Meet the smartest tech start-ups in Australia

A new breed of partner is emerging across the Australian channel.

ARN uncovers emerging start-ups using smart technologies to change the face of the channel in Australia.


Team Amicus Digital
Team Amicus Digital

Founded – 2015
Headcount – 25
Key tech – Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Key vendors – Salesforce
Key customers – Roadshow, Intrepid Group, Brown-Forman, Open Colleges and Fairfax

Jessie Mitchell and Blair Cooke came up through the Salesforce ranks, so it makes sense that the two should go into business together as co-founders of Salesforce integration partner, Amicus Digital.

Mitchell and Cooke joined Salesforce as part of the company’s acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013 and the subsequent launch of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Cooke was the vice president of sales for Australia and New Zealand and Mitchell was one of his sales directors.

At the time, according to the co-founders, Salesforce wanted to foster an ecosystem of partners to support its growth plans in Australia, providing an opportunity to create a business that helped marketers understand and use the technology they were buying.

In 2015, the pair created Amicus Digital together, with the aim of building a business that would be a “friend” to its customers.

To achieve this, the business would help them, coach them, and make the process of buying and using technical software easier for organisations to adopt and use. Broadly speaking, the company specialises in undertaking implementations for organisations coming to Salesforce Marketing Cloud for the first time.

“We also undertake audits for existing customers to review how accounts have been configured, how data is being used and making sure they are set up in the best way possible,” the founders said.

The company more than doubled in size last year, growing to become the largest independent Salesforce Marketing Cloud specialist in Australia, with 25 staff.

According to Mitchell and Cooke, many of the company’s team have come from Salesforce or have worked within the ecosystem for several years.

Amicus Digital’s evidently highly experienced team even helped to see the company placed in Salesforce’s top 10 partners in the Asia Pacific region in 2017.


Team SiteSee
Team SiteSee

Founded – 2016
Headcount – Three
Key tech – Web-based 3D visualisation and analytics SaaS for wireless infrastructure owners
Key vendors – Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure
Key customers – Wireless telecommunications infrastructure asset owners

In June, the Federal Government announced it had awarded Brisbane-based start-up, SiteSee, a cool $112,500, as part of its Accelerating Commercialisation funding commitment.

The idea behind the cash injection was to give the company a hand in further developing its web-accessible SaaS offering aimed at enabling wireless telecommunication tower owners to better monitor critical infrastructure.

The government wasn’t the only one to see some promise in the tech start-up, with Telstra’s muru-D accelerator program accepting the company into its program in late 2016.

While the muru-D move helped to give the company its start, its origins occurred much earlier. SiteSee CEO David Crane spent years working as a network engineer for the likes of Telstra, Ericsson and Telis.

According to his brother, SiteSee co- founder and director Lachlan Crane, David spent this time rolling out networks and helping to identify the pain points involved, particularly around electromagnetic energy design.

“But there were a lot of project bottlenecks, a lot of manual processes,” Lachlan said.

This is where the business grew from because according to Lachlan, David wondered if there was a better way. And with the rise of drone technology and innovative 3D software, there was.

The result is SiteSee. Thanks to the employment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – otherwise known as drones — and the development of the company’s 3D viewer software, SiteSee can give wireless network tower owners the ability to remotely visualise and analyse critical infrastructure within an interactive real- world environment.

This is where AWS and Microsoft Azure come in. The company’s proprietary software offering is run on both, with processing and hosting tasks shared between the two platforms.

The flexibility offered by the platforms lets the company spin up and run the data- heavy processing tasks its software requires to analyse the information it pulls from the drones when they check out a tower.

“That was a strategic decision,” Lachlan said. “It allows us to be a bit more scalable.”


Team Bluedot Innovation
Team Bluedot Innovation

Founded – 2012
Headcount – 15
Key tech – High accuracy location services technology for mobile apps
Key vendors – Salesforce, Oracle, IBM and Adobe
Key customers – Consumer-facing enterprises in various verticals

Bluedot Innovation received funding from the Federal Government as part of its entrepreneurs’ program.

The company was handed $200,000 for the commercialisation of its Bluedot Point software development kit (SDK) with mobile commerce platforms and marketing clouds.

Specialising in high accuracy location services technology for mobile apps, its proprietary technology is delivered via its SDK and, once it is integrated, it can enable mobile applications to trigger any action when users cross a thin virtual “tripwire”.

