The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Brisbane Technology Park’s new coworking Hub — December 10, 2013

Brisbane Technology Park’s new coworking Hub

This is a sponsored post by our friends at Brisbane Technology Park.


Are you based in Brisbane, Queensland and looking for a new space for your startup or growing company? Check out the options at the BTP Hub coworking space.

When Brisbane Technology Park (BTP) Services first took over the 25 year old conference center in 2011 the strategy was to demolish the existing layout, open up the space and let the light in. Two years on, many of the occupants that believed in the new look by and work space created by BTP Services, are still there and growing in the building. The facility is soon to undergo the last stage of its internal refurbishment with new meeting and training rooms currently going through the final design process.

The desire for smaller, self-sufficient offices hasn’t stopped with the growing demand for flexible business accommodation. The space has been particularly popular with startups in a growth phase or those larger groups requiring project space. With the BTP Conference Centre full, BTP Services had a business conundrum; where else could the same cost effective accommodation solution be offered?

When a successful national firm, Worldsmart, needed to relocate their business, it became apparent that their tenancy could be the perfect space to set up a hub of commercial activity and become home to a number of growing companies. Within a six week period the BTP Hub was born!


The BTP Hub; a facility which provides dedicated suites for small businesses, flexible hot desk infrastructure for traveling professionals and individual offices for independent workers is the first of its kind for suburban or fringe Brisbane. BTP Services is pleased to announce that already several suites have been leased to international telecommunications provider Tru Phone, Rimfire Constructions and Steffensen IT.

It is now a case of watch this space with a number of options still available for businesses considering relocation. Coworking space is available on a long-term and casual basis from $500 per month for full time use.

Contact for more or visit here to see what’s available. 

Interview: Steve Baxter of River City Labs in Brisbane — October 17, 2013

Interview: Steve Baxter of River City Labs in Brisbane


“There are some really good businesses here, but when you look at the level of activity elsewhere you can see that we’re behind the eight ball. It needs serious local and state government help and support and if they want to do that, they have to be willing to spend the money.”

Steve Baxter has been responsible for pushing the Brisbane startup scene forward through his coworking space River City Labs and supporting global movements such as Startup Weekend. It’s never a rare occurrence for Steve to dip into his own pocket to help new tech businesses flourish. The Fetch caught up with Steve about his new gaming ventures and his Brisbane perspective.

What inspired you to open River City Labs?

I have several investments, and after travelling to Sydney I saw a great example of getting support for entrepreneurs and helping them get started in an organisation called Fishburners. I came back to Brisbane and looked for Fishburners, and other similar organisations and they didn’t exist, so that was the start of it. I looked at doing it commercially as a full profit business, but to be honest it’s not a big business. So I decided to launch the business, but with a bit more philanthropy involved.

After that, did you decide to invest in the gaming space, or did you invest before River City Labs?

The games were after River City Labs. The games side, with respect to Right Pedal Studios, is a different form of investment. It’s full profit, an accelerator fund. We take advanced prototypes and we launch them into the market through funding, mentoring and production resources, in a reasonably fast way. It’s definitely different.

How many games have you released so far through Right Pedal Studios?

We just released the first game in late March. The game is called Dragon Season. It’s an endless runner game, which is currently available on the Australian Google Play Store. Hopefully in a few weeks it will be available globally on Google Play and the Apple Store. It’s been discovered by a number of people in China, even though we only released it to the Australian Android market, and it’s found its way to about thirty-four thousand installations. That was really very surprising. It wasn’t what we’d planned, but we’re now pursuing some Chinese producers, which is quite interesting.

We also have one game out as a closed beta. It is due to come out as a world-wide release in the next few weeks. There are currently three others being worked on and we’re talking to another four teams about coming in.

Have you seen any major shifts in the startup scene in Brisbane since you started River City Labs?

Since River City Labs opened its doors last year (2012), there’s been a gradual shift. I’m actually a little disappointed with the startup scene in Brisbane. I spent some time in San Francisco and I travel to Sydney four times a month on average, so when I see the startup scene in Sydney compared to Fortitude Valley, it’s completely stark.

It’s been a slow growth. We were half full six weeks in, and we were half full in November last year; we’re still at about 60-65% now.

What do you think the Brisbane scene needs?

