For Hilton Davidow, the idea for LinkaPub started with a 50th birthday party back in March of 2012.But even before that, in war-torn South Africa during the political uprisings of 1989, Hilton Davidow worked with the casino group Sun International. Eventually the situation in South Africa got so dire that Hilton, like many other Sun employees, was forced to move out of the country. The exodus from Sun International group scattered employees all the way from Moscow to South America. Hilton landed in Curacao, a tropical island off the east coast of Venezuela, then eventually moving to settle in Australia.
Some 23 years after the move in the March of 2012, Hilton explains how the ex-Sun Employees made it back to Curacao to celebrate their colleague Leo’s 50th birthday. Reminiscing on stories of a time gone by, they talked over what they knew best; the entertainment industry. Soon after, Hilton recalls, a colleague who didn’t make it to the celebration was phoned in on Skype, as did many others to wish Leo a happy 50th birthday and continue the celebrations.
At some point in all of this, something clicked in Hiton’s head.
“We’re sitting on a gold mine”, He recalls mentioning to Leo.
“What do you mean” his long-time friend replied
“We’ve got connections, people that we worked with for 15 years scattered all over the world; Moscow, Mexico, America, the UK. And we’ve all got a lot of experience in the entertainment industry. We need to capitalise on that”
After a few cold beers and much discussion, the idea behind LinkaPub was hatched. 2 years later the initial idea has, in Hilton’s own words “metamorphosed into a lot more”.
LinkaPub was founded as an innovative entertainment mobile app that allows others to join in public and private celebrations at entertainment venues, just like at Leo’s Curacao 50th, when they are not physically able. Since it’s inception in 2012, it has been refined to a diverse video streaming app that allows users to view live entertainment performances, public celebrations and generally see inside entertainment venues across the world from the comfort of their computer.
“The idea has been widely received as a great idea” Hilton says, “Everybody thinks its a great idea, but a lot of the taverns are hesitant as to whether they want a camera.”
Privacy issues are a big obstacle for LinkaPub, who are currently finding ways around it; placards on doors similar to “CCTV Surveillance on Premise” are just one way around it. “I approached a local tavern in Canning Vale” Hilton explains, ‘Great idea’ they said, ‘but you see all these guys sitting here, I bet you half of them aren’t supposed to be here.’ They’re worried about employers logging into the camera and having a look and seeing you there and saying ‘Hey what the hell is Tyson doing at the pub, he’s supposed to be at work'”.
While Hilton confesses many obstacles plague the road to success, it’s only natural. However, with his 4 business partners in London, Miami and Toronto, and himself in Perth; Hilton sees great potential for rapid expansion of the LinkaPub app.
Interview by Tyson Vacher, Photography by Phill Smith.