The founders of Canberra’s education tech start-up Quizling, are packing their suitcases after securing a much sought-after place at the SXSWedu Launch competition in Texas this March.
Out of the ten finalists, Quizling was the only Australian start-up chosen to attend this iconic event which attracts more than 13,000 attendee from all over the world. The SXSWedu Launch showcases innovations in education with a fast-paced, live start-up competition.
Quizling was founded by two Canberra school teachers, Dion Oxley and Damien Trask in 2014, after a pupil of theirs asked to do a health quiz after class.
After searching the app stores for a digital quiz tool that could easily integrate with student’s handheld devices, they weren’t able to find anything.
The pair set about developing an app where not only they could create quizzes for their classes, but where their students could create them for themselves.
Initially, they received a $35,000 Innovation Connect (Icon) grant from the ACT government and began looking for content amongst Canberra’s national cultural icons.
Dion and Damien soon partnered with the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the Royal Australian Mint, Inspiring Australia and TEDxCanberra.
They continued the development of the app, with the support of the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) which offers several programs to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into commercial success.
Dion and Damien secured a $25,000 boost in funding from the GRIFFIN Accelerator (a CBRIN program) to further develop their business venture.
“The GRIFFIN Accelerator gave us some initial funding as well as support around how to grow a highly valuable business,” Dion said.
“Overall, CBRIN has been really important, not only for the funding of the project but also it provided us with networking opportunities and a space to work,” Dion said.
“We worked out of Entry 29 which was great because it gave us a community of other start-ups and mentors which was really important for our development,” Dion said.
Dion also noted the dynamic of Canberra; a booming city but still with a welcoming small town vibe.
“For us, Canberra was at first an international city with great national institutions and huge company headquarters which are internationally recognised,” Dion said.
“At the same time, it has that small town feel so everyone made time to meet with us. People were happy to have a coffee and open up their networks.
“I think that’s what truly makes Canberra unique,” Dion said.
Dion highly recommends any entrepreneur to start their business venture in Australia’s capital city.
“CBRIN provides a peer group and support as much as it provides network and funding opportunities. It gets people away from the dining room table or the small office and introduces them to other entrepreneurs who can help,” Dion said.
“This is crucial to a start-up’s success because people can solve each other’s problems,” Dion said.
The ACT Government is also lending a helping hand by supporting Dion and Damien’s trip to the USA through the Trade Connect Grant, which helps Canberra companies investigate export opportunities making it easier to succeed overseas.
If you have an idea, why not immerse yourself in the best innovation ecosystem in the nation and kick-start your business venture in Canberra?
For more information about the Quizling app, please visit quizlingapp.com.