Splasheo founder Gideon Shalwick came to the Sunshine Coast 2.5 years ago due to the good weather and lifestyle to start a new family, and says there’s a vibrant business community here.
“The Sunshine Coast is a beautiful and inspirational place to be based. It’s where I’ve come up with some of my best business ideas. I think being close to the ocean has a lot to do with that!”
Providing online video marketing products, there is no physical aspect to the business as all of Splasheo’s products, sales, delivery and logistics are digital.
“Our delivery costs are therefore virtually zero, our profit margins are higher and our ability to scale is infinite.”
Gideon says the key digital innovations currently changing his industry are live video broadcasting and mobile.
“The intersection of these two trends is an amazingly innovative space to be in right now.”
There are, however, some challenges for running a global business from the Sunshine Coast, including:
The incredibly bad state of internet here. His counterparts in the United States, for example, are able to innovate a lot more, simply because they have much better internet.
A lack of enough other like-minded entrepreneurs in the digital space.
Not having as big a pool of talent to choose from locally (compared to counterparts in larger cities or places like Silicon Valley).
Not enough affordable coworking spaces for start-ups in the digital space.
Not enough high quality events from international leaders in this industry.
“There’s a productivity bottleneck with internet speeds on the Sunshine Coast. For example, it takes 3-5 hours to upload a five minute video, even if you're on ADSL2+ (which is the best internet connection you can get in the majority of places, unless you use a mobile connection or go to an area with a fibre connection),” he said.
“If I’m in a business where it’s critical that I publish videos immediately or do live video streaming, it’s impossible to compete globally.”
Gideon says the current lack of internet infrastructure also affects innovation and performance, such as being able to communicate live, using Google Hangouts.
“In the USA live video streaming is currently a massive trend. Our download speeds here are okay (just), but upload speeds are ridiculously bad. Slow and intermittent upload speeds makes it impossible to broadcast live video effectively which puts me at a massive disadvantage compared to my USA counterparts.”
Gideon says any digital business which operates globally is essentially an export business, bringing money into the local economy, with almost zero manufacturing costs and higher profit margins.
“To attract more similar businesses here we need to show more case studies and success stories of existing digital businesses, as examples to the outside world.”
He says the Sunshine Coast also needs more access to coworking spaces with amazing internet (for both upload and download speeds), to peers and mentors to attract more similar digitally-based businesses here.
“We need more high quality events and conferences in Australia, and attract world experts in the digital space to talk about the latest innovations and provide us with inspiration.
“Along with that, we need amazing venues in the right locations to make it easy for people from all over the world to come for a conference. At the moment, there’s not much to choose from. And from the ones that are feasible, they’re not in locations where accommodation is plentiful and accessible,” he said.
“However, by just solving the internet issue on the Sunshine Coast, I can’t see why I would want to do business from anywhere else in the world! I’ve lived in three different countries now, and have travelled the world extensively, and I always come back to the Sunshine Coast as my favourite place in the world to live.”