Elevator Pitch: Nubis

Elevator Pitch is a new regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with the team from Nubis.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Nubis is a boutique engineering power house specialising in developing custom technical solutions based on radical innovation. We are a collection of highly skilled and passionate technical experts that come from different industries, technologies and disciplines and through our unique fusion, we devise state-of-the-art solutions by sourcing, integrating and developing from ground-up to fit the project’s requirements.

Our newly-developed cloud service, Alphega, is an ambitious effort to push Augmented Reality to the mainstream by turning smartphones into “socioscopes” that visually project the social networking activities taking place around the user. While Alphega claims to elevate social networking to a whole new plane, it is only the first of our radical technological developments which are on the scale from highly-disruptive to a complete paradigm shift.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

As a technology startup in Australia, we are constrained with our funding alternatives as local investors are looking for either quick profitability or majority in equity. Avoiding these leaves only the option of self funding. On the other hand, the greatest advantage a startup downunder has is that if you work for someone, it will take, on average, about 45 hours of the week – leaving you with a lot of spare time to do more (typically over 57 hours, we find).

This allows us to offer high-quality, strategic-level, cutting-edge technical consultancy services to corporates that benefit greatly from our varied skillset and competitive rates, while leaving us sufficient capacity to work on our own projects.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

Balancing between our internal R&D efforts and the consultancy we provide requires extremely delicate management as we cannot afford losing focus or quality in either. We make sure our consultancy clients get at least 110 per cent of what they expect. And in order to maintain 100 per cent productivity on our internal R&D, we need to apply rigorous project management methodologies.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

We were debating this internally trying to decide between Wireshark and Visual Studio — but eventually went for the latter, since we engage more with development than integration. Visual Studio 2012 is probably the first or second application we all install after setting up the Operating System.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Focus! That’s probably the key to the success and failure of any business. The definition that clarifies what needs to be done, and more importantly, what shouldn’t. Articulating and keeping the company’s focus dictates the global strategy as well as day-to-day activities. It’s specifying what the business is or should be good at and what not needs to be part of its operation.

One might look at us at Nubis and think that an organisation can’t both provide top quality consultancy while developing its own ground-breaking IP in parallel. Some people get confused between coherent focus and the ability to do more than one thing at once, where these are totally separate concepts. Managing between multiple activities is not a challenge as long as the focus is defined and clear to everyone involved.

Once the company focus is rooted within the corporate culture, it acts as a professional compass for every person in the organisation in every plan or activity they engage in.

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