Scott McKeon came up with his big idea while doing something every uni student in the world is well practiced in: procrastinating. While frantically toggling between windows, putting the finish touches on an assignment for the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, his groupmate and now cofounder Will Scuderi bemoaned a lack of a second screen on their laptops.
Fast forward a year and Scott, Will and third cofounder Matt Childs have launched a global Kickstarter campaign for their company Espresso Displays, selling a second screen that could improve the lives of millions of knowledge workers around the world.
The pitch for Espresso Displays is simple. It’s your office in a bag, a workspace you can take anywhere and plug in when you need it. And it’ll work with anything USB-C enabled – a phone, a laptop, a tablet. “It has so many uses,” says Scott. “You can turn your phone into a tablet or your MacBook into a touch screen for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy those products outright.”
Getting from classroom to a customer-ready product has involved a year-long deep dive into the startup hustle.
After graduating from UTS and returning from Nepal, where he was working with Australian social enterprise Unbound on community infrastructure projects, he moved in with co-founder Will so they could work closely on the business.
Scott says their share house in North Sydney resembles an updated version of the stereotypical founders’ garage. “There are 3D printers, computers running, cables and wires everywhere. It’s pretty fun,” he laughs.
After getting another co-founder on board and producing the first prototypes, the next step was manufacturing. Scott was soon off to China, and then to India, as part of the SSE Young Entrepreneurs International Bootcamp, supported by the NSW Government.
SSE Startup Stories: Scott McKeon
While Scott had travelled to India before, the Bootcamp gave him a focussed lens and helped him establish lasting connections, both domestically and overseas. “It was 10 incredible days with a very diverse group of startups and people,” he says.
“There was a great vibe, and the group was very open, collaborative and supporting. We are still chatting on WhatsApp and there’s a lot of opportunity to share skills and provide ongoing support.”
Scott admits that he was sceptical of entrepreneurial education at first – how can you teach something that’s never been done before? – but is now a convert. “SSE helped me work out what are the tools in my shed, what paths can I follow, how do I construct the roadmap and who are the crucial people I need to partner with.”
Add in the life lessons he’s picked up along the way from his co-founders and mentors, a determined work ethic and a bit of luck, and you’ve got a recipe for success for Scott.
The next step for Espresso Displays is a successful Kickstarter, targeting freelancers, digital nomads, and the one in three Australians that Scott says work from home at least once a week.
From there, they want to go big. Looking at the B2B market, they are hoping to have conversations with co-working spaces in Australia to supply second screens in their buildings and do custom builds for design-oriented Australian success stories like Atlassian and Canva, that align with their values.
For now, Scott and the Espresso Displays team are just excited to be riding a wave of innovation. “Flexible displays, transparent smart glass, rollable screens…it’s incredible,” he says. “How we interact with screens is going to be very different in 5 years.”
And, driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, Espresso Displays are determined to be at the forefront of that change.