Cinergix - Share, Reuse, Innovate

Vishal Tuesday, September 16, 2008 , , , , ,

In the ongoing coverage of exploring new startups coming out of Australia, today we explore a promising startup in online collaborative tool segment - Cinergix Its co-founded by Charanjit Singh from Melbourne Australia.

In a recent email based interview with Charanjit, he explained how he is progressing with his venture.

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?

See Profiles below - basically we are all staunch believers of Internet innovation and spend most of our free time exploring new technologies, products and thought leadership blogs like TechCrunch, Read/Write Web, Mashable, IT|Redux, Guy Kawasaki, John Battelle, etc.

• What is the name of your venture/company?

  • Company: Cinergix Pty Ltd
  • Product: Creately
• Please tell us about your venture/company?
Cinergix is the Australian start-up developing the Creately platform and its patent-pending KObject technology, which is changing the way we solve design and modeling problems. Creately is a rich Internet application with a smart user interface and automated validation checks that will make the process of design easier and more accessible. It enables specialists in diverse fields to capture and share their knowledge and intellectual property. This new paradigm of leveraging user-generated content for design work will enable Cinergix to support the long tail of design problems.

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
Started in 2007 by a team from Sri Lanka, the UK, and Singapore, the company also runs a research and development centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka and will set up operations in the United States in early 2009. For more information, visit www.cinergix.com & www.creately.com

The founders met while completing their respective Master's programmes at Melbourne University and first mooted the idea as part of the Melbourne University Entrepreneurial Competition (MUEC 07/08). Originally conceived as a simple diagramming tool, we developed a prototype Facebook application to allow friends to comment and annotate on thier photos. We soon realised the potential of the platform we had created and decided there was potential in it as a general purpose design and modeling tool with intelligence. Cinergix was also selected as a finalist in the Vic Pitch 08 competition held in June 2008.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
With the initial idea mooted in Oct 07, we had a Proof of Concept ready for the MUEC competition by Feb 08.
Since then we incorporated an Australian business entity in Apr 2008 and have setup a R&D center in Colombo Sri Lanka where we have a technical staff of 4.
The team has been developing the code for the last 9 months in preparation for DemoFall08 and our private Beta Launch. Product development continues as we race to add more features and build out our community.

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
We believe today's collaborative tools are mainly focused on textual collab like wikis, blogs and so on, whereas collab around visuals is very limited. Design and modeling is best done visually and most effective when a team of designers can work together in a collab manner. Often, people have used whiteboards, mock-ups or even Visio for design and visual collab, but each of these approaches is limited in the ability to capture, share and reuse knowledge. We want to build a visual collaboration platform that will let diverse teams collaborate and capture their knowledge and design intent within their designs, allowing experts and business users to work seamless across multiple domains of expertise on a simple and intuitive online platform.

• What services it provides it for consumer or customers?
As a basic platform, it can be seen as a Visio replacement delivered over the web with collaboration and a community of users sharing their designs and expertise.
However, we believe the real value of our platform is its ability to provide visual real-time validation of the designs as we build them. This is done using our patent-pending Knowledge Object technology that encapsulates the experts knowledge into simple Visio-like icons, The Knowledge Objects or KObjects embody their real-world counterpart's attributes, behaviors and rules allowing non-experts to create workable designs and solve problems intuitively

• What type of customers you are targeting?
As a Visio-like tool, we are targeting the general market of professionals who currently use such design and drawing tools. Currently however, we are specifically targeting the business and IT consulting firms, who we believe will use this platform in their customer engagements and leave it behind in their customer sites after demonstrating the power and ease of our platform. In line with this, today Creately comes ready with a set of smart Knowledge Objects for Business Process Modeling, Flowcharts, IT Networks, Capacity planning, UML and so on.

• What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is their any new model, which is being tried?
We are a Freemium product delivered over the web. A free subscription will allow a user to design and collaborate but limit the number of collaborators who can work on the design. After our private beta is complete we will also offer Professional and Business subscriptions with greater utility like unlimited collaborators, full revision control and User management for Business accounts.

We plan to also monetize the community, by allowing users to package and sell their expertise via an online marketplace - This is a new model, but we are not ready to reveal further details at the moment.

• Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment?
Today, Visio is the largest player in this space but their offering is limited in its ability to share and collaborate. In the online space there are 2 small players who have developed some traction, but these are indirect competitors as they do not offer the range of functionality we do.