It needs a lot more people to take it seriously; it actually needs signals from Government. There has been market failure with regards to tech startup in Brisbane. There are some really good businesses here, but when you look at the level of activity elsewhere you can see that we’re behind the eight ball. It needs serious local and state government help and support and if they want to do that, they have to be willing to spend the money. It’s embarrassing when Auckland, New Zealand, have a higher angel funding rate than anywhere in Australia. That is because of direct government intervention.

How are places like NZ ahead?

In areas like matching investment funds, they invest in meetings with successful and respected entrepreneurs from the US to educate local angel groups. This was directly linked to the absolute increase in startup activity.

I’m just going to read you some statistics:

  • The number of startup incubators in the US is 1400, compared to 30 in Australia
  • The number of angel investors in Australia is 500, compared to 300,000 in the US
  • We do approximately 50 Angel deals per year, compared to 63,000 a year done in the US
  • There are eight early stage VC funds in Australia; there are 420 in the US

Do you think angel Investors lack direction, or does it take too long to get funding in Australia / people are more hesitant?

Probably all of the above, to be honest. Had Australia given birth to Facebook or Google or something along those lines, it would be a different story. But if we don’t take the initiative, we’ll never make these advances. For example, in Brisbane there are three coworking spaces/incubators – in Auckland there are six.

In the same year, Auckland recorded 45 Angel Investments per annum, while Brisbane had two. Auckland’s 40 venture capital investments trumped Brisbane’s 30, and the whole of Australia was only marginally higher at 72.

Are Brisbane startups are having to leave and go to Sydney to try to talk to Angel investors?

I am doing some work with the state government to try to prevent this. At some point in time, we have to actually understand that if this something we want to do, it’s going to cost to play. We are that far behind.

It’s a tragedy. There are a lot of issues that we’ve got to work through. But first we have to want to fix it, and put in the extra miles.

Where should they be putting their energy: sales channel or online marketing?

It depends on the type of business. There are a lot of businesses that are hesitant to spend money on sales and marketing yet still expect to gain the interest of investors. You need to do put in the effort and prove to investors that your business is a worthwhile prospect.

What turns you off a startup?

People or groups that generate an idea in the mobile tech sector, who don’t have the skills or knowledge to develop it, and expect investors to spend their money on a team to build their product. I believe in doing majority of the work yourself, and if you don’t have the knowledge or experience in the area of your idea, that you should take the time to learn and not just rely on others to do all the heavy lifting for you.

What makes you decide that you want to invest in a startup?

Teams. A good team can have a bad idea to start with, but will realise it’s a bad idea and change it. If the idea requires any creative and technical work build it, then you need a strong technical team. A lot of others will outsource, but it isn’t as appealing for investors. As for the business, the idea has got to be something that makes a splash. Technology has such great potential to have a huge impact, and it just takes the right idea to ;p the world on its head.

Are you going to Sydney to scout for new startups or angel investors?

Not really scouting, I already have 11 investments – I had 12 – which is too many. I would love to get back down to maybe seven or eight. Right Pedal Studios and River City Labs take up a fair bit of my time. Really what I’d like to do is less, and be able to spend more time with my 11-week-old daughter to be quite honest.

How do you relax?

I don’t at the moment. My hobbies are fishing and flying, of which I get to do precious little; and I’m sure that now with a young girl I’ll probably get to do even less. It’s surprising what can take up time in your day.

About our contributor // Sarina Quinlan is a marketing consultant and the curator of The Fetch in Brisbane. Follow her on Twitter via @digitalsarina.

Hello Sarina – our new Brisbane curator — July 16, 2013

Hello Sarina – our new Brisbane curator


The unique thing about Brisbane is its sense of community. People are connected and driving forward together, it’s amazing to watch and be a part of.

We’re heating things up in Brisbane again with an amazing new curator in startup, marketing, digital and music-lover Sarina Quinlan. We’re also welcoming Eloise Skella and Kelly Newbery to our City Ambassador crew.

Here’s our introductory welcome interview with Sarina:

What things excite you about our community right now?

It’s alive! The people, the ideas, the community. It’s a supportive, fun environment and I enjoy it immensely.

Why did you want to get involved with ‘fetching’ happenings for The Fetch?

Helping a scene I have a strong affiliation with, and connecting with like minded people, is my motivation for ‘fetching’.

How did you end up where you are today?

