Why New Zealand hologram startup Point Zero is setting up shop in Queensland with $100,000 in funding

New Zealand hologram startup Point Zero is now basing its operations out of the Brisbane and Ipswich areas after being enticed across the ditch with $100,000 in funding from the Advance Queensland Hot Desq program.

Established by the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative, the $8 million Hot Desq program offers startup founders from around the globe the chance to relocate to Queensland for at least six months, offering free desk space in co-working hubs across the state and funding of up to $100,000 in an effort to attract international startup talent.

It’s an offering that enticed Point Zero from Wellington to Queensland’s sunny shores, and its co-founder Chris Mather hopes the program will support his startup to further develop its interactive holographic technology for use in sectors like education, advertising and health services.

Hot Desq has already lured back members of Silicon Valley’s Aussie tech mafia like Kate Kendall of CloudPeeps and Pixc’s Holly Cardew, as well as US startup TimeLooper. Point Zero now joins this list of founders making the move Down Under as one of the 29 startups invited to participate in the second round of the Hot Desq program.

Point Zero will base its Australian office out of the Ipswich-based Firestation 101 building, and has received $100,000 in funding from Advance Queensland on the condition that the startup mentors two Australian startups and “contributes to the ecosystem” by running meet-up groups, hosting presentations and engaging with the local startup community.  

Mather says this funding will now be used to expand its Australian team, bring over manufacturing equipment and protoype machines, and establish a dedicated showroom in Brisbane startup hub The Precinct to demonstrate its products.

“I definitely think Australia is a place where we are staying — the most important thing for our business is to set up showrooms so people can experience this new technology and the practical way it can be used in business,” he says.

Point Zero describes its ‘HoloSpace’ technology, which combines 3D visualisation with interactive technology, as “a world first”, and will now be expanding its current Australian team of three by hiring 3D modellers, animators, programmers and industrial designers, Mather says.

While the startup will still keep its team of seven in Wellington, Mather says establishing a presence in Brisbane was “the natural next step” for the company.

Founded in 2012, Point Zero launched its holographic offerings two years ago and has been doubling its revenue year-on-year since then, according to Mather, who sees Brisbane as “a testing ground” for the company’s potential global expansion.   

“We are on the verge of huge holographic innovation,” Mather says, adding that the company has already showcased the myriad of potential uses for its product after being engaged by New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries to trial a prototype hologram at Auckland International Airport.

Mather says the opportunity came in August this year and was an “incredible” chance to use Point Zero’s hologram technology to show travellers the potential dangers of biosecurity hazards crossing the border.

Mather hopes there will be similar opportunities to showcase this new tech in Australia, a country he believes has the potential to “become a leading distributer of holographic display technologies around the world”.

“I think it’s going to be one of those industries that explodes. It is starting to gain a lot of traction across the world, especially in Asian countries, and Australia is already close to those markets,” he says. 

Mather says the startup is now working on a Minority Report-style offering that allows up to 10 users to touch, swipe and spin holograms with their hands, and has his sights set on marketing his products in Australia’s conference and advertising markets.

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