An innovative Coast-based company is ready to represent Australia in the 2022 Internet of Things World Cup in Germany in June.

GreaseBoss is one of the 15 finalists that will present their products to a panel of judges who will decide who takes home the top prize of up to $US500,000.

CEO and co-founder Steve Barnett says it’s an exciting opportunity for the company, which began during the pandemic from the garage of co-founder Tim Hall in Meridan Plains.

“We are very excited to be announced as finalists in the Innovation World Cup in the Industrial IoT category,” he says. “We have been selected from 400 companies that applied and are in the top five for our category. 

“In order to win, Tim and I will present the company in a ‘pitch competition’ and be assessed by judges. It’s similar to the Shark Tank TV show. 

“Tim and I are also exhibiting at the Hannover Messe (Fair), which will give GreaseBoss exposure to many buyers and potential partners in Europe.” 

Steve says that, in a nutshell, GreaseBoss verifies that industrial machinery such as for mines, agriculture and transport is correctly greased. These machines usually need to be greased daily or weekly, have many places that require greasing and are complex to manage. It ensures each point is greased correctly to prevent breakdowns.

He says the company’s co-founders – Steve, Tim and Peter Condoleon – met at a ‘hackathon’ in Brisbane in November 2019 and were drawn together by the challenge of solving a problem.

“Tim was looking for technical collaborators to work on his drone start-up, Pete was still in uni and looking to meet other technical people, and I was looking for business partners for my next project,” Steve says. “I pitched the idea of a grease gun that could track each grease point and the idea immediately had traction with Tim and Pete. We decided to form a team and build a prototype and pitch it to the judges at the hackathon. We ended up winning the hackathon and forming the company to bring the idea to market.

“Tim, Pete and I started GreaseBoss because we enjoyed working together to solve the hard problem of managing grease for industrial customers. We have always believed that we could solve the problem better than anyone else can, so we have chosen to solve it.”

The success of the company means the team is in demand to offer expertise to other businesses around the Coast, and GreaseBoss will host the Manufacturing Excellence Forum Sunshine Coast on May 26 at its Birtinya HQ.

“We will be talking about our journey, some of the challenges we have faced and overcome,” Steve says. “We hope our journey can inspire and inform other Sunshine Coast businesses about what is possible.”

Steve, 37, from Wurtulla, says the support of groups like the MEFSC has been invaluable.

“MEFSC has been incredible for GreaseBoss,” he says. “We have picked up many of our suppliers as a result of introductions through the MEFSC network – suppliers in accounting, IT support, admin and manufacturing.” 

The MEFSC, which started in 2021, is a not-for-profit entity that was initiated to develop a centre for excellence in manufacturing on the Coast. Supported by the Sunshine Coast Council, it holds monthly in-person events with guest speakers, information sessions and networking opportunities, as well as online discussion platforms.

Director Tim Kelly, who also works for robotics company ARM Hub, says MEFSC is about businesses supporting other businesses.

“We’ve built a support network around manufacturers to help them to grow and succeed, thereby increasing local jobs, job quality, economic growth broadly and the like,” he says. “It’s been really well received – hard to explain in some ways. The positive feedback we get from the community says it best.”

The growth of GreaseBoss has also enabled it to support Caloundra Men’s Shed.

“We started a merch store to sell GreaseBoss T-shirts early on in our journey,” Steve says. “We did this so we can clothe our team and also get the brand out into the market. We decided that we would donate the profits from all of the sales to the Caloundra Men’s Shed. 

“We chose to work with Caloundra Men’s Shed because it provides a valuable meeting place, resources and services to the men in our local community.”

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