Paul has been a successful entrepreneur in international technology markets since 1990 and here shares how he got started, his passions and what led him to found EdgeGroup Incubator.
Tell us about your background?
I grew up surrounded by electronics, lego, balsa wood, metal and technical magazines and books of all kinds. I loved any machine that could float, fly or (in my dreams) walk. So I was always going to be an engineer of one kind or another, although somehow was persuaded that studying science trumped engineering. Towards the end of my high-school years, computers started to become available and I became completely hooked. I migrated from the school computer to a computer I soldered together myself, then to one (of many) that I designed and built myself.
After working as a software/electronics engineer for two high-tech manufacturing firms, I branched out into my own technology business, then multiple businesses over the last 25 odd years.
Why did you set up EdgeGroupIncubator?
Several reasons. I wanted to invest in new businesses which I would be passionate about.
I saw a need to provide new businesses in the technology/hardware space with the skills, resources and mentoring. And I felt that there were untapped resources available (including my own) that could be of great benefit to aspiring entrepreneurs.
What is EdgeGroup’s focus?
Technology, first and foremost. We invest in technology businesses primarily that have a hardware/electronics element. Hardware development creates a barrier to entry for many, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. We invest in businesses rather than just supply services. Our success is inextricably tied to the success of the startups we invest in.
Who is it for?
Anyone with a passion for business and technology. Whether you are an entrepreneur starting out looking for support, or a successful entrepreneur with skills that others can leverage or an investor looking to back projects that are supported by a team with a proven track record, EdgeGroup is for you.
What makes EdgeGroup different?
Our focus on businesses with a hardware component is an obvious point of difference — although that’s not an explicit requirement. However, if you look at our team and our partnerships — they (we) all come from an entrepreneurial background. We are here today because we have been successful in our own businesses – and we bring that wealth of experience and expertise to everything we do.
What was your main business prior to EdgeGroup?
Most recently and still today, Infostream – a business I started 25 years ago is still going strong and always has my attention. Infostream specialises these days mostly in wireless infrastructure. I’ve started and/or owned several businesses over the years – typically in related areas of technology or market segment. But that’s been very diverse – for example, YTE magazine which I owned for many years was a successful bi-monthly magazine for financial market traders.
When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?
I frequently try to pack too much into my days. Because I’m passionate about my work, lines tend to become blurred. But for a complete time-out (which is also just quiet thinking time), I go running or do an ocean swim. The steady cadence of your strokes or stride really clears out your mind. Of course, it’s in my nature to try and beat my own time – so it often also turns into a race against my watch. I find myself much more satisfied in my work if I’ve also gotten a good dose of exercise. I have plenty of other hobbies too which I never seem to have enough time to pursue. I love drawing, working on my cars and flying. I usually cycle through my hobbies over a period of a few months.
What have you learnt from your years as an entrepreneur that you would tell startups?
Where to start? Starting a business can be hard and risky. And every founder will (and should) make their own mistakes along the way. But it’s human nature to overestimate the negative consequences of bad decisions. We all make them. So it’s important to take calculated risks – the easy path often leads nowhere. Try to see the world for what it actually is. A good example is when we look overseas. Australia (except in the geographic sense) is tiny. Think of the world at large as your target market. Don’t shy away from overseas opportunities both in terms of resources and markets.
We are currently hiring, find out more about working with EdgeGroup Incubator here