By Cathal O’Connell
David Mah began with a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, with a major in electrical systems. Eight years later, he’s already headed up two of the most exciting tech startups in Australia.
The flexibility of the curriculum at the University of Melbourne allowed him to explore areas like business and arts, and in his third year he took a subject called engineering entrepreneurship.
“I really enjoyed business and creating products,” he says.
David teamed up with fellow student Nigel Ang to develop UniSquare, an online social diary for students. In 2012, they were accepted into the prestigious Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP). As one of four inaugural Startup Accelerator recipients, the pair received $20,000 in seed funding, office space and intensive business training.
MAP is ranked as one of the top 10 university business accelerators in the world, according to the University Business Incubator Global Index 2015. The program funds start-up companies, which since 2012 have attracted more than $10 million in funding, created more than 120 jobs and generated over $5 million in revenue.
“MAP introduced us to the big names in the startup world in Melbourne,” says Nigel.
UniSquare became hugely successful, but ultimately it wasn’t generating enough revenue to be viable. So David and Nigel went on to develop their big breakthrough, BlueSky, which is now one of Australia’s top online shopping apps.
In January 2015, David and Nigel founded Kepler Analytics with the idea to use a passive Wi-Fi sensor to track the movements of shoppers via their mobile phones.
“My background in electrical engineering and business development came in quite handy,” says David, who co-invented the Kepler’s patent-pending sensor. “We now have some of the largest retailers in Australia as clients.”
To budding tech entrepreneurs, David says the most important thing is simply to go out there and do it. “A lot of people get stuck with creating theoretical business models,” he says.
“Go out there and try things and make mistakes. That’s the best way to learn.”
Author: STEM Contributor
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