One Minute Hustle

Every week, the Earlywork newsletter features a One Minute Hustle (1MH): a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator. Instead of an hour-long podcast, we ask them 3 simple questions:

  1. What are you working on

  2. How’d you get started

  3. Why do you do what you do

The goal here is twofold.

Firstly, 1MH gives our audience of students & grads visibility (and inspiration) for how to start or join an early-stage venture even as someone early in one's career, using real-life examples.

On the flipside, it also helps promote the awesome problems & products these talented young people are working on, with some of our showcased founders & operators even having found future employees through the newsletter!

If you're interested in being featured or know someone who's a great fit, shoot an email over to enquiries@earlywork.co.

Below are all the stories of the past hustlers we've showcased so far:

Bennie Liu

Growth @ Earnd

  • What are you working on? Growth @ Earnd. Growth at a B2B company is very different to B2C, think Uber or Facebook. Currently, we’re scaling up demand generation (sourcing and closing interested individuals from other companies) and my work consists of both technical and marketing. On the technical side, I work with a team of incredible developers and designers to lay down analytics infrastructure and build our website. On the marketing side, I build and execute campaigns.

  • How'd you get started? I had a super weird start! Got into growth by growing an Instagram page from 0 to 85K followers in 5 months. I met Earnd’s founder, Josh, at a university event and pitched him my IG account to try land a growth role and I was fortunate enough that it worked out! If you don’t have experience, I’d suggest you grow something yourself first. It teaches you the basic principles.

  • Why do you do what you do? I started with a computer science degree but didn’t see myself being a developer. I loved marketing though and growth is the intersection of tech and marketing, so it was a natural fit. It’s a beautiful thing to build something from scratch and have potentially millions of people using it. There’s also no certain path to success and that adds to the thrill. Overused to death but every day is a different challenge.

  • What are you working on? We are working a platform called Vector AI (https://getvectorai.com) to make the end to end process of utilising vectors magical. Vectors are meaningful numerical representations of rich data in multi-dimensional space, it can be used to represent any kind of data such as image, text, audio, users, etc. By making it easy and magical to work with, we want to enable more companies and developers to utilise vectors to improve their processes and create new products.

  • How'd you get started? The technology is already powering products we use every day like google search, youtube recommendations, Pinterest homepage, TikTok fyp, etc. However, this is only accessible to the biggest companies because building a productionisable pipeline for vectors require large teams of data scientists and engineers. I'm pretty obsessed with vectors and strongly believe that there is immense value and new creative products that can be built if vectors were in the hands of more companies and developers, so that’s why I am doing this I want to make this accessible to more and more people.

  • Why do you do what you do? I got started on vectors when I was frustrated with search experience on almost every website other than Google, for example, if you go on a eCommerce store like Kogan or JB Hi-Fi and search “big tv” what it returns is not tv but “big bang theory tv shows”. Because of that, I started looking into what makes Google’s search experience so special compared to others, that is when I discovered Vector Search and BERT and how it is a core part of what makes their search engine understand the query and get you the most relevant results. Then more and more I researched and worked with machine learning, I realised that searching with vectors was really powerful and actually powering a lot of the products we use every day, YouTube recommendations, Spotify discovery, Pinterest, reverse image search, etc. However a lot of the companies and developers I talked either never heard of it or didn’t know much about it, so that’s when I started Vector AI to help this already proven technology to be adopted more widely by making it as magical and easy to use.

Marina Wu

Associate Product Manager @ Finder

  • What are you working on? In my day job, I'm an associate product manager at Finder (you may have heard our jingle on TV!), focusing on creating features in the Finder app that take the hassle out of comparing and switching financial products. My latest side-hustle is my own Substack called Batch Day where I write about my experiences as a PM, lessons I've learned from my previous internships and tips I've picked up along the way.

  • How'd you get started? My journey began at an early-stage startup, getFoodi which really opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship. I couldn't believe that 3 barely-graduated guys built an entire marketplace business from scratch. After getFoodi, I wanted to see what else was out there and on this journey, I worked at large corporates, VCs, and another pre-Series A startup, before landing at Finder. Things came full circle and now I get to work on work on building value-adding products for our users, and even write about it too! 😆

  • Why do you do what you do? I'm always thinking about how we can tackle the big, audacious problems in the world, and solve these with simple, beautiful products that are valuable to users. What drives me is the impact of what I do — how a product, feature or experience can help solve a user's problems.

Growth Lead @ Spriggy

  • What are you working on? I'm currently working on rebuilding Spriggy's Pocket Money app and applying a new brand to scale across our multiple products. We've learnt a lot over the 4 years we've been in market, and with hundreds of thousands of Aussie MAUs, there's plenty of feedback to action! I'm lucky enough to have a team of talented designers and engineers to work and grow with.


  • How'd you get started? I co-founded a fintech called Holipay (Afterpay for travel) when I was 22. I left big corporate for dead and very quickly discovered that the fastest way to learn is by having a crack yourself. We found product-market fit rapidly, however regulatory concerns and capital constraints led us to wind down the business. From here I joined Spriggy to handle the digital marketing and as most growth people soon realise, the product is your big lever - so here I am!


