By Melissa Keogh
For South Australian IT consultancy firm Chamonix IT Solutions, moving to Lot Fourteen has paved the way for investment opportunities and greater collaboration with fellow businesses.
Lot Fourteen – the new name for the 7ha old Royal Adelaide Hospital site – is transforming into a growing innovation neighbourhood under the management of Renewal SA on behalf of the State Government. It has become home to a number of tech, cyber security, defence and space related businesses and industry organisations, with more than 1000 people expected to work there by September, 2019, and thousands more to join in coming years.
Chamonix, which also has three sister companies, Exposé: Data Exposed, SecMatters and Cortex, was one of Lot Fourteen’s first tenants.
The IT business was founded in Adelaide in 2010, specialising in end-to-end digital transformation and IT consulting. Exposé: Data Exposed focuses on data analysis and business intelligence, SecMatters in cyber security and Cortex Interactive in immersive learning and development, and on-boarding solutions using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Since moving to Lot Fourteen, Chamonix has employed an extra 35 staff in total across its four tech businesses, bringing its total workforce to about 120 people. It’s also offered employment to a number of university graduates from the state’s three main universities who have gone through Chamonix’s graduate program.
Chamonix founders Geoff Rohrsheim and Scott Grigg say the energy in the building has “elevated to the next level” since the announcement that Lot Fourteen will become home to the Australian Space Agency.
In a massive coup for South Australia, Lot Fourteen will host the nation’s space HQ, set to transform and grow the country’s globally respected space industry and inspire the next generation of space entrepreneurs.
When the announcement was made public in December last year, it signalled a boost for the SA economy and potential engagement between other space, cyber security, defence and tech businesses not only within Lot Fourteen but across the state.
Geoff Rohrsheim is highly optimistic about potential investment opportunities the space agency could bring to Chamonix and its sister companies.
“The four businesses in our portfolio are still growing. That’s part of the interest in Lot Fourteen for us, being here we will see smaller companies and other companies will see us,” he says.
“The Defence Landing Pad and the space agency will attract companies from around the world and when they land here, they’ll need help … so there’s an opportunity to be able to help them with their IT needs, or partner with them in some way or form.”
Scott Grigg agrees, adding that smaller start-ups within the innovation precinct could benefit from mentoring and investment opportunities larger, more established tenants might be able to provide.
“(There are) opportunities for us to partner, to invest in and mentor up-and-coming organisations. People who have a great idea come in and want to market it, want to commercialise it, but don’t necessarily have the skills or the venture capital, so it was very attractive to go in (to Lot Fourteen) from that point of view,” he says.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway says Lot Fourteen is an attractor for local and global companies wanting to be at the cutting edge of technological development, bringing with them new products and ways of doing business.
“There is global interest to invest in Lot Fourteen from a variety of industries from space and defence to rapid growth start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs,” he says. “The site is specifically designed to inspire collaboration across the innovation ecosystem and is an ideal place to plant an office to reach out into the Asia Pacific market.”
Mr Ridgway says the start-up hub will also allow businesses to consider new partnerships with research institutions and other SMEs to develop new products and services, leading to further investment in SA. The space agency will also drive collaboration, he says.
“The SA space industry is a mixture of traditional aerospace companies and new tech start-ups with a space focus,” Mr Ridgway says. “As the doorway for other international space companies and agencies to enter Australia, I believe the National Space Agency will drive collaboration between established space companies and new start-ups to grow and further develop our state’s thriving space industry.”
Lot Fourteen is already home to a number of businesses and organisations across the technology, cyber security, defence and space fields. Among them is highly successful satellite start-up Myriota, which specialises in low cost Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.
Another is the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), aimed at supporting local businesses to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) products. The institute recently partnered with the world’s largest aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, who is moving a team of researchers from its STELaRLab (Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory) to be co-located with AIML.
International defence companies looking to establish in SA will be increasingly supported through the State Government’s Defence Landing Pad, providing access to affordable and short-term office facilities co-located with similar companies and industry associations.
At the centre of Lot Fourteen’s efforts to attract investment from budding and established entrepreneurs is [email protected] Fourteen, a model led by SA’s Chief Entrepreneur Jim Whalley and the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
FIXE is tasked with attracting start-ups by accommodating 650 workspaces, encouraging new and established businesses to develop their ideas, identify investment opportunities, and connect members of the entrepreneurial community.
Commenting in relation to SA’s Blockchain Innovation Challenge last month, Jim said “the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur is delivering a vision to put entrepreneurship at the heart of SA’s economic game plan through FIXE, a new approach to inspiring, equipping, enabling and celebrating entrepreneurs to ensure they have the skills to grow a business from concept through to creation”.
For more information on the wider redevelopment of Lot Fourteen click here.
Industry in focus: Trade and Investment
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