Alexandra Keating is not an engineer by trade but some days she wishes she was.
The young Australian entrepreneur fell into the tech scene at the age of 20, launching her first company, GoFundraise, with the goal of creating a low-cost solution to fundraising, which happened to develop into a successful online platform.
A decade later she’s developed DWNLD, an app builder which allows anyone wanting to create an application for their business website to do so quickly and affordably.
“The inception of the idea was based around people’s desire to have an app but not knowing how to go about it or not being able to afford one,” Keating told Business Insider Australia.
“We now live in a multi-screen world – tablets, phablets, phones, watches – and it’s going to continually evolve. In such a world, people want their content to display beautifully on each of those screens and we provide a solution for that.”
With the assistance of her business partner, Fritz, and after reaching out to people in the media and tech industry, Keating has managed to raise $2 million in seed funding for the startup, which currently has around 4,000 publishers signed on and expectations to “scale rapidly with a six-digit user base next year”.
While there are “literally hundreds” of app makers out there, Keating says she’s “yet to find one that can take a website and turn it into a beautiful native app within seconds.”
Here are five ideas Keating has for anyone thinking of joining the growing startup scene, either here or abroad:
On what she learned from creating a not-for-profit platform;
Keating revealed that motivation and self-confidence were huge factors in encouraging her to build a business.
“The biggest takeaway was if you want to build a solution to a problem you can,” she says.
“When I was thinking about building DWNLD I was like, ‘Well if I did it when I was 19 I can do it again’.”
On what excites her about the online/digital environment;
Keating says people already spend “30 per cent to 60 per cent of their time on mobile devices” and she expects this technological revolution to continue to grow significantly.
“We’re excited to see new screen sizes like Apple Watch emerge because it necessitates the existence of a platform like ours,” she says.
On parental guidance and the influence of her father;
Paul Keating left school at 15 and didn’t pursue higher education, however, he went on to be Prime Minister of Australia for more than four years in the early 90s.
“My father taught me to think differently and I believe that has lead to me making non-traditional decisions with my career,” Keating said.
On the difference between the Australian and US startup scene;
“It was a decade ago when I started GoFundraise out of Sydney, so it’s very hard to say. At the time there were no Angels or VCs in reach and that was definitely a challenge,” Keating said.
When asked what the benefits and detriments were between the two continents, in terms of developing a new business, Keating said it depends on the target audience.
“For me I had to be in the States or Europe to build DWNLD as the Australian market wasn’t large enough to sustain the needed growth for the business. I would love to have built it out of Australia.”
On the importance of disruption in today’s innovative business climate;
“I think it’s become clear that disruption is the primary (but not the only) catalyst for really explosive startup success,” Keating says.
“You look at the Warby Parkers and the Ubers of the world and realise how powerful it can be to shift a business model with innovative technology and supply chains.
She says DWNLD’s proprietary technology disrupts the historically expensive, esoteric world of app development and democratises the process.
“You no longer have to spend thousands of dollars and hours of man-labor to create a stunning, native mobile app for your brand. It’s the only platform for ‘instant appification’ as we like to call it,” she says.
BONUS: On Creative 3 and how it can help entrepreneurs;
Keating recently visited Australia to address the Creative 3 forum, now in its fifth year, which bring together some of the world’s most accomplished creative game changers and leading practitioners to deliver insights on disruptive approaches to company growth.
“It was great to be a part of a conference that is enabling Australian entrepreneurs to take the next step. It’s an amazing time for young, inspired minds to get out there and turn ideas into reality,” Keating said.
“When I was asked to speak I spent a long time thinking about what I could add that was unique and helpful. I soon realised that my unique position was that I did the same thing a decade apart in different countries yet the key findings were the same.”
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