Meet founder: Rodrigo (Rod) Quezada
Business: Particular Createch Studio
In this case study series, we meet StartSpace members, learn the story of their business journey so far, and find out what they have gained from being part of StartSpace.
When Rod Quezada arrived in Australia from Chile with his partner Carolina in March 2020, the pandemic had just hit and, while he had put in a lot of groundwork developing his skillset, he hadn’t yet formed a business idea. But a keen eye for opportunity, and the space, connections and learning he got through StartSpace soon saw him develop the idea that would become his recently launched business, Particular Createch Studio.
Rod puts his business journey down to careful progress and planning. He says: ‘I set goals in my life that I have been fulfilling step by step.’
With an IT Engineering degree under his belt, he took the advice of his supervisor and did a Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It was there that he realised that, sooner or later, he would want to create a business that brought all his abilities and skills together. He went on to an internship in Silicon Valley, and to his next step:
‘I set the goal of living outside of Chile, in a country where I can leave my comfort zone. I was sure that would help me to generate some business ideas, and at the same time improve my level of English. And that’s how it all began.’
When the chance to study Digital Marketing in Melbourne came up, he and Carolina left their jobs and lives in Chile ‘without thinking twice’. But just as they arrived, the pandemic hit. ‘No one could imagine the impact it would have on the world,’ Rod says.
Far from putting a stop to their entrepreneurial attitude, the pandemic gave them fuel for the fire: ‘We saw a problem, and therefore an opportunity. We realised with the pandemic that small businesses were being very economically damaged, so they would have to use digital media to attract more customers and offer different experiences to retain them. At the same time, people stuck at home because of lockdown would be spending more time on their phones; so, whoever offered new ways to attract their attention when buying or hiring a service would be the one who achieves a competitive advantage.’
And into that gap of opportunity Particular was born. Rod explains: ‘Particular is a studio that combines creativity and technology (CreaTech) to build innovative digital assets that will help our clients rocket their brand in digital campaigns, increase engagement, attract more followers, and drive sales.
‘Our differentiating technology is augmented reality, which has not yet become popular in the marketing field, but experts think it will be the future in that area.
‘A few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook to “Meta”. That refers to a new concept called Metaverse, which will dominate in all areas from now on. The Metaverse is a hyper-connected virtual world, where reality is reflected by simulating some physical properties and laws for user interaction, with augmented reality being the central axis of this digital transformation.
‘Bloomberg Intelligence predicts that the Metaverse in 2024 will represent a business opportunity of US$800 billion. Particular seeks to democratise the use of augmented reality for businesses that are not so technological, making it achievable and making it easier for them to incorporate new technologies in a future that advances in leaps and bounds.
‘Our clients will provide a new immersive experience to their consumers, who are able to access the analytical data of their campaign anytime for decision-making. This new technological trend will be affordable for our clients, with a high impact on their brand.
‘Anyone can come to us to create a digital asset (especially those who manage their business campaigns by themselves). We are not freelance workers: we do not want only to do business transactions with our clients; we also seek to develop a relationship. We want to make sure they understand the benefits our services would have on their campaigns, guiding them until they see results.
‘On the other hand, we provide the technology to digital marketing agencies who work with large companies and want to include this new technology in their clients’ campaigns.’
Support along the way
Particular came about through hard work, a commitment to further learning, and a huge effort to make solid connections in his new home, all of which was nurtured and fed by being a part of StartSpace, which Rod discovered via Study Melbourne, when he saw an announcement about Hackathon as part of the Future Founders Festival.
‘I immediately signed up. Although my team did not win, we formed a good group of colleagues with different academic backgrounds, with whom I still communicate.’
Once Rod had discovered StartSpace, he signed up for the newsletters. ‘One day I read that they were organising a pitch competition. We had identified the problem and had a solution that we wanted to develop, so we decided to apply. Although we did not win, we incorporated all the observations and improvements from the feedback we received. After that, I applied for StartSpace membership, which was successful.’
Rod was especially happy to have a comfortable and fully equipped space where they could work on their idea, and they began to work there in November 2020. Rod says membership gave them a big boost of motivation:
‘StartSpace has provided us with the facilities and intellectual resources to develop this business idea. We have a cozy, bright and safe space with high-speed Internet.
‘We also have access to an online platform with documents/talks to acquire theoretical knowledge and the possibility of expanding our network with other entrepreneurs with whom we can swap experiences.
‘Thanks to the StartSpace community, we have obtained valuable feedback for our business, which would not be easy to get from another source. We have discovered excellent insights about the Australian culture there, impacting our ability to identify our customer segment more accurately.’
Lessons to share
So, what lessons does Rod have for other entrepreneurs, now that he has come this far?
‘Focus first on detecting the problem and falling in love with it, and not on the solution. Most entrepreneurs tend to focus first on the solution, neglecting the real pain of the customers. For example, if our clients were financially affected by a crisis, we cannot offer them a value proposition that is a huge investment for them. We must be realistic and seek an accessible value proposition with quick and measurable results.
‘It is also essential to belong to a community where you can request feedback and support. If we decide to develop an idea and then look for clients without feedback or prior testing, we will go straight to failure. If we fail, it must be early and cheap. As time increases, costs also increase.
It is not enough to sit down and start working on the laptop; you have to go outside and investigate, observe with your own eyes the existing problems, investigate online, investigate potential competitors and what their value proposition is.’
As with any goal we set for ourselves in life, the road is long, and there have been frustrations along it. Rod believes that identifying those moments and recording them is essential to managing them in future endeavours. Sharing them among colleagues, through the type of networks and connections that StartSpace offers, is very useful to help others who might go through similar situations.
‘Now that we look back, something that would help us a lot in the next stage or another business would be to document the entire journey, creating a manual of lessons learned. That would avoid moments of frustration and demotivation and wasted time.’
One of the lessons learned was about the need to coordinate and manage better the balance between working for a living and having the time and creative space to start a business.
‘That is something that we will handle differently in the future,’ he says.
But for now, Particular is growing, and the community and learning gained from StartSpace continues to benefit Rod as he cultivates it.
‘We are currently in a period of attracting customers, for which we offer a free evaluation. We want to focus in this first stage on small businesses and small digital marketing agencies.
We had to pivot our original idea since the pitch competition. Thanks to the StartSpace community, we met with other entrepreneurs and got their feedback about our idea. We saw from that we needed to focus more on the importance of analytical data, which we think our clients are most interested in. Today the results have to be fast and easily monitored, for decision-making.’
Visit the website to find out more about Particular Createch Studio.
Curious to know more about StartSpace Membership? Find out more here.