Where are they now? 5 Queensland startups that launched 5 years ago


Queensland’s startup ecosystem is well established. The businesses we knew as startups half a decade back with their bright ideas, initial funding rounds or bootstrapping adventures are blooming into scale-ups. So where are they now? We’ve checked in with some of the state’s brightest business minds. It’s amazing how much changes in 5 years...


Brisbane-based edtech startup GO1 came into fruition in 2015 launching its online learning portal to address a “big gap in the corporate training market”. The brand is now known as the go-to for dynamic cloud-based online learning for everything from workplace health and safety compliance to coding, leadership and marketing. Five years on, GO1 has more than 400,000 users and offers more than 500,000 different courses, including 50,000 for subscription customers. The journey included multiple funding rounds including a whopping $30 million in Series B funding just seven months after a $10 million series A raise - led by Microsoft’s venture fund M12, as well as SEEK and Y Combinator. GO1’s current list of clients includes Google, Foxtel, Seek, National Australia Bank, Telstra and the Queensland and Malaysian governments. The Queensland business has offices around the world including the United States, South Africa, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and Malaysia.


What started as a small pilot project to solve Queensland civic-related problems has emerged as one of the state’s (and the country’s) great export success stories. Gruntify, the flagship product by GIS People - offers a blend of real-time data collection, location intelligence, collaboration, artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform unwieldy business processes into logical, organised actions. The platform was founded by Igor Stjepanovic, emerging from a Smart Cities concept that was pitched during the Open Innovation summit in Brisbane, Australia in 2015. With many large government agencies and commercial enterprises as clients, their reach is now global. Two of Gruntify’s international clients include the City of San Jose and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in San Francisco, but they’re also working with many major clients on home soil, including the Department of Transport and Main Roads. These days, Gruntify focuses less on the ‘top-end’ of the market, instead turning its attention to incorporate innovative solutions for global small-to-medium businesses with its Gruntify SaaS offering supporting mobile workers.


Another of the state’s success stories is MOVUS – the brand behind the industrial IoT solution the FitMachine. MOVUS was founded in 2015 by Brad Parsons and Michel Lamarre to help businesses find ways to optimise the resources they currently manage, by bringing new thinking and innovation. The team have built the “Fitbit for Industrial Equipment” – a sensor, cloud and analytics solution providing visibility, utilisation and condition health of equipment. Specifically, the FitMachine and FitMachineEX technology helps businesses across industries such as manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, energy, water and utilities, and buildings and facilities to save money, create greater employee satisfaction, generate less waste, and have a positive impact on the planet. Since launching, the Queensland-based business has received $900,000 in seed investment and $350,000 in State and Federal Grants. It serves an international audience.


Queensland-founded Reekoh is an award-winning agile integration technology suite that brings together all aspects of the modern data landscape for enabling business outcomes; physical (IoT/legacy), application and open data. The unique platform for IoT was founded in 2015 on the belief that the IoT ecosystem would become increasingly difficult to manage for enterprises and businesses as the market rapidly expanded. Identifying this as a roadblock for innovation and exploration around the massive benefits IoT can bring to market, the founders and expanding team embarked on a journey to build the tools necessary for simplifying and integrating the IoT ecosystem in the early stages, as well as into massive deployment and scale. Hardware makers, and application and service developers can utilise plugins in the marketplace to also reach customers who are building IoT solutions on the Reekoh platform. The tech business has received funding from Future Now Ventures and is based across Australia and the Philippines, servicing a global marketplace.


Founded in 2015 by Chris Macaulay and Tristan Ozinga, Queensland media and tech startup Advvy delivers workflow tools for the finance, media and advertising industries to connect departments, break down silos and ensure a single source of client and campaign information. The founder’s journey changed dramatically when they signed a global partnership with Microsoft in September 2017 – with the global tech company investing cash to fast track product development, co-fund marketing campaigns, produce a docu-series ( about Advvy’s journey, and incentivise their sales people around the world to co-sell Advvy products. Advvy went on to win the 2018 Microsoft Partner of Year Media and Communications Award, acknowledged among a field of international Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology. The scaleup has also received an Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Grant. They’ve since opened offices in the UK and US to service a growing global market.