ThincLab is the University of Adelaide’s business incubator and provides start-ups with a dynamic space and community in which to nurture ideas, develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge, and facilitate valuable connections and networks with mentors, investors, and experienced entrepreneurs. ThincLab supports students, alumni, staff and the wider community create and scale innovative ventures.
There are a variety of locations in which the ThincLab operates including Adelaide, Waite, Loxton, Singapore, and New Zealand.
ThincLab Adelaide (headquarters): Based in the Adelaide Central Business District, ThincLab Adelaide is a modern and vibrant facility on the main campus of the University of Adelaide and houses over 70 start-ups.
ThincLab Waite: Located at The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus which has the largest concentration of expertise in the southern hemisphere in agriculture, food and wine, has significant networks in the AgTech sector, in South Australia, nationally and internationally and works closely with other Agri accelerators and programs across Australia.
ThincLab Loxton: Based in the Riverland regional of South Australia, ThincLab Loxton supports regional entrepreneurs to further build the South Australian economy by assisting new and existing businesses to innovate.
ThincLab Singapore: Partnered with Accelerating Asia, a venture capital fund and accelerator firm based in Singapore, it invests in start-ups from the Southeast Asia region and beyond. ThincLab Singapore is a base for Australian start-ups looking to launch in SingaporeThincLab Canterbury.
Positioned within University of Canterbury, the newest node of the ThincLab network strengthens collaboration and opportunities between Australia and New Zealand.
ThincLab is the University of Adelaide’s incubator and is the longest running university business incubator in Australia. Established in 1993 in the Thebarton Research Precinct, the ThincLab was established to help students establish businesses while studying entrepreneurship at the University. Building upon this experience, in July 2017 when ThincLab was moved to the city and relaunched, its scope was expanded to include entrepreneurs from other universities and the wider community generally, as well as to assist its students, staff, and alumni commercialise their innovations.
ThincLab’s scope is to work with students across all disciplines, staff, alumni, and members of the community, to create innovative, highly scalable companies. ThincLab’s cumulative 29 years of operational experience has resulted in a deep understanding of what is needed to ensure successful new venture incubation and the growth acceleration of entrepreneurial ventures – whether as stand-alone ventures or within a corporate environment. The entrepreneurial ecosystem provides quality physical facilities as well as consistent in-person entrepreneurial learning, support, and knowledge-rich networking opportunities for its members.
Thinclab is a key component of the entrepreneurship commercialisation ecosystem at the University of Adelaide that engages with communities to facilitate research commercialisation and the exchange of ideas and to create value and impact in those communities.
STUDENTS BUILDING BUSINESSES: THE AUSTRALIAN ECHALLENGE
The Australian eChallenge is ThincLab’s flagship pre-accelerator / preincubation entrepreneurship and innovation program. The eChallenge is the longest running and most successful program of its kind in Australasia and has been operating for 22 years. The eChallenge is designed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity through encouraging fresh and innovative thinking to solve real world problems. It is a premium three-month, intensive structured program that is designed to encourage and support innovators by teaching them how to assess and identify market opportunities, while accelerating innovation development, and the path to commercialisation of those innovations. The eChallenge offers cash and prizes to assist with further developing the opportunity.
In 2022, Ag Science students Liam Van Schaik, Tom Gameau and took out first prize with their business TraitSelect which allows farmers to better select livestock at auctions.
“Our focus is to ensure buyers attending sales across the entire nation have a user-friendly experience with our tailored app.”
“Using statistics, we reduce the required time farmers and stock agents spend finding their desired breeding animal, by simply implementing a genetic filtering system that gives you or your stock agent access to individual lots, nationwide.”
Team TraitSelect took home a total prize package of $15,000, which includes $10,000 cash, $1000 worth of consultancy services from ThincLab sponsors such as Madderns Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys, with a package worth $4000 which includes permanent residency for 12 months and Accelerator business workshops at ThincLab.
In 2022 more than 300 students across multiple programs, degrees & disciplines participated in the pre-accelerator program and competed for $62K + in cash and prizes. ThincLab are excited to see the future innovation in upcoming years.
ECHALLENGE SUCCESS STORY : TOM WELSBY, RESVU
ResVu started at ThincLab, when founder and CEO, Tom Welsby, who was studying a Bachelor of finance at the University of Adelaide at the time, undertook the eChallenge in 2017 and was awarded the $10,000 prize, and a residency in ThincLab.
Resvu is a world first CRM platform for property and community management companies built to provide significant improvements in customer engagement and service delivery, all through a proven ROI and custom branded solution.
Winning launched his business. And Tom attests it was the eChallenge program that provided the foundation to launch.
“The eChallenge was a brilliant opportunity, providing me with the tools to help me establish my own business,” he says.
“Everything that I put forward in our eChallenge finals presentation still exists. We haven’t changed the vision that was presented, and what was still a base product in the eChallenge is now powering almost 450,000 apartments.”
“Looking to the future, we could be looking at half a million to a million buildings in the next 12 to 18 months, which is going to be really exciting.
Since winning the eChallenge and undertaking Thinclab incubation, ResVu has gone from strength to strength. They raised significant funding from real estate company Maxsoft and have just launched in the US (Florida). ResVu has expanded their team and are scaling fast.
ThincLab supported Tom and the ResVu team from ideation, traction and to scale, via its incubation programs, mentoring and support, including the ThincLab International Incubator Program.
Tom has also been named the winner of First National Real Estate Innovation Award in the 7News Young Achiever Awards and was a winner of the 40 under 40 in South Australia.
AGTECH FOCUSED STARTUP: JORDY KITSCHKE, FLUX
Within ThincLab, there is a strong emphasis around innovation in the agriculture technology industry.
Jordy Kitschke, University of Adelaide agricultural science graduate has developed his start-up, Flux, within ThincLab. Flux has a focus on replacing pesticides using robotics. Jordy has plenty of experience under his belt in building deep-tech, having built another AgTech startup from the ThincLab previously.
Flux is building an ecosystem of robotics products that will enable farmers to manage their crops in entirely new ways. Through the identification of individual weeds, herbicides can be targeted through computer vision systems that are attached to an autonomous robot. Considering that over 4 billion kilograms of pesticides are used each year, Flux’s technology is an innovative solution to the increasingly problematic chemical usage.
The main driver behind Flux’s incredible speed in bringing products to market is through working with some of the leading farmers in the country to develop its technologies. “We also attract some of the best engineers in the country as they see it as a challenging and meaningful problem to work on”, says Jordy.
Jordy believes that the next revolution in agriculture will be driven by the unlocking of intelligent machines. According to Jordy, “having machines that are able to sense and manipulate in a paddock with millimeter accuracy, 24 hours a day, unlocks a whole new range of options in terms of how you can manage the production system. Our first focus is on high precision weed removal, but the platform we’ve built could be used for a heap of different applications on farm.”