Startup maven Holly Cardew of Pixc has three million reasons to move to Queensland

Nurtured to success in the Silicon Valley the 29 year-old entrepreneur is fresh off the plane and back in Queensland to create the next innovation valley.

Holly Cardew
“In Brisbane there are a lot of successful people but people don’t talk about it,” she says.“Finding these people and bringing them into the ecosystem here is going to be the challenge.”

Founder of content optimisation software Pixc, Holly is being supported by HotDesQ and Advance Queensland to relocate from San Francisco to Brisbane.

“People here understand the importance of tech and innovation and you are not alone, they do want you to succeed,” the young entrepreneur says.

“Tech and innovation is the next boom in Australia, we have some really smart people in Australia we just don’t have the knowledge yet because we haven’t seen the success the Valley has seen.”

After two successful years growing Pixc in Silicon Valley, Holly is home to stamp her learnings on new products and innovations. She firmly believes it is the support networks and talent you build around yourself which influence your success, an ethos she hopes will help establish Queensland as the next Silicon Valley.

“In San Francisco you can have the craziest idea and no one is going to say no and no one will stop you. People will encourage you and say ‘how can I help you do that’? And that needs to be in Australia between the corporates, the investors and the start-ups,” she says.

“Investors need to realise it can take some time and people who have made it need to re-invest time, mentoring and money into the ecosystem, which is exactly what Queensland wants to happen.”

She is no stranger to joining and utilising innovation communities and hubs. Pixc has been through Telstra’s muru-D program and 500 Startups in the USA and Holly is now looking forward to sharing her learnings and telling her stories to Queenslanders.

Holly started her first business in 2012 in Orange NSW building e-commerce sites to help country retailers sell their goods to city people.

“Their biggest problem was their product photos, and I thought ‘why can’t they take a photo and quickly have it edited and fix it up for their site or marketplace?”

So Holly created and launched Pixc in 2014 and in her first week a Queensland based business submitted 800 images for treatment and overseas customers flooded the site.

Realising the problem was not unique to regional sellers, Holly quickly set about creating a new solution to a global problem.

“We had global customers from the first month,” says Holly. “So I went to the USA six months later.”

Pixc allows retailers and store owners across the world access to affordable high quality imagery to successfully sell their products through e-commerce and online stores. People submit basic product photos to Pixc where a team of graphic designers in 24-hours turn images into shining content fit for the world’s online retail spaces.

“If they want to be competitive and top of mind for the consumers they need to sell on eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping, Yahoo Shopping and Facebook marketplace,” says Holly.


In an age where online shoppers can’t physically touch or inspect the products they may buy, Pixc allows customers to virtually explore something before they buy it.

Pixc has processed more than three million images and employs 16 people from Queensland and abroad. Along the way Holly has had challenges, competitors and roadblocks but prefers to call them ‘pivots’ in her journey which force her to come up with something new rather than stop.

Relocating from the USA only three weeks ago Holly and her team have settled into the Hot DesQ River City Labs office space. Filled with other expatriates and innovators also lured from across the globe the talented community is one of a network of innovation hubs established across Queensland.

Holly is excited to network with other successful Australian business people and share ideas with others on how to solve business problems with technology.

“I think ‘ok this year I have this much time and this much money in the bank and I have these resources how am I going to play to win’,” she says.

What is next for Holly? She is busy trying to find Queensland talent to help her create artificial intelligence and software to automate business processes in retail.

“In ten years everybody is going to need a virtual reality store and creating the content for the virtual reality store is going to be critical. How is David Jones going to create 3-D content in a fast and effective way?” says Holly.

So if you want to join her in Brisbane she’s currently hiring for engineers and marketers to embark on her next journey.