Ipswich chosen for launch of new start-up program 

Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones and Chris Mather from HoloSpace.

Ipswich-based start-up Holospace – a world leader in hologram technology – has been lauded by Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones during a special event at Fire Station 101.

Owned by 25-year-old Chris Mather, HoloSpace combines the power of 3D visuals with interactive technology to engage audiences and deliver key messages for clients.

Holospace, which operates in the education, entertainment and advertising space, moved its headquarters from New Zealand to Ipswich under the government’s Hot DesQ program.

Mr Mather said the experience of joining the Ipswich start-up ecosystem convinced him to stay permanently.

“It was incredible to see such an active ecosystem, with a huge number of attendees to meet-up groups, hackathons and conferences,” he said.

“We are entering a rapid-growth stage, bringing on five full-time and part-time employees, and are focused on increasing global distribution of our HoloSpace product range for export from Australia to the United States, Japan and Singapore.”

Mr Mather said Holospace creates a transparent 3D image and uses reflection to make the image look like it is floating.

“We’re currently moving towards the next generation of holograms that are more open and have more wow factor,” he said.

“It’s like virtual reality without the goggles. It allows us to interact with a large group of people all at the same time.”

Mr Mather and HoloSpace graphic designer Gabi De Groen moved to Ipswich after receiving funding from Advance Queensland’s Hot DesQ program in September last year.

The grant allowed them to set up shop anywhere in the state, and Ipswich was the perfect fit.

“We got to pick what co-working space we wanted to join and I saw a really unique opportunity with Fire Station 101 providing access to the city’s government, business and community leaders,” Mr Mather said.

“We both spend about 60 hours a week at Fire Station and we also mentor Ipswich businesses and assist them with everything from websites and branding to SEO development.”

Minister Jones met Mr Mather and Fire Station 101’s Innovation Hub Community Manager Anne-Marie Walton and checked out firsthand how Holospace works.

Ms Jones participated in a demonstration of full-body skeleton motion-tracking technology. She waved her hand, lifted her leg, clapped hands, did a star jump and pretended to throw an object.

She also tried out Work Crack, using VR to “knock tin cans off a fence”. This technology has been installed at Dreamworld’s corroboree wildlife park.

Ms Jones said the work of Holospace would ensure Ipswich was on the global map.

“This is taking our technology all the way from Ipswich to Hollywood and New York,” she said.

Support for regional tech entrepreneurs

The minister also announced a new program to support Queensland’s regional tech entrepreneurs.

Advance Queensland’s Start-up Onramp Regional Program will give innovators across the state the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and connections they need to grow their tech start-ups.

“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to support this initiative which aims to increase the rate of start-up companies in regional Queensland scaling up to the next stage of growth,” she said.

“Our regions are an important wellspring of tech innovation and ingenuity and we want to help showcase that to the world,” said Minister Jones.

Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Steve Baxter noted the importance of creating more globally viable tech businesses.

“As I travel around Queensland, I’m seeing some incredible entrepreneurial talent, and the Start-up Onramp program will provide skills and importantly, the connections that will help entrepreneurs understand what it means to go global from day one,” he said.

The Start-up Onramp Regional Queensland Program, which will be made available to start-ups across the state over the next three years, is one of a variety of programs available to support regional tech entrepreneurs.

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