I started a music fanzine at 17 which quickly turned into a webzine in 2000 called From there, I worked in music PR and eventually a full-time marketing position at a music venue in Ascot, UK. My move into digital was with IDG Global Solutions in 2006, running webcasts for companies including Nokia and Fujitsu-Siemens. Leading the development of online communities across Europe for HP in early 2007, was an amazing experience. It was the same time Facebook was quietly becoming the monster it is today.

A digital agency, a usability testing role, product development and marketing projects, including a role at an iPad app development platform startup, bring me to May this year. On 12 May 2013, I launched my freelance career under Marketing Digital, and my work keeps getting more exciting, I feel very lucky.

What makes you tick? What makes you ick?

Personal Tick (like a twitch? A good one): The Flatliners, Skindred, PJ Harvey, Therapy?, The Human Abstract too many artists to list. Taking my ex-racehorse Syrian out jumping and trailing, and not to forget my cat Lizard. Work tick: Working with my awesome clients and startups I have had the pleasure of meeting. Other things that make me ick… horse racing, and any other form of animal cruelty. Ick: Vegemite and Marmite. They both ick.

What events can we find you at?

Mobile Monday Brisbane, Brisbane UX group events, Brisbane Web Design group events, Silicone Beach and Brisbane SEO group, and the Lamb of God/Meshuggah gig in September.

What’s your favourite thing about your city?

It’s a cliche but I have to say the weather. When you’ve spent years with freezing toes in English offices, you never take the sun for granted.

Where can we find you in BNE?

Visiting River City Labs, at my home office, and probably shoving a voice recording machine in the direction of inspirational people at least once a week.

Connect with our new BNE fetcher via @digitalsarina, @thefetchBNE, LinkedIn and

Live in Brisbane, Australia? Sign up to our weekly event-packed email digests now!

Curator Year In Review 2012: Beck in Brisbane — December 9, 2012

Curator Year In Review 2012: Beck in Brisbane

As the end of 2012 approaches, we thought it’d be nice to have an update from our beloved city curators.  This time Rebekah Waite in Brisbane highlights some of her most appreciated events, spaces and top moments of 2012.


Picture by @saboskirt

Best event for meeting people?

The crowd at Cafe Scientifique, hosted by as part of National Science Week, was my pick for meeting people in 2012. Hardly your typical professional event, the 200 or so people clasping cocktails at the Queensland Museum were all there to learn something new. Attracting scientists from every conceivable background, the forum was ripe with potential collaborators and professionals more than ready to find a new challenge to apply their skills to.

Best event for content shared and learnings?

The ArtWrite series, hosted by QUT Art Museum and Eyeline magazine was a generous forum for emerging practitioners. Full of media professionals this monthly event was a perfect opportunity to ask all those questions everyone has always assumed you know the answers to. It was also a rare opportunity to take advantage of decades of experience (wins and loses) to be found in the panellists. I’d be keeping an eye on what’s happening in the 2013 calendar.

Personal event stye preference (breakfast/conference/workshop/etc/etc)?

As a morning person (yes, they do exist), I love a good breakfast event. Best way to get a head start on the day!

Favourite source of local community news?

For a glimpse into the nerd side, Stuff and Things (locally produced podcast) is about as good as it gets. For your creative curiousities, The Native Press is a one stop shop. But I have to say, nothing beats a carefully curated Facebook feed (this Brisbane list by Amy Grey is a pretty great start).

Favourite coworking space?

The Edge* (*yes, I am more than a little biased here, but, come on, the city views alone are to die for!).

Favourite cafe with wifi?

Hands down Lady Marmalade in Stones Corner, where the haloumi slices are thicker than the bread and the wifi is free. Only challenge here is to concentrate on the task at hand with some much good food to be had…

What’s been a personal highlight and not so high moment of the year?

It’s been fantastic to have such varied and challenging things to look forward to in my calendar throughout the whole year, from starting a Masters and getting to know The Fetch community, through to the wonders of my day job (I’m still trying to understand how someone considers it ‘work’ to be involved with mad scientist tea parties and zombie apocalypses). The downside of all of that? I didn’t quite get as much sleep as I had become accustom to!

What have you enjoyed about being involved with The Fetch in 2012?

It’s been a privilege getting to know more of the good folks in Brisbane, from the ambassador team (and our delicious fortnightly catch-ups), to the curious minds who attend events throughout town and the amazing, dedicated people who run them.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

More adventures.

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