On Wednesday the 10th of October, the BlueChilli team in Melbourne held their first event at their new WeWork location!

The theme for the night was “What I wish I knew…” and Megan Flamer, Program Director of Xcelerate spoke to seasoned startup founders about their big lessons.

On the panel sharing advice and failures:

Below you’ll find the live streamed video of the event, we’ve summarised their startup stories, some of the best answers from the night and listed some questions you can see answered in the video. Watch the live stream here:

What’s your startup story?

John: We humanise rosters. We work with companies that have complex labour requirements. We take into account fatigue planning and fairness so rosters aren’t the same every time. Our twist is that we let staff have a say about which shifts they’d like – they can input preferences. We believe it creates a more engaged workforce, they’re happier to work and there’s have less turnover. We think that scheduling people based on cost is dead. We think you need to think about your people more.

Jess: I come from a career in landscape architecture and urban design, which means no credentials to run a tech startup! I spent 20 years working in the property sector as a consultant and in government helping create cities that people love and feel connected to. What I liked the most was thinking about the personality of a street e.g the traditional data we get for Smith St and Chapel St would be quite similar (buildings are the same age, people who live there earna similar wage), but the personalities of those streets are very different.

Alan: I started a startup, BugHerd in 2011 and went through StartMate and 500 Startups. We do bug tracking for websites. And now I’m starting something new, a project Splitrock Studio.

How you got into a startup in the first place?

Jess: When we got accepted into the SheStarts accelerator program, I didn’t know what a startup was. My co-founder applied. And we had applied for a few things.  We wanted to solve our industry’s obsession with design and wanted to bring in collaborative city making into the process. We’d been trying to do it with consultants but it wasn’t working as it wasn’t scalable. We wanted to scale further than how many staff we could hire and we knew tech would be a way to do that. We couldn’t bring in technical people into help us as we didn’t speak the same language. During the first day of the bootcamp, I called my cofounder and told her what a startup was – a business that you build to scale.

As you’ve been a founder before, what are you bringing the second time around?

Alan: The main thing I use now that I didn’t understand then was the importance of a strong vision. I’m taking a lot longer to get my story out, to describe it to people rather than ‘we’re a bug tracker’ and use a strategy of ‘build it and they will come’ without customer research.

More questions answered in the video:

  • Have you ever paid for something that you probably shouldn’t have?
  • How do you develop that confidence to know, should I outsource this or not?
  • How do you stay connected to a community?
  • How do you persevere asking people to buy the thing until you give up?
  • What gets you up in the morning and keeps you going?
  • In the situation that you’re desperate to go out and get revenue or go broke, what did you do
  • Thoughts on being an only founder vs a co-founder?
  • Where has something not gone very well and you’ve learned from it?
  • How can an early stage startup best go about understanding its legal risks and liabilities? Particularly for entirely new startup ideas.
  • People always ask what’s your go-to market strategy – should you engage a professional to set this up?
  • After working on your idea, when do you know you have a thing?

In regards to work life balance, what is your experience and advice on managing that?

  • Can you quit your job too soon. When is the right time to go all in?


Applications for the Stockland Accelerator are open until the Monday the 22nd of October. Answers were edited for ease of reading. 

If your question wasn’t answered above, check out the FAQs page for more information and if you still have burning questions, send them to us at hello@bluechilli.com

Filed under:   event   founders   startup   startup advice