• What are the main technologies used behind this venture?
We are firm believers in Open source and its related technologies. Today the application is based on Adobe Flex and the Spring platform.
We believe we are pushing the limits of what you can achieve today with Flex and are very proud of the great work our R&D team has done with this platform. We are firm believers in the Flex platform and although there are still some issues with it, we believe its strong adoption in the community will help soothe these issues out inevitably.

• What has been the most easy to use, out of box and helpful technology?
We use Mingle from ThoughtWorks to support our Agile development and its been a great tool for planning and visibility. Although its a paid service, we see the value it delivers for a geographically dispersed team like ours.

• Are you using lot of open source tool sets for this?
Yes, lots of test and build frameworks that support our agile development methodology, including Spring, Subversion, Eclipse, Maven and a range of testing frameworks.

• What's your thought on the start-ups culture and innovation coming out of Australia?
We were of the believe after our participation in MUEC and Vic Pitch that there is a thriving community of innovators and investors in Australia, particularly in Sydney. However, after our recent trip to Silicon Valley where we met numerous entrepreneurs and investors, we believe we still have a long way to go in terms of developing the ecosystem required to support internet startups. Most people we have spoken to locally dont understand the scale of the Internet, perhaps because of the size of the local market, and as such dont understand the potential of these business models. Our American counterparts have both the foresight and the experience in dealing with such businesses to appreciate how the internet is a game changing paradigm that will have an impact on all industries.


Founder Profiles
Chandika Jayasundara – Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
MIS (Melbourne), Pg Dip M(CIM), BSc.(Hons)(London)

Chandika started to work on Cinergix in July 2007 on a full-time basis. Since then he has built a strong team, setup the infrastructure, a proof of product concept and proven the business case to various stakeholders to establish the start-up.

Chandika has over 7 years of experience in creating and deploying software products to serve organisations that range from SME's to Global 2000 companies. He has led international teams in technical and management capacities and supported delivery of large scale web enabled software to enterprise clients. He has also previously founded and led a small software consulting firm with a team of 4 that catered to small and medium sized businesses in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Recently, he has been the key member of a research project at the Department of Information Systems at The University of Melbourne focusing on online collaborative learning and is an author of several publications on this subject. Chandika holds a Master of Information Systems from The University of Melbourne, a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Computing and Information Systems with First Class Honours from the University of London.

Chandika's long term business and technical vision, the innate feel for the market trends, and proven leadership skills will help Cinergix grow to its full potential.

Nicholas Foster – Director & Chief Operating Officer (COO)
BSc. CompSci (Hons) (Brunel), MInfoTech (Melbourne), GradDip e-Business Law (Melbourne), MACS (Prov)

Nick joined Cinergix in November 2007. Nick has worked in the IT industry in both the UK and Australia during the past 8 years. During his career Nick has been exposed to organisations of varying sizes. He has been intimately involved in the running of an Australian company which provided him with excellent decision making experience. Nick was also involved in shaping and bringing to market a new way of extracting value from intellectual property within the health care industry; using the Internet to sell and deliver the material to healthcare workers all around the world. Nick's other skills include software development; he has created many software solutions during his career all focused on networking and the Internet. Nick completed his postgraduate studies at The University of Melbourne and gained a Master of Information Technology and a Graduate Diploma in E-Business Law. His undergraduate studies were completed at Brunel University in London where he received Honours for his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Nicks experience with start-ups and his ability to manage and lead company operations will allow him to excel at executing the business vision of Cinergix.

Charanjit Singh – Director & Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
MBusIT (Melbourne), BASc (Computer Engineering)(Nanyang, Singapore)

Charanjit joined Cinergix in October 2007 to help refine the idea and develop the Cinergix business model. He has 10 years experience in the IT industry consulting with large multinational and Internet start-ups in Singapore, Australia and India.

Charanjit started his professional career with a Singapore-based Internet start-up, where he led the application development teams across the Asia Pacific region, allowing the firm to list successfully on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Since then, he has led numerous large-scale Enterprise Application projects in the region within the Telco, Retail and Government industries, but has yearned to get back to his roots in the Internet business.
With excellent leadership skills, Charanjit brings extensive market knowledge and customer management skills to the team. His exposure to international markets and experience selling to C-Level executives will see Charanjit adding value to Cinergix's business strategy and growth vision. He holds a Masters in Business Information Technology from The University of Melbourne and a Bachelors in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Thanks Charanjit for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, and tech trends, check this out and our coverage on interviews can be found here

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