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Slingshot entrepreneurs hit target with novel net startups

Firing up new global internet businesses from Newcastle

Entrepreneur Trent Bangall and his partner Craig Lambert, a former Yahoo Australia sales director, are in the innovation hothouse business.

They put new internet ideas under their microscope, invest a stake and mentor the young talent as the business takes shape. It’s called “accelerating” - taking an idea and speeding up its development to market.

The pair are Newcastle-based entrepreneurs who founded Slingshot, an “accelerator” company which backs startups with worldwide potential. So it’s hardly surprising they welcome our network in Newcastle.

“The ideas we back have got to be online and be scalable globally, so the net will be the distribution method and the speed (available over) the NBN will make that a lot faster,”* says Mr Bagnall, who listed his software company QMASTOR on the ASX at the age of 29, and sold it in 2011.

“Even though we had five offices around the world I ran my company out of Newcastle because I believe the ecosystem of the Hunter is growing,” he says.

Slingshot has backed 19 ideas to date, and 15 businesses are still going.

“We are on our third intake. We expect a reasonable amount of failure but that’s a pretty good success rate so far,” he says.

Slingshot has partnered with the University of Newcastle but its latest venture is with the NRMA, which has 2.4 million customers, and is called Jumpstart.

“We have got some belters at the moment,” says Mr Bagnall, whose company puts up $30,000 initial funding and takes a 10 per cent stake in a new venture.

The six new ventures are:

  • HiveUAV - automated and mobile drone “hives” for emergency services and business - see story here
  • Camplify - it’s Airbnb for caravans - see story here
  • Careseekers - puts people needing care in touch with carers
  • Gamurs - a new social network and the Facebook for gamers
  • Otto by Gizmosis - technology to prevent drivers being distracted by mobile phones
  • WunderWalk - an app that helps you create the perfect day out on holiday

* Your experience including the speeds actually achieved over the NBN depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises, and some factors outside our control like your equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how your service provider designs its network.


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