As one of the original team members who joined SafetyCulture in 2004, Blake Pelling has been an integral part of the global success story, which started in founder Luke Anear’s Townsville garage and was recently valued at 1.35 billion dollars.
It paves the way for start-ups in regional Australia to believe that they too can turn their idea into a “unicorn” business valued at over one billion dollars, and Blake is keen to share his learnings as the guest speaker of “From Idea to Unicorn” at Smart Precinct NQ’s (SPNQ) Business Innovators Presentation Series, which will be live streamed from TAFE Queensland on Thursday night.
“I’ll tell the story of Townsville’s own Unicorn, the billion dollar baby, from its humble beginnings to global success story, and unpack key elements that proved necessary for this kind of success,” says Blake.
“We’ll give people good reasons to believe this won’t be our last home grown tech success and that we should commit – in an ongoing way – to unlocking as many as possible.”
Blake hopes that sharing SafetyCulture’s story inspires other local entrepreneurs to aspire for global success, and has joined the Smart Precinct NQ Board to share his knowledge and expertise with high-growth businesses.
“Townsville has had its fair share of challenges to our economic prosperity,” he says.
“Fostering the creation of more high-growth tech companies in the region is one way to have a positive impact. Smart Precinct NQ exists to make this happen, and I hope our experience with SafetyCulture can contribute to its success.
“What I have seen through my involvement with SPNQ is a tremendous appetite from all tiers of government and business groups to find and support emerging business opportunities. Getting involved in SPNQ is a good start to tapping into that.”
While the title of the talk is “From Idea to Unicorn”, Blake is quick to point out that entrepreneurs need to put their idea to the test early on.
“The idea is the easy part,” he says.
“Everyone has ideas. They’re worth exactly zero unless you can answer the following:
“Does your idea solve a problem? Can you do what must be done to get traction with your idea? Can you get any customers to commit to your solution? Is your solution uniquely capable of solving this problem for customers on a much larger scale? Does your traction inspire others to invest and help you build it?
“If the answer to all of these is ‘yes’ … welcome to base-camp. We’ve got a big climb ahead. But the view is pretty special.”
The climb to the top is rarely without plenty of falls along the way, and Blake says his advice to budding entrepreneurs is to embrace the failures.
“Failing never stops hurting but you do learn to embrace it as a crucial ingredient for growth… provided you take the lessons it offers,” he says.
“From Idea to Unicorn”, sponsored by AusIndustry, will be held 5.30pm – 6.30pm at TAFE Queensland on Thursday 3 September, but is being live streamed via JCU Connect to ensure more people can be inspired by the SafetyCulture story and participate in the Q&A with Blake.
To register for the free live stream event, visit www.spnq.org.
By Julie Johnston for BDmag