Robust ThemeDec 09, 2019 2020-04-08 7:40
[VIDEO BLOG] Celebrating the wins of our TRW Alumni - Julie Hogarth-Williams
This week, Tech Ready Women’s program lead, Crystal McGregor is in conversation with Julie Hogarth-Williams from The SeniorsChannel. The SeniorsChannel is an on-demand entertainment and activity platform curated for adults 65+.
Julie has managed to get the name of her startup, The Senior’s Channel, trademarked, and says she wondered why it hadn’t already been done, but also that “it was great for us that nobody did!” Upon further research, Julie found that there was no other.
The idea for The Senior’s Channel was brewing long before COVID, where Julie, as a professional seniors entertainer, found that she often had cancellations around flu season with shutdowns of aged care facilities–and the disappointment of cancelled concerts.
When COVID hit, there were prolonged shutdowns, leaving Julie with no work, but more importantly the people in aged care facilities feeling isolated and lonely. During this time, Julie began to work on The SeniorsChannel full time before joining Tech Ready Women.
The idea started simply as a way to provide concerts but evolved through research and the realisation that there were no digital entertainment platforms at all, not only for aged care residents but for seniors in general. The idea grew from a simple concert to one of a whole channel.
Before joining Tech Ready Women, Julie faced many challenges; the biggest one as a creative was not knowing the ropes of the startup ecosystem. She says, “I didn't understand the startup ecosystem, I didn't understand how a startup timeline evolves. And, you know, I had no co-founder, I had nobody to ask questions to” which led to her feeling burnt out and lonely.
Joining the Tech Ready Women’s Female Founders Startup program changed that for Julie. She found structure and a systematised process to follow, peer support and mentors all of which helped her immensely. Julie’s advice for anyone else becoming a part of the program is to make the most of it! Additionally, Julie made the most of the shared office space, where she met her now co-founder and friend, Brianna.
The Senior’s Channel also managed to lock in their first customer, an aged care service provider who is signed up for the beta program, with another in the pipeline.
On challenges she faces as a female tech entrepreneur, Julie says it is “not just my gender but my age” that is a barrier she has to overcome. In one example, she recalls listening to a podcast for people considering going into angel investment, and how much she was learning as a startup founder, only to get to the end and see that a recommendations list stated “not to go with…anybody over the age of 50”. Julie talks about how that made her feel frustrated and dismissed–but came through to the other side feeling ever more determined to smash her goals.
To prove this, The SeniorsChannel secured an MVP grant from the NSW government, which not only helps them with funding, but also is a validation of her idea having scalable potential.
In the next steps, The SeniorsChannel plans to open up a pre-seed investment round, and Julie would love to be connected with investors and venture capitalists, as well as any advice around that from other founders.
And as Julie prepares to launch the freemium version of The SeniorsChannel, she’s also after some corporate advertisers, so if anyone in the community has leads on that, please do get in touch with Julie directly via her LinkedIn or The SeniorsChannel website.