18/12/2020

With start-up accelerators like Stone & Chalk providing fertile platforms for growth, there’s never been a better time to establish a tech-centric business in SA, says teen app developer Will Bishop.

Will Bishop

Switched-on Adelaide teenager Will Bishop is loving life on the ground floor of South Australia’s hi-tech future at Lot Fourteen.

The 18-year-old app developer took up a residency in the Stone and Chalk start-up hub at Lot Fourteen last October, before securing a position with independent Canadian-based tech firm User Camp several months later. Stone & Chalk is powered by FIXE, the Futures Industries eXchange for Entrepreneurship, which aims to make South Australia a national leader in this field.

The former Glenunga International High School student – who admits fine-tuning his skills as a result of boredom during assemblies – has already produced a number of apps which between them have been downloaded almost 775,000 times.

Among them are Nano, released for Reddit in April 2018, and Twitter app Chirp, for the Apple Watch, which followed shortly after.

“Chirp and Nano have been more successful than I could have ever dreamed, Chirp especially,” Bishop says.

After considering studying computer science at Flinders University – a lack of the correct maths prerequisites ruling out The University of Adelaide as an immediate option – the Glen Osmond teen decided work was a better choice.

“I was on Twitter one night – bored, again – and saw a job listing for a company in Canada wanting someone with experience in something that had come out about six months earlier, which I had,” he says.

“So I applied and interviewed for them. They were already familiar with Chirp and seemed to like me ... and I’ve been working for them since January – and loving it.”

With the option of working remotely, Bishop says being based in Adelaide is no impediment to wider success in the technological sphere.

“SA is unique in that, unlike the Silicon Valley, we’re rather humble and quiet,” he says.

“Instead of shouting from the roof tops about how great we are, we’d rather succeed quietly – potentially to our global detriment.

“However with Lot Fourteen, a lot of this is changing and SA is being positioned to be taken seriously on a global stage. As our entrepreneurial industry grows, the government is helping a lot of small businesses succeed.”

Bishop says with start-up accelerators like Stone and Chalk providing fertile platforms for growth, there’s never been a better time to establish a tech-centric business in SA.

“While my business is all online, and can theoretically be done from anywhere, if in future I wish to expand, the talent pool is ever-growing.

“I always felt like the real opportunities were only in California and anything in SA – or Australia for that matter – would pale in comparison. While SA still has a way to go in catching up to Silicon Valley, we’re well on our way – and it’s certainly very exciting to be on the ground floor.”

Pictured, Will Bishop.

This article originally appeared in Future Adelaide