THOUSANDS of would-be authors around the world are seeing their words published thanks to online publishing service 7write developed by entrepreneur Tiffany Hart, formerly of Bermagui and Narooma.
Hart got her big break when her concept was chosen as a winner in the “Startupbootcamp” contest in Europe and she is now based in Amsterdam.
Together with her business partner Mark Harrison originally from Sydney, she moved to the Netherlands and raised a quarter of a million Euros toward her start-up business that is now flourishing with more than 2500 subscribers and five employees.
“I hope my experience will inspire local Bega Valley and Eurobodalla start-ups and people of the Far South Coast to think big and push their ideas and potentially companies forward,” she said.
Speaking from Amsterdam via Skype, she said the past year getting 7write up and running had been a whirlwind, all the more remarkable given the snap decision to follow her dream and move to Europe.
Hart attended Narooma High School from Year 7 to Year 12 and was 2006 Narooma High vice president.
She then attended University of Canberra securing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Advertising and Marketing (Innovation/Entrepreneurship).
She then continued to expand her business career working in Canberra heading up project management for the third largest real estate website in Australia.
Her focus turned to the world of self-publishing and the idea was born for a company to help people around the world write and self-publish their books.
“Together with Mark, we built a platform to make book publishing easy and accessible to everyone - a way to challenge the current publishing model and change the way we publish,” she said.
“We applied for different global business accelerators and were selected into three - Hawaii, Dubai and Amsterdam.
“We chose to accept the position with European accelerator 'Startupbootcamp' Amsterdam run by the founding fathers of Endemol creators of Big Brother etc and with two weeks’ notice packed up our jobs and lives in Canberra and moved to Amsterdam.”
Through an intense three-month process, they raised a quarter of a million Euros from their original Paypal investor plus a consortium from European and Australian investors.
7write.com was the first team out of nine to raise investment within the program, and was one of Microsoft Netherlands chosen start-ups of 2013.
Hart and Harrison presented their final pitch to the Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, finally pivoting and tweaking their product to be a cash-generating global publishing platform servicing authors and publishers within 12 months.
The 7write website allows authors to copy and paste their works directly into its “bookmaker” platform and then choose which online stores to publish to including Amazon, iBooks and Barnes&Noble.
Authors can edit their works, develop a book cover and track their sales, and in turn the company gets a percentage of royalties, with the potential for the big publishing houses to pick up the online versions and turn them into hard-copy books.
The clientele is mainly based in the United States as well as South America and Spain, but they are hoping to raise awareness in Australia.
Hart plans to return to Australia next month for the first time in over a year to spread the word about 7write.com and to visit her family and father and mother Garry and Robbie Hart in Bermagui, owners of Miracles by the Sea eco hair salon.
She credited the people of the Far South Coast for giving her great upbringing and education, mentioning fellow Bermagui resident and Four Winds Festival chairperson Sheena Boughen.
“Sheena was a wonderful mentor - she saw something in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams in the later years of high school,” Hart said.
“She got me to volunteer over consecutive years at the Four Winds Festival and I was always so impressed what our community could pull off together - lead by a great female leader - Sheena!”
Boughan, who just oversaw the fantastically successful 2014 Four Winds Festival, has fond memories of Tiffany.
“From an early age, Tiffany had a sparkle in her eye and a curiosity about the world,” she said.
“I remember her leaning forward to understand the world and what I was doing in it. Not afraid to challenge authority or consider a better way of doing things, she took on the hierarchy at her high school to encourage them to accept invitations to have live music in the school.
“I am just so thrilled to see her using courage to promote her ideas in a bigger world.”
Hart meanwhile said she potential in the publishing market - people in need of a platform that helps authors distribute their work to the world to reach as many potential readers as possible.
“Authors and publishers are looking for a platform that centralises the entire digital publishing process so they can focus on what they do best,” she said.
“I also have a strong background in the performing arts so I was passionate to join the project as 7write was innovating in a tradition industry that hasn't been challenged to grow and adapt since the Gutenberg Press.”
Her husband Matt Dippl, who is Munich born but spent 13 years in Sydney and Canberra, has been writing a book so she saw the pain he experienced first-hand trying to self-publish his book.
She once again credited the Narooma Bermagui community for giving her own best “start-up” in life.
“Being exposed to such top quality community members I saw leadership as something I wanted to develop further,” she said.
“In 2012 I was chose to participate in the Women and Leadership Australia Program throughout the year where they selected a range of women from around the country to fast track their development as leaders.
“Others that were pinnacle to my development as a young lady were the old Theatre Susso crew, including writer Chris Dickens, director Ricki Tandy, Robin Sedgwick, Mick Malouf, Louise Hankinson - to name a few.
“And of course dad and mum - amazing friends, always encouraged and let me free range to find what I was inspired to do in life!”