My First Great Idea
Benjamin Levi is the co-founder of Code Camp (teaching thousands of school students to code) and founder of RentingSmart (online landlord software), a founding member of Fishburners, helped launch Mon Purse (customise and personalise your own clutch or handbag), the guy who proposed via Angry Birds, and the creator of his very own Gelato Messina flavour (Chillax Princess)!
- What was your first great idea? It could be a business idea or concept and it doesn’t matter how old you were when you had it.
My first great idea was to work for my mentor! I learned an incredible amount about business in general, online businesses, analytics and leadership by being around an incredibly successful entrepreneur all day and working within his business. From there, I created my First Great (Commercial) Idea – RentingSmart. RentingSmart is an online landlord software that assists landlords when it comes to listing their properties online and managing their properties without a real estate agent. My next great idea was to have my own Gelato Messina flavour (Chillax Princess), and then Code Camp.
- What was the driver for this idea? How did it come about? When did it come about?
After working in software and technology for a number of years, and dealing with the headaches of my property manager, I simply thought that there had to be a better, more organised way to manage my investment property. After looking around, not finding anything great on the market, and speaking to other property owners who were self-managing I decided to design and then build the RentingSmart system. More importantly it built a passion for coding and being able to build anything.
- Where has it taken you today and where are you now?
In 2013, after being in the app/start-up industry and being asked by so many students to teach them how to code, Pete Neill (an ex-teacher who taught himself how to code, and fellow member of Fishburners) and myself started teaching school students how to code and build iPhone apps! What started as a hobby, with 8 students in our first camp in December 2013 is today a growing business (Code Camp – www.codecamp.com.au) with over 200 employees having taught over 4,000 students.
- What advice would you give to young innovators or young people considering a career either in technology or using technology?
Find a mentor. Someone you can loop up to, who inspires you and can teach you.
Try everything and see what you enjoy (coding, robotics, entrepreneurship).
Solve your own problems! Both my businesses have come out of a problem I had, and then testing and realising there was a larger market.
Just start. Learn. Iterate.
Stand out and be different.
Don’t be scared of failure or making mistakes. We’ve made many mistakes along the way! Just get good at being honest, bouncing back and responding in the best way possible
- What excites you most about the technology landscape?
The world is changing so fast and providing opportunities to so many more people.
Technology assisting those with disabilities is incredible.
Seeing the passion and engagement with our students as young as 7.
From a commercial perspective it’s the opportunity for global distribution.
…… and seeing what Elon Musk will come out with next!