Kigu.me (2012 - current)
After seeing the now infamous animal kigurumi in Japan on a ski trip, we set up an import company and did gorilla marketing at university's across Melbourne. We received national media attention and the fad quickly exploded and at its height we sold upwards of $300,000 a month. The company had made 2.5M in sales as of July 2015.
We made a series of mistakes at the height of the fad: attempting to diversify into kids, producing licensed goods, and unsuccessfully entering the US market, which ate a lot of the profit with little return.
I learned a tonne about scaling business processes, international trade and shipping, and we were able to delight thousands of customers, and donate to over 50 different charities.
Trott.in (2014 - current)
Travel blog meets twitter - a passion project designed to make it easier to keep in touch with friends and document your travels. Experiementing with artificial limitations, Trott.in limits you to 250 characters and a single photo for each day of your trip. This makes your trip diary easier to keep updated, and digestable for friends and family.
There's some interesting commercialisation options we're playing with, but it's a famously hard market.
This was a very interesting dive into street fashion, rather than just retail operations. We had some great initial success and it was a thrill catching strangers wearing Bustin.co product out, but lack of founder time and motivation saw the business lose momentum and eventually stall.
Monash Photos (2002 - 2004)
Pre-facebook, Monash Photos was a free web gallery where students can view and contribute images from Monash University related events and activities during the year.
At it's height students were uploading several thousand images a week, and it was ranked higher on popular search engines than the University website itself -- this lead to stern conversations with the University and shuttering of most of the social aspects.
As Facebook won the social network battle and took market share, we replaced the site with a stock default Gallery3 theme and mothballed it.
Alpha Loop (2008 - 2009)
My first foray into the London startup scene, we built a low cost alternative to a Bloomberg terminal which focussed on the compliance side of information sharing.
We had exciting interest from major players including Goldman Saachs, but a combination of burn out, failure to get the product in front of users, and ultimately a failure to agree on a cap-table lead to a spectacular collapse.
It was an exciting journey and I learned a lot about the finance sector, regulation, and dealing with co-founders.
Virtual Explorer (2001 - current)
A father and son operation, I built a scientific publishing platform designed to make it incredibly easy for scientists to self-publish.
We invented something that closely resembles what the web now calls Markdown, which compiled into XML and then used the Docbook stylesheets to create attractive HTML and PDFs. The process involved dozens of different stacks, diving deep into XML, XSL and XSL-FO, LaTeX, and the world of academia.
Lack of time prevented the concept from going further, but many of the ideas and technologies were adopted by other journals half a decade later.