There is nothing ordinary about Queensland entrepreneurs Rob Joseph and Brodie Robinson.
Hailing from South East Queensland, they are the brainchild of Anti Ordinary, an innovative company leading the race in action sports brain protection.
As an action sports enthusiast, Rob practically grew up in a helmet, understanding the importance of protecting his most valuable asset – his brain.
However, while on his first ski trip, he noticed hordes of helmet-free people prioritising their comfort and experience, over safety on the slopes… and so began his journey of innovation.
Over the past four years, Anti Ordinary CEO Rob Joseph, CTO Brodie Robinson and CMO Liam Norris have put their heads together to design and develop a new generation of brain protection.
Their patented A1 product is the world’s first brain protection device that fits, feels and looks like a beanie, while also significantly exceeding all international helmet safety standards.
Initially targeted at the snowsports market, the versatility of their innovative design has the potential to revolutionise the action sports safety industry and lower accidental injury of people across the globe.
We caught up with Rob to discuss how their recent grant from Round 7 of the Ignite Ideas Fund will help take Anti Ordinary to extraordinary success.
What inspired you to start your business?
During my first ski trip with Brodie, we experienced something new – people making the choice to take helmets off, prioritising their comfort and experience over safety.
Despite wearing a helmet all through my youth, I made the decision to take mine off and suffered the consequences of a crash.
This experience sparked our thinking and we decided to build something that would eliminate the choice for snowboarders and skiers to risk their life by taking their helmet off and ultimately change the way people view helmets in all sports.
What milestones have been reached?
We’ve raised external capital as well as raised more than $220k in a Kickstarter program and we made it to the finals in Copenhagen for the Creative Business World Cup.
In 2018 we won ‘Australia’s Emerging Creative Startup’, filed two international patents, created a new-to-world product, and soon will reach full certification and enter mass production of our product for the first time!
What achievements are you most proud of to date?
Our proudest achievement is our success with the Kickstarter program which saw us take the concept we have worked on for years to the masses. This made waves around the world which led to us securing more than 1100 pre-orders, which is exciting. This program has also been invaluable in bringing us closer to an incredible group of people that have supported us since the campaign.
What are your business goals over the next 12-24 months?
In the next 12-24 months, we plan to finalise our first mass production run, exceed international certifications, enter the market, and have athletes in our helmets, on podiums, in some of the world’s biggest competitions including the Olympics!
How will you use your Ignite Ideas funding?
The grant received from the Ignite Ideas Fund will allow us to accelerate growth as a company.
It will enable us to hire key roles that will add depth and experience to the founding team. These employees will deal with customers directly, assist in making sales and ultimately boost the push of our product around the world.
This support will help our entry to market, ensuring it goes from strength to strength, allowing us to scale and nurturing us as we lead the industry in sports brain protection.
Why would you recommend applying for Advance Queensland programs such as the Ignite Ideas Fund?
Advance Queensland has so many considered and significant programs that are designed to help, establish and grow new enterprise within Queensland. In this instance, the Ignite Ideas Fund will allow us to grow our solid base much faster than without it.
What other support have you received from Advance Queensland or the Queensland Government?
From the inception of our business, Advance Queensland has been behind many of the initiatives and programs, as well as supporting many others that have assisted the ecosystem at large.
We consider ourselves lucky to be starting and growing our company in Queensland – and this is partly due to the positive outlook and contribution the government has on starting and growing companies here at home.
Why is it important to support Queensland businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs?
The Co-Founders at Anti Ordinary are from third generation family business owners in South East Queensland. Fostering business, innovation and entrepreneurship across the state ensures that we create, harness and ultimately benefit from home-grown hard work and ingenuity now and into the future. It allows us to thrive in industries that have previously not even been considered in Australia.
What’s your advice for other entrepreneurs and businesses starting out on their innovation journey?
The best thing is to get out and start. Queensland has no shortage of events, programs and contact points that you can attend to gain knowledge, and benefit from the experience of people who have done it all before, who are more than eager to share their perspective.