Hooked on hardware

A panel discussion about the highs and hang-ups of hardware startups.

From determined dreamers who tinker in their garage to successful founders with products on the shelf, hardware startup founders never stop prototyping.

Hear from three local founders on what it’s like setting up a hardware startup, their journeys to success and what they’ve learned along the way. This panel discussion will cover how hardware startups are different to other types of startups, sorting out supply chains and manufacturing in global destinations like China.

Visit the Prototype to product exhibition during MKW21 to discover some of our city’s most fascinating problem-solving hardware startups from the University of Melbourne’s entrepreneurial programs: Melbourne Accelerator Program and Translating Research at Melbourne.

Fri 30 April, 12.30–1.30pm

Melbourne Connect: the LaunchPadCorner of Grattan and Swanston Street, Carlton


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Event Speakers

Adam Jahnke

Adam is the CEO at Umps Health, helping people live safely and independently in older age. Adam’s background is in improving public health through technology commercialisation. One of his earliest roles was at Cochlear China, where he developed partnerships with enterprise and government stakeholders to make cochlear implantation accessible to disadvantaged and remote communities. He has also worked at Ericsson, leading the development of digital transformation projects to improve the liveability of cities in Australia and South East Asia. Adam founded Umps Health to support his grandpa live safely and independently at home. After reviewing existing solutions, he found that technology on the whole wasn’t fit for purpose, so he created a solution that worked for his grandpa, Umps. Umps Health uses non-intrusive smart plugs that measure patterns in the way people use everyday home appliances, like the TV, kettle, fridge or microwave and raise alerts when behaviour is unusual.

Raymond Dagastine

Ray is a Professor and the Deputy Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is the co-founder of Tiny Bright Things, transforming any standard microscope into a nanoscale imaging system. Ray leads a research group at the University studying different aspects of particle technology and has a passion for translating novel methods and outcomes into practice through industry collaborations. He is experienced in the development and leadership of collaborative scientific research infrastructure with a strong focus on interdisciplinary research. Tiny Bright Things is behind the Halo Element™, a nanoscale imaging system which enables visualisation and measurement down to the scale of viruses, drug particles and carbon nanotubes – all as fast as a camera can take pictures, and without altering samples in any way.

Simone Elliott

Simone is a passionate, motivated and creative marketer with global experience in driving both market leading and new services in large, competitive, consumer markets. She is the General Manager Product Marketing (Enterprise Mobility Solutions) at Telstra, a key partner of Melbourne Connect through the Telstra Creator Space. Simone has a background in developing and managing major marketing and advertising campaigns for household brands like Sky, The Good Guys, Woolworths UK and Myer. Her current role involves positioning Telstra as a market leader by delivering a brilliant connected experience for the customer. Simone’s strength is in using insight to drive development of marketing activity ranging from multi-million dollar marketing campaigns and communication architecture design through to web development.

Zoe Milne

Zoe is the co-founder of LoopLearn, automating the student roll marking process in schools using computer vision technology. With background in education technology consulting and client engagement in K-12 and higher education, Zoe loves building solutions with new technology to solve old problems that can transform the way people work, live and learn. After years of growing, implementing and refining technology solutions for global EduTech companies like Hobsons and McGraw-Hill, Zoe took the plunge and dived into working on her own projects and co-founded LoopLearn. LoopLearn makes it simpler, quicker, and more efficient for organisations to ensure the health and safety of their communities and people in their care. Their technology helps organisations know who is on their premises, be confident that all people are authorised and safe to be there, and have an efficient system that alerts staff if a person is at risk.

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