Twelve months on, UTS Hatchery fledglings take flight

Guy Abelsohn (left) with MyInterview co-founder Ben Gillman, picture supplied

Guy Abelsohn (left) with MyInterview co-founder Ben Gillman, picture supplied

In summary: 
  • Now entering its second year, the UTS Hatchery pre-Incubator has already seen some notable achievements among its graduates
  • One is co-founder of a video interview platform that aims to screen candidates in less than 90 seconds while another is forecasting $3 million in revenue this year in wine storage products

A lot of store is being put in young entrepreneurs as government and pundits push Australia's prospects for an "ideas boom". 

Any hunt for case studies to support these hopes should include the UTS Hatchery – now beginning its second year – which is building the muscles of young entrepreneurs.     

Just ask Guy Abelsohn, co-founder of MyInterview.com. "I never wanted to get a normal corporate 9-5 job. It's never interested me. I want to be on the ground building the business up and trying to solve a problem."

The Hatchery is an extra-curricula program open to all UTS students interested in entrepreneurialism. Over 10 weeks students learn skills such as problem solving, design thinking and coding.

"The main thing I learnt is how to solve a problem. I just finished a double degree, and from an academic point of view the way to solve a problem is completely different to Hatchery," says Abelsohn.

Abelsohn will officially graduate from a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Science in IT next month. He was in the first group of Hatchery students, which graduated at the end of Semester 1 2015.

He is currently working full time on MyInterview, a video interview platform that aims to screen candidates in less than 90 seconds. It's sold as an alternative to the time consuming process of sifting through resumes, and a way to match the right candidate with the right job.

"Hatchery looks at a problem area, so for example we look at recruitment in my company. [At uni] what you might do is look at recruitment, think of a problem, solve it and develop a solution.

"What Hatchery teaches you to do is take that problem, speak to a couple of hundred users who have this issue and then slowly and surely you will find the solution."

Matthew Childs, picture by Alex Green Matthew Childs, picture by Alex Green

Matthew Childs also found the Hatchery useful for his own business. Childs is the founder of WineStash, a business that sells wine racks and wine storage systems.

"I had WineStash running in the background [when I started the Hatchery]. When we did the Hatchery we started a mock business as a group and we learnt a whole bunch of skills that we applied to that mock business. And I've applied those skills to WineStash."

WineStash has been running for two years now, with Childs getting serious about it in the last 12 months. It's been a challenge for the Business/Civil Engineering student to juggle university and the business, but he is determined to finish his degree.

"Last semester I dropped down to part time uni. I'll probably be doing the same this semester as I'm giving WineStash my priority. I do plan on finishing my degree, but I'm enjoying focusing on the business at the moment."

But it's not without its perks – WineStash is forecasting $3 million in revenue this year.

"We'll probably end up exceeding [$3 million]. We're already turning over a lot of sales almost everyday and every week so it's a lot to keep up with at the moment."

With Hatchery 2016 just kicking off, Abelsohn said the best advice for new students is to "network and speak to people."

"The major thing besides all the content you learn and the experience is that you meet really fantastic people. I have a whole range of lifelong friends from the program."

Childs encourages new Hatchery students to be confident.

"Don't be shy in holding ideas back, just throw it up on the wall even if they seem stupid, even if they seem crazy- that's where the best ideas come from."

 Expressions of interest for Hatchery Semester 2 are now open