Tekuma takes control of its growth plans with FD Global

Imagine disrupting technology that hasn’t been updated in more than 80 years. That’s exactly what Tekuma is doing. The Australian startup is developing a controller that enables users to operate drones, robots & other devices with more freedom than ever – intuitively manoeuvring devices with one hand instead of clunky, two-handed joysticks.

Given the limited size of the Australian market, the promising company had already spent lots of time exploring international opportunities – making nine trips to China and Hong Kong in a little over a year. Those trips resulted in valuable contacts, manufacturers and growing recognition but failed to deliver what the business really needed – customers.

After spending a bit of time studying in the US, Tekuma co-founder Annette McClelland decided to take a closer look at how the business could maximise its opportunities in the market. She and her co-founder Michael Griffin turned to FD Global Connection’s NYC Immersion program to test the idea with investors and potential customers and lay a foundation for expansion. There, Annette met with experts and experienced investors who were eager to learn more about Tekuma’s work.

“We have often found that Australian investors are not very open to hardware-based technology companies, so it was really great to meet with VCs who are focused on robotics and hardware and professionals who had significant knowledge in their respective fields.”

Annette says that while they initially wanted to participate in the NYC Immersion program as a way to get a taste for the market, they have now found themselves preparing to move even faster than expected.

 “Our market in Australia is too small, so we have to be open to going to the US as early as possible and this program has been an incredible way to kickstart that process,” said Annette.

“I feel more confident in the prospect of actually going to the US market earlier than we planned. With the support of incredible people like Trena Blair and others from FD Global Connections, Lab 1492 and the other participating founders, Tekuma is truly in a great position to succeed.”

Tekuma has started to sell its controllers to local students competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition, a US-based organisation and is eager to make another trip back to the States to continue building relationships with manufacturers and partners.