By Laura Boness
For entrepreneur Ed Hooper, software is an exciting field to be in. He co-founded the audio platform 121Cast, which brings you personalised radio through the apps Omny and SoundGecko. Omny creates an audio stream based on your favourite music and podcasts, while SoundGecko turns text into speech so you can listen to websites and documents on the go.
“Everything is becoming more and more about software,” he says. “It’s a great area to be in because there’s so much opportunity, there’s so many jobs… there’s a lot of uncharted territory.”
As well as his Bachelor of Science (Computing & Software Systems) at the University of Melbourne, Ed did an internship at Microsoft.
After that, he began his first startup, SOAK, to help farmers sustainably manage their water usage during the drought Australia was experiencing at the time – and it won the 2008 Microsoft Imagine Cup. SOAK created a market-ready product with a solid funding pitch, but the global financial crisis meant the team couldn’t get it off the ground. Ed then went to work for ANZ, gaining more experience in computing and business.
Then Ed and a friend came up with the idea of 121Cast. To get their concept off the ground, they enlisted another friend, quit their jobs and started from scratch. The three of them lived off their savings and worked harder than ever. They received funding from the Optus Innov8 Seed Program, and the company gradually expanded to the point where they had two successful products and a growing team.
So what does he love about his job? “Seeing how technology can be applied to make things better for people,” he says.
Author: STEM Contributor
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