  • Why do you do what you do? Good question. While quite Nihilistic, I don't think there's much point to most things, so it's important that we all consider this question deeply and empathise with our own internal drivers. For me, I want to achieve financial independence and acquire transferable skills that allow me to solve an important problem that's highly neglected, important and tractable. A lot of my thinking is derived from 80,000 Hours. Feel free to hit me up if you've got common interests, questions or think Spriggy is a place you'd like to be. I'm friendly, I swear!

Co-Founder & CEO @ Sperospace

  • What are you working on? My startup, Sperospace, is developing robotic systems for in-space satellite assembly and servicing. Legacy satellites suffered from launch constraints and reliability issues caused by an inability to be upgraded or repaired post-launch. Our technology ensures next-generation satellites are optimised for their value-generating mission instead of being focused on surviving launch.


  • How'd you get started? It was about being aware and taking advantage of the opportunities that were presented when the Australian space industry started booming two years ago. I've always been passionate about space and received plenty of guidance from industry veterans which provided the knowledge foundation to found a startup. If you're someone looking to start a business, don't be the guy who dives headfirst into an industry with a solution (blockchain) without first understanding the problem.


  • Why do you do what you do? I do what I do because I want to make a truly global impact, and the best to do that is to help build the orbital infrastructure that makes it easier for humans to utilise and travel to space. Admittedly a big bite to chew, but I'm rather persistent once I get started.

Founder @ Pocketi and UX Designer @ Servian

  • What are you working on? Pocketi aims to collect happy moments into enduring moments with our Pocket T-Shirt. I am working on bringing the next limited edition of collectable Pocket T-Shirts for National Taco/Nacho Day and preparing my campaign for that!


  • How'd you get started? Like other entrepreneurs, we all have a problem to solve. I got started because I was frustrated there wasn’t a donut t-shirt specific to my likings. The shirt I was looking for needed to have a donut in a pocket and a drip at the front to symbolise overflowing of happiness. After researching, I realised that there wasn’t a lot of food-themed pocket t-shirts at all. I found a niche in this and now, my goal is for Pocketi to become the leading collectable pocket t-shirt.


  • Why do you do what you do? I am combining my passion for FOOD (big foodie fan here), my core skills in design, and my love of building relationships with people. Not many jobs out there are aligned with your passion, and Pocketi has brought out my hidden strength into a practical, real-world application.

  • What are you working on? I'm working on building a more connected world and helping people enlarge their ambitions in life, culture, and career by turning them into polyglots. Culturestride is an online language school offering Mandarin and Cantonese taught by native teachers from China.


  • How'd you get started? I lived in Shanghai for all of 2019 and was taught by an amazing Chinese teacher that wanted to go independent. In Australia, I quickly discovered that the status quo of language education in Australia could be improved immensely so I worked to build something that solved both problems.


  • Why do you do what you do? I believe that amazing things happen when you break down barriers so I'm trying to enable a culture of acceptance and connection where people can connect with others who were not born in the same circumstances. In particular, I love hearing students talk about connecting to family members and finally being able to build a deeper relationship with them.

  • What are you working on? I’m working to build a network of smart lockers, available for you to reserve and use on-demand with your phone. Found in convenient locations, where you just want to be hands-free.


  • How'd you get started? It all started as an idea within the UNSW Peter Farrell Cup Pitching competition in 2018, with my co-founders Vanessa, Adrian, and Ben. We hustled to mock-up the app and Yellowbox locker to test our ideas with customers and partners and ended up coming 2nd. From there we decided to develop the product, participated in the 10x Accelerator Program before launching into the market.


  • Why do you do what you do? Countless times when I was in the city either after work or university, I found myself carrying around a workbag or backpack. I would have to either cop it the whole night or trek it home just to put my stuff down. Our motto at Yellowbox is to ‘let life fit around you’, giving people the freedom to be hands-free and stress-free. In relation to building and working on a startup, it is the ability to create something that impacts how people live their lives and learning at an unimaginable pace.

  • What are you working on? We've developed an MVP which allows you to queue virtually for any location before you even arrive at the place. You simply join from a weblink, and through your geolocation and position in the queue, we'll let you know exactly when you need to head over, so you arrive right as you get to the front. We're in experimentation stage at the moment and searching for early adopters, and plan to hack in a few extra features such as paid priority queuing in the near future.


  • How'd you get started? We've gone through a few pivots, and probably still have some to go through. Our original idea was a live airport information app (flight updates/maps) that works seamlessly anywhere you go, but the startup cost was very high, not to mention, the travel industry got messed up this year. However, since one part of that solution was virtual queuing, we did a target market pivot and decided to focus on potential customers that are easier to get to.


  • Why do you do what you do? For years I've run my own freelancing software business, so I guess you could say I've been conditioned to only want to work for myself. Moreover, I find the challenge of starting your own business, rather than joining an existing one, super intriguing and rewarding. I'm constantly reading business books (The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is my bible), and teaching myself what best practices are, so I have faith that even if it takes longer than is comfortable, we'll be able to figure something out. And that's super fun :)