• Bosco Tan and Alvin Singh, the driving force behind personal finance app Pocketbook. (SBS)
Silicon Valley may be halfway across the globe, but it hasn’t stopped Aussies from jumping on the startup trend.
SBS Small Business Secrets
31 Jul 2016 - 5:31 PM  UPDATED 22 Mar 2018 - 2:12 PM

The beginning of the 2010’s saw the boom in startups, which in turn grew the need for coworking spaces to house these companies. Co-working spaces have expanded beyond the typical imagery of working shoulder-to-shoulder in cramped, dingy offices. They have become more about innovation, community and collaboration, and are coveted workplaces for startups to network and pitch their ideas. These places hold some of Australia’s most successful startups.

Fishburners is Australia’s largest startup hub. Based in Ultimo, Sydney, it houses over 170 companies run by some of the brightest minds in the tech scene.

One startup created a hassle-free way uni students can organise for the most important day of their university experience - their graduation. Ed and Matt are the founders of GownTown, a site to buy graduation gowns and other related accessories.

“Typically, a university graduate will pay upwards of $100 to hire their gowns for 2 to 3 hours. It got us thinking ‘there’s gotta be a better way’.”

At the other end of Sydney’s CBD sits Stone and Chalk, another coworking space for startups in the fintech sector (software that offers financial services).

In this space, Ranin Medis and Rodrigo Franken Dutra created LoanDolphin, an online property platform for brokers and bank lenders to place offers on a potential client’s loans. Both Ranin and Rodrigo were working in the banking industry before chasing their startup dreams. However, not everyone was on board with the idea.

“Leaving the traditional comfortable job [and] secure environment to do something in fintech, which most people haven’t heard of…it was a bit challenging at first,” said Rodrigo.

Bosco Tan and Alvin Singh show that success isn’t just about how great your idea is, but also the team behind it. The duo dropped their six-figure salaries to start Pocketbook, a money management app.

“We’ve known each other for 20 years since the first week of year 7, so we went to high school and university together, had different careers but came back to do Pocketbook,” says Bosco.

“One of the things you get having a long-standing friendship behind a project like this is absolute honesty.”

Want to find out the secret to small business success? Tune into #BizSecretsSBS at Sundays 5pm on SBS, stream on SBS On Demand, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

How to start up a startup
A startup is any company in its first stage of development, but the term usually refers to a tech venture or rapidly scalable concept or service.