26 April 2018
World IP Day 2018 – Melanie Halpin and Mistie Halpin
Melanie Halpin and Mistie Halpin co-founders – iMomentum
Could you please describe your business and which problems it solves?
We have a tech start-up, iMomentum. Through iMomentum we have created a revolutionary technology called ELEVU. ELEVU’s IP is a combination of software & hardware, that when integrated into the next generation of display devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs etc.) will eliminate the need to wear glasses (or utilise any other adaptation) when using the device. ELEVU was created for the nearly two billion people worldwide who suffer from age-related blurred near vision, also known as Presbyopia.
What kind of innovation and creativity challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
ELEVU is at the leading edge of technology, so the need to think ‘outside of the box’ was evident from the very beginning. Luckily for us, we have an amazing team led by an award winning computational mathematician, Dr Tony Miller, who has made a career out of pioneering design. The challenges we faced were essentially the technologies catching up with our concept and not the other way around. Overcoming this has been through the combination of rapid R&D and a focused energy on solutions. As a team we take very seriously the belief that ‘anything is possible’. When that belief is your foundation, it’s a matter of recognising that solutions come in many forms and not being afraid to give anything a go.
Did your business need to protect certain IP?
Yes. The bulk of our value is based in our IP. As such, we went about ensuring its protection from the outset.
What steps did you take to protect your IP?
At ‘idea’ stage we met with an IP firm and discussed our pathways to protection. As a consequence, the following five years saw us file two patents, both of which have recently gone through National Phase. We have also trademarked ELEVU in Australia and internationally.
How do these steps protect you in future?
We have always believed (and continue to) that at its best, it works to protect us against any other individuals or companies looking to create a similar technology. At its simplest, it works as a hindrance to any looking to infringe on our IP.
Has your IP ever been stolen/misappropriated by a competitor?
Is there anything you would do differently next time around?
Not really. The need to be judicious with resources is paramount in any start-up. However, we recognised very early on that IP protection was key to our success. As such, resources were utilised in areas we felt were going to be most beneficial to us in the long term. Bootstrapping iMomentum for the first four years, in hindsight, placed a lot of pressure on the both of us. Perhaps sourcing investment earlier would have created less stress. As it turned out, we were approached by our investors, so the stress of pitching was eliminated at least. As the saying goes, a good product sells itself.
Are there any key lessons you would like to share with other female entrepreneurs?
Don’t believe the hype (unless it’s positive). If you’ve chosen the path of entrepreneurship then chances are you’ve always felt a little different and seen the world a little differently. That’s something to be celebrated. The life of an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted. Self-belief is key, and belief you can make the world a better place through your efforts. Don’t let anyone tell you your dream is impossible. And lastly, advice is important, but everyone will offer it. Ultimately listen to your gut, it’s always got your best interests in mind.