Start-up spotlight: Schematiq

The origins and journey of Australian social media consulting firm, Schematiq

Schematiq co-founders, Martin Frinking and Téa Smith

Schematiq co-founders, Martin Frinking and Téa Smith

Utilising social media in the enterprise may well be one of the hot IT discussion topics of the moment, but for Australian IT management start-up, Schematiq, many social media projects are being stymied by a lack of strategy, planning and proper implementation.

A shared frustration at seeing social media projects fail to deliver on their great potential caused IT management consultant, Martin Frinking, and online strategy advisor, Téa Smith, to team up in February this year to form Schematiq.

Computerworld Australia sat down with Frinking and Smith to discuss their start-up journey, the challenges in getting the business up and running, and the importance of teamwork.

What does Schematiq do?

Martin: We basically offer consulting services and we’re specifically focused on strategic use of social media, and the implementation of social media tools and e-collaboration tools.

What are the origins of Schematiq?

Martin: We started by [having] a lot of common shared frustration between Téa and myself. I’ve worked in IT for a long time as an IT manager and I know there’s a lack of strategy, lack of foresight and insight, planning implementation of IT systems, and a lot of wasting of money that goes on. And Téa has noticed the same around the use of social media.

Téa: I come from a creative and digital background. We saw a lot of overlap in our frustration so we thought that there was something there.

Martin: We both came from a different angle — myself from an IT management angle and Téa from a creative angle. We were frustrated by the lack of insight and foresight. We really wanted to tackle that using IT tools strategically. I think that’s the key.

What’s the reason for creating this start-up?

We feel we’ve been working in organisations that don’t necessarily do that. We actually think there’s a lot of value to be gained by businesses, by putting their own strategy first. So a business wants to achieve something, they come up with a strategy to achieve it, and I think our strategy drives strategic objectives and systems are there to support those. If that’s not the case, then why are they spending and IT dollar in the first place?

We specialise in social media because that is a really strong background for Téa, and I [also] feel very comfortable with that.

How did you get started?

Martin: Well, I was doing some work over in Perth and I met Téa there who was a leading Twitter specialist in the Perth. We got talking, we shared a lot of ideas, and hit it off at a personal level. Because we shared a lot of frustration and a lot of ideas, we saw an opportunity.

Téa: I’ve had a business before and I’m sort of more wired to the entrepreneurial side. I had my job situation change and it started as a, ‘Hey Martin, ever thought about doing digital?’ It just went from there. It snowballed pretty much into what it is at the moment and it continues to evolve. We noticed that there was something there.

Martin: In December-ish, we figured out that we shared an idea which was around social media engagement and customer engagement, and we really wanted to do something together. We noticed that we work well together. That’s how we got started. We founded the company in February this year.

What are some of the challenges that you have experienced so far?

Téa: Predominantly cash flow has been the big challenge because we’re both boot strapping the whole thing. We’re both trying to live while we set this thing up, and we’re both accustomed to a certain level of income. So that’s been the biggest challenge.

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