Media Release, 14 July 2015

Red Robot, an innovative design and manufacturing business that has taken portable photo booths into the social media age, is the 2015 Telstra ACT Business of the Year.

Founders and directors Duncan Amos and Phil Preston took their first steps towards creating a successful export business back in 2008 when starting to build portable booths in a Canberra garage.

Running their own photo booth rental company at the time, the pair saw the opportunity to create a new generation of portable and durable photo booths for rental start-up operators, existing operators and commercial clients attracted to customised and branded models.

Boosted by an ACT Government Innovation grant in 2012 to develop a prototype, Red Robot has kicked on to become Australia’s largest commercial photo booth supplier and an exporter and winner of design awards.

Phil Preston says: “Innovation is imperative to us leading our industry. As a result, we prioritise innovation in every aspect of our business from product design through to internal processes.”

Red Robot has built a reputation for delivering customised photo stations in traditional or modular form for brands and marketing firms looking for customer engagement via social media photo sharing.

Its expertise won it a BBC Worldwide contract last year to build a TARDIS photo booth for the Australian launch of the latest Doctor Who TV series.

Integrating software and a simple touch screen interface, users could post their images – and expand the Doctor Who brand on social media – to friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email.

“The photo booth industry is niche, young and growing rapidly. So our vision is to lead the industry into an evolution of operating smarter, being more adaptable and approaching bigger markets,” Phil Preston says.

“Our goal is to provide the technology, sharing our knowledge and concepts, so that people can operate a photo booth hire business with less hassle, in less time while reducing costs and increasing profits.”

Other winners of the 2015 Telstra ACT Business Awards named tonight at QT Canberra include novated car leasing business alliance Leasing, property and construction industry consultants Barmco Mana Partnership, and Synergy Group Australia, specialists in accounting and consulting services for government agencies.

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, said: “The four ACT winners are brilliant and inspiring businesses that are being celebrated for innovation, industry leadership, creative use of technology and their contribution to the local economy.

“Red Robot is a very innovative business with a leading Australian-made product that also has a great marketing plan and future vision.

“The Telstra Awards judges were impressed by the strong rigour around its business and growth plans and the product diversity plans for its range of portable, classic fully-enclosed or modular photo stations, as well as its social media marketing tools,” Mr Irving said.

Winners of the 2015 Telstra ACT Business Awards are:

Start-up Award
alliance Leasing Deakin
alliance Leasing was established to assist employers with their staff retention strategies by offering the benefits of novated car leasing. Although the industry is highly competitive, founder Michael Lindgren believed there was a better way to offer real time service based on using technology to do the transactional work, leaving more time to talk with people. The business employs former professional rugby players who brought a discipline, competitive and ambitious attitude to the start-up company. The Telstra Judges said the business had a very clear vision, great competitor analysis, and a strategic, targeting employment plan. It was very customer-focused, showed operational excellence and had a marketing plan in line with its defined niche.

Micro Business Award
Barmco Mana Partnership Forrest
Barmco Mana Partnership offers consulting expertise in the management of building projects, specialised engineering services and related activities within the property and construction industries. Starting as Brad Armstrong’s one-man operation in 1998, Barmco Mana Partnership was created in 2008 when fellow senior engineer Steve Wheelhouse became joint partner. Servicing private and government clients, it operates in the ACT, NSW and national for buildings leased by the Commonwealth Government. Telstra Judges said the business has strong operational excellence, processes and procedures, and a clear presence in Canberra. They also praised the strength of its marketing plan, financial planning and risk management procedures.

Small Business Award
Red Robot Downer

Medium Business Award

Synergy Group Barton
With Canberra’s consulting market long dominated by the ‘Big 4’ accounting firms, Patrick Quade had grand ambitions to shake things up. Synergy Group Australia was established in 1999 and specialises in accounting and consulting services for government agencies, covering all aspects of government financial requirements from legislation, business processes, information systems, audit, governance, risk and compliance. In 16 years, it has grown from two founding partners to a team of 70. Telstra Judges said the consultancy has a very strong growth plan and is a trusted, solid company. They said all processes are documented, it has a great recruitment plan, continuity of work, a strong marketing plan, staff retention, and great cash flow.

Telstra ACT Business of the Year
Red Robot

Winners of the Telstra ACT Business Awards will now proceed to the 2015 Telstra Australian Business Awards that will be announced in Sydney on 20 August.

For more information about the Awards or to nominate for the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Awards, visit or call 1800AWARDS between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday. The Awards were established in 1992 to celebrated brilliant Australian small and medium businesses.