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Graduating from Lithgow High School in 2007, Jonathan Zuvela went on to study a Cert III in Engineering Mechanical and later a Cert III in Computer 3D Design & Stress Testing at TAFE. He then worked as a mechanical fitter before starting with Above & Below Services who deliver skilled labour, operations at mining sites, maintenance of plant and equipment and the provision of critical spares and consumables. There he quickly rose through the ranks of the company, becoming a senior manager at the tender age of 21. He started his first entrepreneurial endeavor, Nex Technologies in 2013 – whose aim is to bring its customers the best in personal electronic devices and simplify from the multi-device generation we live in.
The first product to be launched by the company is Nextear – the worlds smartest wireless earphones, which will be available to the public from October 2015.
Check out the crowdfunding campaign for Nextear on Indigogo!
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
As a keen BMX rider I found my wired earphones were constantly ripping out of my ears, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and develop NEXTEAR – the world’s smartest wireless earphones.
Please explain your business model (How do you make money?)
Initially we were hoping to raise the $20,000 dollars we require to manufacture the first run of the products via crowd-funding platform Indiegogo. Since launching the campaign earlier in the month, we have already raised over $150,000USD and orders keep flooding in. With early-bird orders flooding in and pre-orders of the product we are providing at just $99USD, It has enabled us to raise the funds to compliance Nextear for worldwide distribution to retailers.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
Right now I’m in the middle of the crowdfunding campaign, and whilst still holding down my full time job as a senior manager of Above & Below Services. I’m also getting a lot of media attention which is keeping me pretty busy. I’m most excited about the fact that we are starting to reach some of our crowdfunding stretch goals, and I may well be able to offer some extra cool features in just the first run of the product due to the incredible responsive we’ve had to the Indiegogo campaign.
How do you make ideas happen?
When working on a new idea it always starts with pen and paper. List all the things you want the device to be able to do, then all the components to make that work. I then start sketching some drawings as concepts; to see how I can make the different components work together and with what or how they will be used.
From here the next step is to see what components already exist or need to be made and understand what will be need to be outsourced and what can be done in house.
I would then pitch the idea to someone to see their initial thoughts. If positive I would then start the process of actually designing the product, with consideration of Industrial Design to keep manufacturing easier.
To continue the project I would start trying to source a manufacture to help create a prototype. Creating the prototype with them enables a good relationship for manufacturing to start.
What does your typical day look like?
At the moment I wake up about 6am and respond to emails from the during the night relating to Nextear. I head to work at 7:30 for an 8am start, go through all work emails and organise the day’s work if not continuing on jobs. I have discussions with my boss about projects, updates and potential customers. Short tool box talk with Above & Below workers. More emails and phone calls. Helping workers. About 3:30pm recap on Nextear, send out social posts and emails updates. Responded to emails for the day for Nextear. Head home and continue paper worked for Nextear, then go have dinner and relax. I will then normally send out some email replies before bed.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
Bit of a challenge organizing phone conferences in different time zones. But I have a lot of support from family, friends and business owners, so we have been doing really well.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Nutella milkshakes are great!
But tech wise I would say a stylish discrete wrist band with a super high power LED light so you’re never in the dark.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
I think Evolve Skateboards are killing it.
What about internationally?
I thin Neptune are one to watch they just released the Neptune Suite, which looks great.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
A huge change! Business drives social change without most even knowing it. For example, with what we see (and are seen) on our social feeds; it is altered to suit them or us with algorithms they decide or advertising that you don’t even know is advertising.
Speaking of affecting social change, we’ve teamed up with Shout for Good to encourage readers to ‘shout a coffee’ to charity by clicking the button below. Is there a particular charity you’d like to support?
I would like to support http://hamlin.org.au/ – I believe this cause needs help what these women go through is horrible. Hamlin is making a change!
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
I am on these fairly often:
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
Yes! We are still looking for backers to pre order to reach our stretch goals at our Indiegogo campaign – get in quick as it only has 6 days to go!
We are also looking to secure distributors worldwide, please fill out this form if you’re interested.
Also see the company’s website at www.nextear.net.au and social channels:
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered or give one piece of advice – about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc., what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to get help, you don’t have to do everything yourself!
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Church Bar at Bathurst, NSW