Entrepreneurs and start-ups are synonymous with many things. Innovation’s right up there, of course, along with energy, vision and self-belief.
But there’s another quality they frequently possess that, for whatever reason, hasn’t yet “stuck”—the desire to improve people’s lives. For ThincLab tenant and third-year University of Adelaide Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship student Sean Grealy, however, that desire is unquestionably the driving force.
Sean is founder and director of Hestia, a company creating new technological platforms to improve care, communication and overall wellbeing in the aged care industry. The motivation, he says, comes from personal experience.
“I chose this specific venture after last year seeing members of my family struggling to communicate effectively with carers when a grandparent of mine required some specific attention.”
“I saw a real human need there—something the market wasn’t yet addressing—so decided to create a solution.”
He’s not thinking small, either. “The demand’s on a global scale. We plan to test and grow it in Australia, then take it to the international market to change lives worldwide.”
Sean, who somehow also finds time to manage someone else’s small business, provides yet more proof of the value for entrepreneurs of intensive learning within a community of similarly energised and positive people.
“The progress of my study, job and new venture is now virtually a single path, because they’re all so relatable to one another.
“My degree has laid the foundations for me to understand how to address and grow an opportunity, and how to make a new venture stable for the future; and since moving into ThincLab I’ve really benefited from the networking and mentoring provided.
Getting a start-up off the ground can be exhausting, so it’s nice to be surrounded by a group of people who truly understand what each other are going through. Their passion and excitement makes you work harder, and can even expand your thinking.
A tangible example of the networking benefit, Sean adds, has been taking on fellow entrepreneur Chris George—also based in ThincLab to establish his own tech start-up, Phostech—as a Hestia developer.
“Chris and I had been studying together for a while, and helped each other out now and again, just as friends.
“But after a few late-night ThincLab brainstorm sessions—involving plenty of takeaway food, strong coffee, cheeky banter and many whiteboards—we realised we could do a lot more to help grow the other’s ventures.”
The next goal on Sean’s horizon is to complete initial development of the Hestia aged-care platforms and begin beta testing around August 2017. Once testing’s complete, he says, and “a few options” are addressed, it’s all systems go.
We’ll launch as soon as development is completed and start pursuing national growth immediately. I envision our team growing organically from that point onwards.
He pauses to reflect, then hastens to add: “Oh, and I’m hoping to complete my degree amongst all that, too!”
Looks like our whiteboards won’t be getting a rest any time soon.