Tuesday, 11 September 2018 22:03

Equal Reality shortlisted for Optus future makers program

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New South Wales virtual reality technology company Equal Reality has been shortlisted, along with six other entrants, in the the Optus Future Makers program for budding entrepreneurs.

Equal Reality joins What’s Right – Thrive, Commsync, vPlay ImmCalc, Xceptional and Kynd as the seven finalists vying for $300,000 in grants funding as part of the program for budding entepreneurs.

As well as the cash prize, finalists will get to participate in a four-month accelerator program to hone their skills through workshops and mentoring that focus on technology, customer experience, marketing strategies, project planning, financial modelling – and how to create a sustainable and successful social enterprise.

Equal Reality founder and chief executive Annie Harper has been an artist all her life, and has more than 10 years professional experience creating computer graphic art for the Discovery Channel, Architecture, Military and Negotiation training and building interactive art projects, including Burning Man’s famous “Embrace”.

Harper taught herself to program the hard way, and become a software engineer for Intel RealSense lab building Brain-Computer Interface prototypes. Being a believer in social justice, Harper wanted to use her skills with machine-to-mind communication to tackle some of society’s tougher challenges – and later met her co-founder and chief technology officer, Brennan Hatton.

With a background in finance and law, Brennan has been selling technology solutions for the largest tech companies all over the world, including working as an investment banker on Wall Street, in a top-tier law firm in Malaysia, and in sales at IBM.

And Brennan’s international career took him to Bloomberg in London, where he helped clients with financial analytics and data, and Sydney where he had a key account management role for international investment banks.

In early 2017, Harper and Brennan founded Equal Reality, to improve inclusion and released the world’s first Diversity and Inclusion Training in Virtual Reality.

And they say the application become the most popular virtual reality application in business and education on Viveport (VR App Store).

Currently, Equal Reality is preparing to enter the next stage of business and is considering opportunities to form an exclusive partnership with the fastest moving and most cutting edge innovation teams, with diversity and inclusion as a priority on their agenda, and with others who want to use Virtual Reality for “improving diversity and inclusion through empathy”.

The finalists in the Optus Future Makers program will have the opportunity to pitch for funding before a panel of expert judges in October comprising some of Australia’s most prominent names across technology, innovation, and social change.

The Optus Future Makers program supports social entrepreneurs to develop innovative tech solutions that help solve social issues for disadvantaged and vulnerable people so they can have a better future – and John Paitaridis, managing director, Optus Business, says, “It’s exciting to see this year’s finalists leverage technology advancements to help those who are most needy in our communities.

“I am proud of our commitment to supporting innovation and social entrepreneurship, both through funding and access to our expert resources. Collaboration between established organisations and start-ups is critical to us harnessing innovation in Australia, and using innovation for social good is even more important.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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