Quick takes: Three entrepreneurs on our innovation radar


Forbes Australia has picked out three of the entrepreneurs who have been making waves in the startup scene as of late – and they’re ones to watch.
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Alliv Samson

Starting like many great entrepreneurs do, Alliv Samson was a student when she set out to build the interactive ed-tech platform, Kami.

Along with her cofounders at the University of Auckland, she had realised that despite online PDFs becoming the norm, there was still no effective way to collaborate, take notes, and annotate on digital documents.

The Kami platform now allows students and teachers to collaborate on a single document – creating a space for brainstorming and digital engagement.

One of the entrepreneurs who co-founded Kami

These tools aim to reduce admin for teachers and instead build in more time to focus on improving learning outcomes – with Kami estimating it saves teachers eight hours per week.

With more than 40 million users across 180 countries, the tech platform’s revenue has grown by a whopping 1,137% over the last three years – making almost $40 million in revenue in 2022.

Kami has gone through two rounds of capital raising, with early backers NZ Growth Capital Partners and Flying Kiwi Angels investing in the business in 2014.

“Kami is a shining example of how start-ups can have a global impact from New Zealand,” says Jacques Richter, Associate Investment Director of New Zealand Growth Capital Partners. “Kami’s product suite improves outcomes for students and teachers and aligns well with our intention to back bold founders with disruptive ideas.”

MacGregor Duncan + Dianne Challenor

Westpac executives MacGregor Duncan and Dianne Challenor both harboured individual ambitions to launch their own companies one day. But these ambitions weren’t fostered until the pair met while working together on Westpac’s new Banking-as-a-Service platform in 2017.

The seasoned banking professionals talked about incumbent banks’ numerous issues – messy legacy systems, ridiculous operational costs, and poor customer experiences. They saw an opportunity to innovate.

Image of entrepreneurs MacGregor Duncan + Dianne Challenor

Constantinople allows banks to outsource all the operating software they need rather than attempting to build it in-house.

Covering areas from customer experience to servicing and compliance, Constantinople should help banks significantly reduce their operational costs, automating operational processes that humans typically undertake.

Along with the wealth of experience Duncan and Challenor bring, Constantinople has approximately 45 engineers building and refining the software. In May of this year, Constantinople broke records with a $32 million seed round – the largest in Australian history.

Square Peg led the raise, and other investors include AirTree Ventures and Great Southern Bank.

“Constantinople’s vision for the new banking era is bold, ambitious, and very complex,” says James Cameron, Partner at AirTree Ventures. “It’s early days for Constantinople, but their leadership and execution to date excites us for what’s to come.”

Natalie Flynn

After a 15-year career that spanned industries from mining, oil, gas, and tech, Natalie Flynn assumed she understood gender equity in the workplace. But on entering her first c-suite role, Flynn realised she was receiving a pay package less than 50% of the benchmark.

Her male colleagues were all paid at – or above – market rates. She took it on the chin for two years until she finally showed the data to the company’s global CEO.

He fixed it right away. Flynn realised then that companies couldn’t change what they couldn’t see – and the idea for equidi was born.

The company uses data analytics to give companies insights into how they are promoting gender equality. From there, equidi provides bespoke actions and strategies to help their users create more inclusive workplaces.

After a pre-seed round that raised $500k, equidi has tripled its growth in the past year, with a “healthy pipeline” of ASX 300 customers. equidi has also received backing from Tennis Australia, who selected the company to be a part of its AO StartUps program.

Dr Machar Reid, Tennis Australia’s Head of Innovation, says equidi was chosen because “we recognised the sophistication of its real-time delivery of insights across gender pay, opportunity, and representation.”

Forbes Australia Issue 8 is out now. Tap here to secure your copy.

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