The platform’s point of difference, according to co-founder and executive director, Filip Eldic, is that it is far more accurate than comparable geofencing technology from Apple or Google, and it doesn’t require any hardware.

While the technology itself has been developed internally, Bluedot has partnered on an integration basis with a host of vendors, including Oracle, IBM and Salesforce. And there are more to come.

“To date, we have launched integrations with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Urban Airship, which enable our customers to trigger marketing/engagement actions such as push notifications, email, SMS, or collect and store data about customer behaviour when they reach accurate locations, as detected by our technology,” Eldic explained.

“Bluedot has also entered into partnership agreement with the Adobe, Oracle and IBM Marketing Cloud, but has yet to launch the integrations, which will be coming later this year.”

According to Eldic, Bluedot was founded with the idea of building the world’s first mobile tolling app, where an app would automatically pay for the use of toll roads or toll bridges as well as other transport costs, from a phone that could remain locked, in your pocket.


Team Brontech
Team Brontech

Founded – 2016
Headcount – Five
Key tech – Decentralised data infrastructure based on Ethereum blockchain tech
Key customers – Everybody

In June, it was revealed that Brontech had received $124,960 in co-funding from the Federal Government to help progress and commercialise its platform, which is based on Ethereum blockchain technology.

Earlier in the year, the company was one of eight start-ups inducted into Telstra’s muru-D accelerator program. Clearly, Brontech has something worth investing in. But what is it, exactly?

“We provide a platform where users can connect several different accounts, help them extract their personal information and place it on an open marketplace,” Brontech co-founder Emma Poposka said.

The company is doing this by leveraging Ethereum blockchain technology together with distributed data storage to build a decentralised architecture for the information exchange that sits at the core of the platform’s purpose.

“The platform also has a native digital currency called The Bron that is managed on Ethereum,” Poposka explained.

At the time of writing, the platform was in its public alpha stage. Now, Brontech is in the process of building out its data marketplace back-end and is testing its application programming interface (API) with several corporate partners.

While the platform is still in its infancy, the commercial ramifications of the technology are compelling, as is the reasoning behind its creation.

“The founding team has witnessed the consequences from the fall of centralised systems that created a strong reasoning for them to passionately work towards ensuring the decentralisation of the internet,” Poposka said.

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Bruce Hara (Enable Professional Services)
Bruce Hara (Enable Professional Services)

Founded – 2014
Headcount – 75 people
Key tech – Enterprise service management and business automation
Key vendors — ServiceNow, Salesforce
Key customers – Telstra, News Limited, Australia Post, University of WA, NSW Government and Optus

Enable Professional Services’ footprint in Australia has spread far and wide since its launch in 2014, with the ServiceNow partner setting up shop in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and even Noida, India.

And the company decided very early on to align its cloud business to ServiceNow.

“From day one, Enable’s mission was to provide people with the consumer experience they have outside of work, within their workplace,” Enable managing director Bruce Hara said. “Mobile-first solutions, self service functions, full visibility and transparency on requests and approvals, resulting in automating processes for companies to become more efficient and profitable.”

Once in partnership with ServiceNow, Enable entered the market via winning relatively small projects, before picking up big-ticket enterprise customers.

Additionally, Enable’s digital business partnered closely with nbn — the company behind the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) — on its user experience for various products.

Now, business is “flying”, with over 40 people making up the team in Australia and a similar number in India.
And the company has since launched in Singapore and Hong Kong.

“This is a massive opportunity to reach new markets and new customers and cement our position as the ‘go-to’ ServiceNow partner across the Asia Pacific region,” Hara added.


Dale Rankine (Reekoh)
Dale Rankine (Reekoh)

Founded – 2015
Headcount – 15
Key tech – Internet of Things
Key vendors – Microsoft, Equinix, Samsung, Libelium and Advantech
Key customers – System integrators, smart cities, water and energy technology and solution companies

In June, it was revealed that Australian Internet of Things (IoT) Platform-as-a- Service (PaaS) provider, Reekoh, had signed a deal with global data centre operator, Equinix, to offer its integration platform to enterprises through the provider’s facilities.

