Storyboard competes on world stage during Global Entrepreneurship Week
Darren Tonkin, QUT Business School alumni and founder of social media app, Storyboard, is now on his way to pitch in front of Europe’s biggest venture capitalist at the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen, after winning QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Creative3 Pitch and the Mayor of Cairns’ Inspire Award.
As the Australian representative of the world championships, Darren will compete against creative tech startups from across Europe, Israel, and Asia-Pacific during Global Entrepreneurship Week (14-20 November 2016) – the world’s largest celebration of creative entrepreneurship and innovation.
Aiming to fill the void between rich media and blogging, Storyboard allows users to create and share engaging stories by intelligently matching photos and videos with the places a user visits. Users can also use the app to explore destinations or discover what other people are up to in their area.
By being named the winner of this year’s Creative3 Pitch, Darren says it has been a complete a game changer for him in terms of growing his venture, and accessing the world’s most influential investors.
“First of all it’s working with the first-class team and mentors at CEA, who have already connected me with contacts that will assist in making Storyboard an international platform.”
“It also provides an opportunity for us to demonstrate that anyone can do it, and we can put Brisbane on the map for upcoming disruptors,” Darren said.
Ahead of competing at the international finals, Darren Tonkin and Timothy Hui, VP and co-founder of QUT Starters, will participate in The Gribskov-Asia Boot Camp, a two-day boot camp facilitated by Silicon Valley veterans which aims to help startups prepare for the finals.
As a part of the European program, Darren along with CEA’s Executive Manager, Startups & Business Incubation, Mark Gustowski, are meeting with some of Europe’s most successful incubators and accelerators including Virgin Startups, Seedcamp, StartupBootcamp, Geovation, Masschallenge, Techstars and Trade & Investment Queensland.
“The connections to the European market have been amazing, and the exposure to these markets inspires me to take Storyboard global,” Darren says.
Whilst traveling in Europe, Storyboard was crowned the winner of the 2016 Mayor’s Inspire Award, as part of the Tropical North Queensland Innovation Awards announced on 16 November. Awarded by Cairns Mayor, Cr Bob Manning, the awards recognise trail-blazing local entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and smart businesses who are demonstrating excellence in innovation.
Anna Rooke, CEO of CEA said “Storyboard presents a clear niche in this space, with the tie in of social media and travel that often go hand-in-hand, yet there is no current medium available to capitalise on this.
“Darren drew in investor interest at Creative3 Pitch through highlighting that the youth travel market is currently worth over $US203 billion. Combined with over 3.8 billion people using social media on their mobiles, it’s easy to see that there is huge potential for Storyboard.”
For the past three years, the CEA Startup Fund has gone on to invest in one of the semi-finalist companies, presenting a potentially life-changing opportunity for the finalists.
“Australia’s creative industries are now estimated to be valued at more than AU$90 billion, yet the talent and potential of our creative entrepreneurs has often been overlooked by the investment community, until now,” Ms Rooke added. “Creative3 Pitch is bridging this gap, by connecting investor-ready creative ventures with investors, and preparing them for the pitch of a lifetime.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND STORYBOARD
Storyboard was built to enable people to easily share journeys. Current platforms prompt people to share an individual photo which really just highlights the static destination.
“Storyboard has a strong why; why we are doing what we are doing is simple,” Darren says.
“We believe that everyday people live amazing lives, and people want to share their story and other’s want to experience it. Having those stories disappear or just sharing one moment does not allow others to immerse themselves in your amazing journey”.
Darren says social media has become impersonal and more about building your desired perception.
“We want to bring back the real aspect, the connection between content creator and content consumer.”
DISCOVERING THE IDEA
The idea came to Darren while he was living in Brazil when trying to relay images to family and friends back home.
“When my Grandad was very ill and I was trying to share my stories and adventures with him in great detail. Talking on Skype whilst trying to run him through my photos, where they were taken, the order and relationship – it quickly became evident that there was a gap in the current platforms,” he says.
THE MAJOR BENEFIT
Storyboard is the ultimate connection and discovery tool.
“It can be used for traveling, a day in the life of, or even a guide around a city. The connection and understanding a user gets by sharing or consuming a story is really cool,” Darren says.
“Often I find it very hard to remember where exactly that great restaurant was I went to five years ago. Storyboard now does that for me. I can pick up my phone and instead of scrolling through my 18,000 photos, I know which story it is in, and can quickly access it because it’s all there.
“I can take someone back though that trip and they can make their choice off my experiences.” he says.