3 June 2021

Meet our members // The Melt Accelerator team

Holly Stringer

Since launching in December 2019 The Melt Accelerator has attracted headlines around the nation as Australia’s first Industrial Prototyping Lab and Innovation Accelerator powering the creation of the world’s best hardware products.

With a cohort of 5 businesses and continued investment, this team are unstoppable!  We caught up with the Melt Accelerator’s superstar CMO Lauren Devine to find out what this clever team are up to!

  1. Tell us a little about the Melt.

The Melt is an industrial prototyping lab and innovation accelerator, powering the creation, commercialisation and scaling of Australia’s leading product innovations. We provide the experience, processes, network and funding required to realise and accelerate new products whilst minimising the risk and financial outlay often associated with product development.

  1. What was your mission at the outset?

Over the years we have seen many product and hardware innovations fail that otherwise could have been a successful venture given the right focus, execution strategy and the benefit of an experienced team. Our mission was to change that outcome so that innovation can succeed or fail on it’s fundamental merits, not just coincidence.

And what exactly is it that the team provide?

We are able to service both Startups and large corporates by providing the environment and process framework to incubate hardware innovation and support the stakeholders. Firstly, we help people analyse and identify the critical factors that need to be resolved (“proven”) for their innovation to succeed. Then we assist in formulating and executing the strategy to achieve their innovation goals. This can include a mixture of technical, commercial, investment and governance acumen as well as the resources required to carry out the venture.

  1. Tell us a little about the team behind The Melt

The Melt is made up of a diverse team of experienced business and innovation professionals, many of whom have been CEOs and founders of successful businesses themselves. We have come together to help others learn from our long experience and to be a contributing factor to the success achieved by our clients and partners.

Entrepreneurs and SME’s the opportunity to develop the capabilities required to build hardware businesses and succeed in international markets.

  1. Founder Trent Bagnall and Malcolm Turnbull launch The Melt at Dashworks Makespace in Warners Bay

     

  2. What is unique about your business offering?

There are few investors who can minimise the technical and execution risks associated with hardware innovation projects. There are also very few professional engineers who can provide the product management, commercialisation and governance required to realise a return on investment. The Melt’s offering covers both of these necessary services for the complete lifecycle of the innovation venture.

The Melt’s unique and diverse offering provides:

  • Entrepreneurs and SME’s the opportunity to develop the capabilities required to build hardware businesses and succeed in international markets.
  • Large companies with the ability to liberate internally ‘trapped’ hardware projects and IP to save time and money, mitigate risk, improve operations and get new products into the market quicker.
  • Students with the ability to gain valuable real-world experience working alongside startups and corporates on exciting and valuable projects with the aim of gaining employment and keeping talent local.

What is the biggest challenge you see with start-ups and entrepreneurs building commercial products?

The biggest challenge is understanding and managing risk. Hardware innovation, due to its complex nature, is very unforgiving of mistakes. The product development strategy needs to be focused on risk identification and mitigation rather than the usual “Design it Build it” waterfall. Unlike purely software projects, hardware innovation has limited opportunity to fail and pivot so the iterative sequence needs to be well planned and orchestrated.  Also, we see many Startups who build a great product who assume this equates to a great business. Of course, Startups need to build great hardware products however they also need to ensure that the business model is sound, sustainable and successful – this is where The Melt can help.

How are you finding being a member of the Makespace community?

Makespace provides so many opportunities for connection and collaboration. The diversity of businesses here means that there is generally one degree of separation between what you need and having that need met by someone’s network.   Also having the innovation lab housed within the building creates a lot of efficiency and it’s inspiring to see products come to life at speed.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling to get a prototype to market?

Stop struggling.  Come in and talk to our experienced product managers who have brought a complex product to the market. We can help you set up a plan to take control of your destination.

Where do you see the Melt headed in the next 5 years (with start-up and corporate businesses in mind)

We plan to scale our reach with a network of like-minded people, increased capabilities and capacity to be able to further accelerate hardware innovation and stimulate future employment opportunities for the Hunter region and beyond.  We intend and are working towards creating impact on a global scale. 

How can people apply to the Melt Accelerator program?

Easy. Check out our website and apply at. Unlike traditional accelerators with cyclic cohorts, our program is always open.  A great place to start is to visit our website www.themelt.io and book in a strategy discussion or discovery workshop to see how we can help.

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The Melt industrial prototyping lab and innovation accelerator are set to power the creation of the world’s best products and it all started right here at Dashworks Makespace. Read more about The Melt here

Join our vibrant and supportive community to build and commercialise your product. Access industry-grade prototyping equipment, software and programs to accelerate your success – book your free 5-day trial here.

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