The agreement was just the latest in a long line of partnerships that has helped Reekoh to create a compelling portfolio of offerings, with Microsoft and Samsung among the vendors included in its long roster of partners.

Founded and headquartered in Australia, with a large footprint in the Philippines, Reekoh provides an IoT integration platform designed for system integrators and enterprises employing IoT technology as part of their business strategy plans.

The platform is powered via plugins that are distributed through the Reekoh Marketplace.

“Reekoh’s IoT integration platform is built around a number core objects that facilitate and manage data workflow from device to [the] end-point,” Reekoh co- founder and CEO Dale Rankine said.

The plugins, which are installed from the Reekoh Marketplace, are treated as reusable assets that define how a connection is made to various parts of the IoT solution “value chain” – protocol, device, network, security, service, applications and more.

The company came into being after its founders met in Manila through a shared interest. That interest was based around decoupling IoT data and systems from the fragmented ecosystem of devices, networks and applications.

Rankine had at the time been assisting a Polish company to commercialise a vehicle-tracking beacon, while fellow co-founder and CTO, Benj Sicam, had been developing a vehicle tracking platform which was device agnostic.

The idea, according to Rankine, was to extend the agnostic approach from the device right through to the end application. A “couple” of different methods to tackle this problem were explored.

“When the plugin architecture was defined and built in early prototyping, there was a clear realisation that this could then lay the foundation for not just how integration occurred technically, but also how the IoT ecosystem could be brought together with Reekoh playing a central role,” Rankine said.


Peter Chalmers (Morphate / Parvero)
Peter Chalmers (Morphate / Parvero)

Founded – 2014
Headcount – 15
Key tech – Customer relationship management technology solutions and services
Key vendors – Salesforce and Fonteva
Key customers – Not-for-profit organisations of all shapes and sizes

With a 10-plus year history in the Salesforce space, it comes as no surprise that Peter Chalmers, CEO of Morphate, should end up establishing a Salesforce integration company. Actually, he didn’t stop at just one.

Chalmers has established two system integrators that partner with the global customer relationship management (CRM) platform vendor in the space of a few short years.

His first start-up, Morphate, was founded in mid-2014, and focuses entirely on the not-for-profit sector.

In fact, Chalmers claims that Morphate, which is the larger of his two companies, is the only Salesforce partner based in Australia and New Zealand that’s focused solely on not-for-profit organisations.

According to Chalmers, the not-for- profit sector is “rife” with consultants which, in his view, are angling for long- term engagement, sometimes to the detriment of the client.

“I don’t see a lot of value they’re providing,” he said. “So we provide a rapid implementation, ripping up old technology and replacing it with new technology that grows with the organisation.”

In terms of turnover, the company achieved more than 100 per cent growth year-on-year this year and, according to Chalmers, the coming year looks to be even bigger.

“Currently we’re at 180 per cent for the current financial year, over the previous one,” he said.

At the same time, Chalmers expects the company to double its staff numbers from its current tally of 15 within the coming six to nine months or so.

But where does this rapid growth come from? Chalmers thinks that it comes down to value for money.

“It’s the old model versus the new model,” he said. “With our offering, the customer gets a scalable solution, they get updates from Salesforce three times a year, and we give them a solution they can continue to adapt to their organisation without throwing it out every few years or so.

“And, they also get the power to actually do things themselves. It’s not just that consulting model of coming in and always charging a fee to do what they need done; they can do it.”


Founded – 2016
Headcount – Four
Key tech – Customer relationship management technology solutions and services
Key vendors — Salesforce
Key customers — Small to medium- sized businesses in various verticals

While Morphate is all about CRM for the not-for-profit sector, Parvero — which is technically part of the Morphate Group — is all about Salesforce integration for the small to medium-sized business (SMB) sector.

As with Morphate, Parvero came into existence after CEO, Peter Chalmers, saw a gap in the local market where SMBs weren’t getting the love they deserved. So, he took the Morphate methodology and built a practice aimed squarely at the SMB market.

Thus far, however, Chalmers and his four-person Parvero team have taken tentative steps towards the market since the company’s founding early this year, taking a soft-launch approach before going hard sometime in the near future.

“I’m expecting to see a lot more growth,” Chalmers said. “There’s a lot more untapped market in the SMB space, and it’s moving faster. I expect we’ll probably get to 15 or 20 staff members in the company between December and March.”