Q and A with a start-up entrepreneur

By Grace Kirk/ entrepreneur
In this No Walls Q&A we feature Brisbane based entrepreneur Darren Tonkin, who is the creator of Storyboard and the winner of the 2016 creative3 pitch.

Storyboard is a ‘discovery’ app filling the void between rich media and blogging. This app allows users to create and share stories by matching photos and videos with the places a user visits. Users can also use the app to explore destinations or discover what other people are up to in their area.


1. What does the Storyboard app do?

Storyboard was built to enable people to easily share their journeys. The platforms that currently exist prompt people to share an individual photo, which really just shares the destination. Special stories and experiences want to be captured and retold.

At Storyboard we believe that everyday people live amazing lives.

Having stories shared online only in a moment before disappearing, doesn’t allow others to immerse themselves in the amazing journey. Social media has become impersonal and all about building desire perception. Storyboard aims to bring back the real aspect, the connection between content creator and content consumer.

2. What inspired you to create Storyboard?

There were two moments I experienced when I was living in Brazil, which inspired me to create Storyboard. The first was when my Granddad was very ill and I was trying to share my stories and adventures to him in great detail over Skype. Talking on Skype while simultaneously trying to explain my various photos quickly revealed to me the evident gaps within the platforms that currently exist.

The second was around highlighting how ignorant I was and am to other people’s lives. In Brazil I was living in a family and they had an amazing woman working for them. She was married with young children and struggling to make her way in life. She would work 14 hour days, coming and going from the house so that she could provide for her children. She had to travel two hours each way to study at night school. Her life was not glamorous; however, it was amazing. What she did to change her circumstances really struck me, and I found myself wanting to understand her story. That’s why when I hear people saying, “my day isn’t interesting so I can’t post often,” it really makes me shake my head. No matter who you are and what you’re doing, people care about your day. People need to put things in perspective. Is Kim Kardashian’s day out shopping really that interesting? People who think their days are not interesting are often wrong.

Ultimately, I want to share stories, and help connect the world, by giving them a true understanding into the life of someone else.

3. How would you describe your creative process?

I think the word “creative” scares people. They think of people like Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo, and question how they could ever create a masterpiece. Creativity to me, is just how I approach the world. I actually connect it to engineering. People say engineering is problem solving, I say it is how you approach the problem.

Approaching a problem in a different way and looking for new methods to use, will give you a new creative outlook. So my creative process is how I approach a problem. I sit down and think of how everyone else is approaching such a problem. Then I find a different way. I have a little black book where I right down all of my ideas, including the crazy ones.

Storyboard is just the one that my heart is in love with.

4. What did you study at university?

I studied Engineering and Business at QUT. From this tertiary experience and my consequent career, I believe there are three ingredients to make students better entrepreneurs and employees.

Firstly, every student should do a double degree. Every company, job, or business, requires you to do more than one thing. So get skills in two areas. This is even more relevant if you are going to start your own company and be an entrepreneur.

Second, go on an exchange. Travelling and seeing the world is important. Being educated by experience is key!

Third, do more than just study. Every university has a club. Join it. You will learn amazing things helping run the local comic club or the university entrepreneur club that will give you a leg up in life. You make amazing friends and grow your network. This is a vital key to success.

The combination of these three things along with my tertiary education helped shape me into the entrepreneur I am today!

Basically, an entrepreneur is an opportunist and I see opportunity in EVERYTHING!

5. What does it mean for yourself and the Storyboard app now that you’ve won the CEA creative3 pitch?

Winning the Creative3 Pitch has provided me with amazing opportunities. I have been able to work with the first class team at QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, who have connected me with people that will help make Storyboard an international platform. Winning Creative3 has also provided me with an opportunity to demonstrate that anyone can succeed in this environment, and we can put Brisbane on the map for upcoming disruptors.

Representing Australia in Denmark provides Storyboard with access to some of the world’s largest investors. The team will participate in boot camp that is run by a Silicon Valley Veteran and we will get to meet ambassadors from various countries around the world.  We even will get to Pitch to the Danish Royal Family!

Telling stories is universal but we want to make it special. This can only truly be achieved by spending time with your customers, the people who are living your next journey.

To discover more about Storyboard, visit the website.