Makers Empire story
Roland, Jon, Lap and Anthony all grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. Jon and Lap went to high school together and they met Roland at Adelaide University in the late 90s.
After university Roland worked in the gaming industry, firstly at Ratbag Games in Adelaide, and then in Scotland with Realtime Worlds where he won a BAFTA for his work on Xbox 360 title, Crackdown. While working on a PC title, All Points Bulletin, Roland was intrigued by the impressive designs that players created using the game’s simple design tools.
On his return to Adelaide, Roland was inspired to create a 3D design application that would allow users to create and share real world objects ready for 3D printing. So Roland teamed up with Jon, Lap and Anthony and Makers Empire was born in late 2013.
- December 2013: Makers Empire was founded.
- May 2014: Completed the ANZ Innovyz START Accelerator Program and piloted Makers Empire 3D Printing Learning Program in South Australian schools.
- July 2014: Launched Makers Empire in Australia.
- September 2014: Launched Makers Empire in Hong Kong in partnership with distribution partner, Discovery Technologies Solutions Limited, a leading 3D printing solution provider in the region.
- September 2014: Makers Empire is a top 10 finalist in the Global EdTech Startup Awards
- November 2014: Makers Empire is a finalist at the IMS Global Learning Impact Awards Australasian Regional Finals in Melbourne, and also wins the People’s Choice Award.
- December 2014: Launched Ollie Customizer in partnership with the global leader in connected play, Sphero. Developed specifically for use with Sphero’s newest connected toy, Ollie, the Ollie Customizer makes it easy to customize and create unique accessories for the Ollie.
- February 2015: Won SouthStart's Pitch Competition and Audience Favourite award.
- February 2015:Launched a state-wide pilot 3D design and printing program for schools, museums and teacher centres in the State of New York in partnership with the New York State Teacher Centers and the New York Institute of Technology’s Department of Technology Based Learning Systems.
- April 2015: Secured a sales and distribution partnership with Datacom Education, One of Australasia’s leading locally-owned professional learning and IT-based service providers for schools, for the Australian and New Zealand education market.
- May 2015: Won Bronze award at the IMS Global Learning Impact Awards. The awards seek to 'identify exemplary implementations of technology that demonstrate the greatest impact or potential impact to address the challenges facing the global learning segment and possess the greatest potential for generating a positive return on investment.'
- June 2015: Makers Empire receive support for the Makers Empire Learning Program from the Australian Government through Accelerating Commercialisation.
- June 2015: Joint winner of the Start Up Company of the Year award at the SA IAwards 2015.
- June 2015: Makers Empire is a finalist in the Mass Challenge global accelerator based in Boston, USA.
- November 2015: NewSchools Ignite Science Challenge Winner.
- December 2015: QS Stars/Reimagine Education Award shortlist.
Jon Soong, Chief Executive Officer.
Jon is a founding partner of Makers Empire and is married with 2 children and has qualifications in IT and law. Jon's goal is for Makers Empire to change the way the next generation learn by developing tools and programs to massively improve design and creativity skills in students and schools around the world.
Mandi Dimitriadis, Director of Learning Improvement.
Mandi is a qualified and experienced teacher who recognizes the power of technology to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes. Mandi's additional experience in developing programs for the Department of Education ensures she is a great fit to the team.
She has extensive experience with curriculum development and professional learning. She is passionate about Design Thinking and how best to prepare today's students for the future.
Roland Peddie, Chief Technology Officer.
Roland is the creative brains behind the Makers Empire product and is also a founding partner. Roland's significant experience in gaming technology and development coupled with his fascination for how children learn and comprehend make him the perfect fit to lead the Makers Empire engineering team.
Anthony Chhoy, Chief Operating Officer.
As a former Europe & Asia based, Executive Vice President with a significant multinational organisation, Anthony has the experience and capacity to help ensure the commercial success of the Makers Empire story. Anthony is involved because he believes Makers Empire will be a "game changer for the way we teach our kids".
Armin Songhori, Instructional Design.
Armin co-founded NADCo, an educational robotic company, in 2004. He worked as R&D Manage and Board Director there until 2013. He shaped the NADCup competition as the biggest K-12 student robotic event in the Middle East. Armin taught robotic and coding classes for over 5 years.
Lap Leung, Director of Customer Success.
Lap is an expert trainer - he has extensive experience working with teachers and students on new technologies and pedagogies. He has worked in schools in Asia, Australia, and the USA and ran the Guinness World Record's "Largest Software Lesson" in 2015.
Rhys Lindsay, Senior Programmer.
Rhys first used CAD software in his engineering degree. Whilst he enjoyed modeling in 3D he found the software difficult to use and somewhat anti-creative. He's doing something about it now by helping make Makers Empire the world's easiest to use 3D design and printing software.
The Makers Empire Team
The Makers Empire team consists of passionate and focused people across 3 countries with deep experience in education training and curriculum as well as software engineering, systems adminsitration, 3D modeling and design.
Makers Empire Advisory Board
The 7 member Advisory Board meets monthly with the executive and has significant input into the strategic direction of the business as well as ensuring governance, risk and financial performance is appropriate. Qualified and experienced members include experienced educators and company directors as wells as individuals with a proven track record in managing the growth of similar businesses.
Makers Empire Reference Group
The Makers Empire Reference Group meets bi-monthly with key personnel to review programs, product features and plan initiatives. Qualified and experienced members include IT and specialists teachers and coordinators from lighthouse schools involved in the Makers Empire program.