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Coastal Watch - Surf Reports & Live Streaming Vision for Beaches in Australia

Today we showcase an exciting and 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 the beach and find no waves.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
1-2 years established 1998.

• What services it provides for consumers or customers?
Streaming surf cams/Surf Reports/ Swell Forecasting/ Surf news/Mobile phone data/ IPTV

• What type of customers are targeting?
Surfers, Boating, Surf Life Saving and really anyone with an interest in the beach and waterways

• How many people were using your services?
450k Uvs/month

• 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 there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
Traffic against other sporting sites online as well as weather and news sites.

• What w
as the monetizing/revenue model? Was there any new model, which was tried?
Shifted from the start as advertisers were slow to move to spend online with the audience. So content sales to mobile/ web dev initially then display took over as a major revenue model. Also r
an 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 a lot of the infrastructure was custom built or adapted.

• Were you using a 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 constantly validating your story and keeping the dream alive. Not being a part of the major publishers and being massively under-financed made it very difficult.

• What’s your thought on the start-up culture and innovation coming out of Australia, especially in media and telecom?
Always been so exciting the last 2 years as more serious money enters the space. But it's super competitive and many good ideas don't 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 allowed to change the nation, what 3 things you will do?
Poverty/health/education are all the things the 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 the future.

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


I agree with a lot of the points you made in this article. If you are looking for the top 10 activities in melbourne, then visit Australia UnWrapped. I appreciate the work you have put into this and hope you continue writing on this subject.

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