Brisbane start-up’s growth spurred on by grant win

Start-up spur: has taken out the $50,000 Little Giant Startup Grant following a virtual pitch night last week at which five finalists got to pitch their business idea to a panel of expert judges. The Brisbane-based spur: won the grant on the back of their digital well-being resource called Toucan. They are the inaugural winners of prize – started by law firm Bolter, specialists in providing legal advice for start-ups – that aims to highlight the country’s entrepreneurial spirit and to find Australia’s next unicorn start-up.

Head of Bolter, Ben Gouldson, said that the Grant attracted entrants from around the country from a range of sectors including agriculture, health, technology, finance, retail and social enterprise.

“The diversity of applicants really emphasised how special the start-up eco-system is in Australia and how robust our entrepreneurs can be – particularly when faced with a rapidly changing world thanks to COVID,” Gouldson said. “It is world events like the pandemic that can inspire people to reprioritise their goals and perhaps go after that business dream they may have been contemplating for years.”

Gouldson praised spur: for the passion they displayed and for their drive to make a difference in the mental health space.

“What’s unique about spur:, and it’s product Toucan, is that it has approached a really critical issue in Australia with a clever and thoughtful solution,” Gouldson said. “Founders Lee Crockford and William Smith-Stubbs have combined their many years of experience in mental health space to develop a service that will ultimately have a great national effect on Aussie workplaces.

“The individualistic approach to mental health is certainly unique on a national scale and I hope this $50,000 boost will help Spur: take its next steps with Toucan,” Gouldson added. “We congratulate the spur: team on this major win for their business and we can’t wait to see where this $50,000 boost takes them.”

The start-up’s co-founders said that they were “thrilled” with the outcome and that the grant would be instrumental in helping them grow their business.

“We’re extremely proud to have won the first Little Giant Startup Grant, this will make such a significant difference to our business,” Smith-Stubbs said. “After establishing our mental health non-profit spur:org in 2011, and launching commercial arm spur: in 2017, we saw Toucan as an opportunity to combine our expertise in mental health and innovative design.

“Toucan is a real time, digital wellbeing coach which draws on established and proprietary global database of mental health and demographic data to support individual health and organisational success,” co-founder Smith-Subbs added.

“Data from PwC suggests that poor mental health costs Australian businesses $10.9 billion annually and there is little way to know if businesses are investing funds in the right places for wellbeing,” fellow co-founder, Lee Crockford, said.

“With Toucan, employers can measure demonstrably improve employee wellbeing while safeguarding privacy and handling crises. This means more effective wellbeing budgets and improved health and productivity,” Crockford added. “It’s exciting to think of what we will now be able to do with this funding and we can’t wait to take the next steps with Toucan.”

Gouldson highlighted the achievements of the other four finalists, stressing that they made the judges’ decision difficult.

“It was an extremely tough decision for the judging panel to whittle down these five exceptional businesses to one final winner. Each business offers something of value and the breadth of ideas was inspiring,” Gouldson said. “Congratulations to Onni, AgKonect, Waste Not, and Cleard Life – we will be following their progress with keen interest and wish each of them the very best for the next stage of their start-up journey.”