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Crank Up The Party, We Got Crowd Control!

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Crowd Control, a new and exciting concept, was unveiled at the recent Start Up weekend, hosted in Perth, one which could permanently change the face of start up businesses. Ross Currie is the founder member of the Crowd Control team which is currently putting together the final pieces of the puzzle, with the hope of releasing it to the market very shortly.

Crowd Control is a post crowd-funding tool rather than a crowd-funding platform. There are hundreds of crowd-funding platforms but very few sites out there that help you “solve your post crowd-funding nightmare”. This is where Crowd Control steps in. Crowd Control not only assists entrepreneurs in attracting sponsors and securing funding and future sales for any start up project they have registered with Crowd Control, it accurately maintains this service as well as client information and a sponsor database, during the post funding stage. You may argue that there are hundreds of websites and applications out there that do this already, but Ross and his team are adamant that Crowd Control can do more than its competitors and at a lower cost.

Ross Currie doesn’t just believe that Crowd Control can compete and outstrip its rival providers, he knows it. It is not his first lap around the track. His most recent project was an unusual one, going by the name of Squishy Forts. The product is a segmented and foamed set of cushioned pads that can be maneuvered into any type of domestic room and into virtually any category of furniture. Its selling points would be, in my opinion, that a squishy Fort set would be very easy to move and being devoid of hard edges, extremely safe for young children. Ross used “Kickstarter” to launch his product and has done tremendously well, raising in excess of sixty five thousand dollars in pledges, across around 400 clients.

The Crowd Control team are working with Kickstarter project creators to extend the tools that Kickstarter offers. Ross believes that their product compliments Kickstarter, which in his view is a very basic package. There are two ways with which rival applications generate income. Some take a standard 1% of funds raised through the crowd-funding campaign, whilst others take only a percentage of additional sales through the post crowd-funding tool itself. The Crowd Control team are leaning toward a sliding scale fee, to provide incentive for clients to aggressively go after more and more backers, the idea being that the more money that a product gets in through the Crowd Control platform, the smaller the percentage that will be charged. This has not been finalised though as the Crowd Control team are still compiling data on the best way to proceed. Ross was keen to stress the future add-on sales capabilities that will be integral to Crowd Control and the networking capabilities of the system which will be far in advance of its more established rivals. As an add-on tool, the likely heights that Crowd Control could potentially reach are tied to the recent surge in crowd-funding activities in a symbiotic relationship. Kickstarter hit the 1 billion mark at the start of March, with $500M in the 12 months preceding that (up from the $380M they did in 2013), and with Crowd Control, this could be accelerated even further.

The Crowd Control team have also recognised that the database of client information is virtually non existent on the current crowd funding platforms. Ross has had to devote huge amounts of time in individual correspondence alone, as he links his manufacturer with his client base. From the ashes of this experience, a phoenix has arisen in the form of the add on tools Crowd Control provides.

Ross’ Canadian parents were employed in the mining industry and he was born in Australia as they followed their work here. His family returned to Canada when he was a young boy and he spent his formative years in Ottawa, the country’s capital. They then emigrated back to Australia when he was in his teens as his parents found work here once again. He brought with him his accent, his love of ice-hockey, but also a first hand view on why it is important to be self reliant in business, as he had grown up watching the intransient and fickle nature of the mining industry affect his family. Thus his entrepreneurial spirit was born. He works as a self-employed IT security consultant and plies his trade for several large corporate entities.

The Perth Start-up weekend was a monumental success for the Crowd Control team as they took out top honours. The panel of industry titans that gathered together to judge the competition, saw Crowd Control as the standout concept of the weekend. On the first day of the competition, Ross gave a presentation on the ideas generated for Crowd Control and it wasn’t long before the product attracted numerous people to the Crowd Control banner. Saturday was essentially the make or break day for the team as they worked on product validation and the physical framework of the product itself. On the final day, Ross stood up and delivered a presentation for the judges and at the end of the day, the Crowd Control team were the 2014 champions. Ross commented on the approach his team took on the final day of the competition,

“The three most important questions that the team and I wanted to answer in the judges‘ collective minds: Is it Pretty?, Will anyone buy it?: Does it work?”. In the eyes of the judges, Crowd Control answered all three questions with a firm yes.

I queried Ross on his predictions for revenue generation and the future for Crowd Control, medium to long term. Showing his belief in the new system he has, decided to bring Squishy Forts over to the platform as a pilot project with which to begin with. This is a huge risk but Ross seemed bullish about its chances of success. He alluded to me that they already have clients in the pipe-work and are just waiting for the software to be completed.

In conclusion, I believe Crowd Control, although in its infancy, is an application that could take over the world in terms of start up businesses. If it delivers to the specifications of The Crowd Control teams design, it will be bigger, more useful, less expensive and far more flexible than its rivals. In the advent of this, it would be inevitable that Crowd Control would eclipse them all. There are some obstacles to overcome, mostly legal and accountancy issues, but they are not insurmountable. “It’s no good having an idea on its own, you have to be able to deliver”. This is a mantra that Ross drilled into me throughout the interview and he certainly believes in his team’s ability to do just that. Ross is an inventive and relentless individual and he does not lack for ambition. He is a rare man who knows what he wants and exactly how he will get it, and has surrounded himself with people who hold the same attitude. If all goes to plan, it is my belief that Crowd Control could become a global force in the field of start up business very, very soon.

You can follow Crowd Control on Twitter:

Feature photo – Left-Right, the team members were: Troy Gerwien, Sam Bishop, Anya Ivanova, Bec Christou, Tim Brewer (Pitch Coach), Ross Currie, Pip, Glenn Bergsma (Pitch Coach), Beau Ginbey.

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Startup News has been the home of West Australian startup news and events since 2013. We publish several news stories, interviews, tips and events relating to WA startups every week, with over 1,900 articles in our archives. We also produce the 'Startup West' podcast, and host the 'Hubs (Ecosystem)' database of WA startup programs, places and events.
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