Today we showcase an exciting and a successful venture co-founded in 2000 by Ex-MD, Mal Jago, who now has a digital consultancy business Earworm Consulting, from Sydney, Australia, Coastal Watch - provides accurate surf reports for beaches around Australia and live streaming vision.
In a recent email based interview with Mal, he gave insights into this venture . This is what he has to say:
• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
Spent 15 years as a Foreign exchange Dealer before a sea change in 2000 into Coastalwatch
• Please tell us about your venture/company?
Surfcams at beaches to provide surf reports and conditions to surfers/boating/ Surf Life Savings
• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
Chris Lane- Surfer and IT guru wanting to avoid getting up at UNi and wasting his time getting
to beach and find no waves.
• How long it took before it was up and running?
1-2 years established 1998.
• What services it provides it for consumer or customers?
Streaming surf cams/Surf Reports/ Swell Forecasting/ Surf news/Mobile phone data/ iPTV
• What type of customers were are targeting?
Surfers, Boating, Surf Life Saving and really anyone with a interest in the beach and water ways
• How many people were using your the services?
• What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
Mainly done via word of mouth and through key sponsorship deals.
• How did you measure the success of your venture? Are their any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
Traffic against other sporting sites online as well as weather and news sites.
• What was the monetizing/revenue model? Was their any new model, which was tried?
Shifted from start as advertisers were slow to move spend online with audience. So content sales to mobile/ web dev initially then display took over as major revenue model. Also ran a community radio model, as it was a free service and expensive to run people could opt in to become a member with no extra service. Professional people were happy to as they know how expensive it is to run a business and we saved them considerable time in doing the sport they love.
• Who were the main competitors or major players in this market segment?
Major sports portals with large franchises behind them. Other weather/surf sites
• What are the main technologies used behind this venture?
IP cameras and streaming software, but alot of the infrastructure was custom built or adapted.
• Were you using lot of open source tool sets for this?
Yes we did.
• What’s your thought on being an entrepreneur? How tough was it to start a venture in Australia?
Being early to market seeing such huge potential as did many others and the constant validating your story and keeping the dream alive. Not being apart of the major publishers and being massively under financed made it very difficult.
• What’s your thought on the start-ups culture and innovation coming out of Australia especially in media and telecom?
Always so exciting the last 2 years as more serious money enters the space. But its super competitive and many good ideas dont make it.
• What do you think the government (federal and state) should do to improve the culture of innovation and the telecom industry?
• If you are given an opportunity to change the nation, what 3 things you will do?
Poverty/ health / education all the things Government should be.
• How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up? Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
Go to as many events as i can and touch base with a good network of people.
• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Believe/ passion/ planning/ good investors
• Which City you were based in?
Thanks Mal for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for future.
For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, tech trends check this out and our coverage on interviews can be found here