Pictured: Founder and Managing Director of Redback Technologies Philip Livingston
A Brisbane-based technology start-up is redefining modern energy consumption and creating jobs for Queensland graduates in the process.
Since Redback Technologies first partnered with The University of Queensland via ilab – a tech start-up incubator that is managed by UQ’s research commercialisation company UniQuest – in April 2015, their team has grown from two to 28 staff.
With recent injections of capital funding into the business, including a $9.3 million investment from EnergyAustralia, Redback Technologies intends to expand their team even further. With plans to source staff primarily from UQ’s Information Technology graduating cohorts, they will grow to a team of more than 50 in the next 12 months.
Founder and Managing Director of Redback Technologies Philip Livingston said the company planned to spend the majority of capital raised on hiring new staff.
“More than 75% of the money we are raising is to be spent here in Queensland to hire Queenslanders who will build technology. We’ll be hiring software engineers, software developers, hardware engineers, and staff to support business functions such as sales and marketing.
“Queensland universities are producing an abundance of high calibre software graduates and we are very lucky to be able to access this talent locally,” said Mr Livingston.
Redback Technologies develops intelligent software and hardware that make solar energy easier to manage and more affordable for Australian consumers. In addition to creating a sleek integrated system which is safer and easier to install, Redback Technologies has developed software that lets users manage their solar energy from mobile devices, allowing them to choose when to use, save or sell their power.
Mr Livingston said their innovative new technology allows consumers to make the most of the sun while it shines – a bonus in the sunshine state of Queensland.
"Our smart system can control devices in the home beyond just batteries. Smart devices for example hot water systems, pool pumps, or dishwashers, can be set up to automatically turn on when there's enough sunshine for them to be powered by solar energy directly. This means you make the most of the sun when it’s shining and don’t have to rely on sourcing power from your battery or the grid later,” he said.
UQ’s strong relationship with Redback Technologies is set to strengthen as the Brisbane-born and bred start-up begins using UQ’s solar assets (pictured above) –one of the largest university photovoltaic array’s in Australia – in their research and development.
Mr Livingston said the partnership with UQ offers many benefits beyond just his business.
“What we are building with UQ is really important, not just for us, but for the technology industry.
"UQ gives us access to top-level graduates who are familiar with the technology of tomorrow and significant volumes of resources to enable us to build technology. Together with the University we'll be building the necessary infrastructure to allow for our software development roadmap to be met.
The Director of UQ’s start-up accelerator ilab, Bernie Woodcroft, said Redback Technologies was an excellent example of the positive impact start-up entrepreneurs can have on the knowledge economy when they harness university capabilities.
“Redback Technologies has grown exponentially and is investing right back into Queensland, making it an outstanding example of how technology start-ups can successfully partner with UQ to have a big impact on local economic development,” he said.
Mr Livingston said the success of Redback Technologies would not have been possible without the backing of UQ through ilab and UniQuest.
“We would not have had the success we've had if it were not for people from UQ and ilab that believed in us.”
The team at Redback Technologies are now actively collaborating with a range of different stakeholders to develop the next generation energy technology. This new technology will enable an interconnected digital network of primarily solar powered smart energy systems and eliminate the requirement for fossil-fuel power stations.