spent the afternoon with a Traditional Owner plucking and gutting 40 magpie geese for a local celebration. I’m not as fragile as I look. 🙂