A New Reality

  • Small Business

Using the latest Augmented Reality tech, NAB customer Grub Lab transforms traditional colouring-in activity packs into interactive 3D experiences.

  • 09.02.2023
  • Time to read 1 min read


Being the dad of three super active boys, Mick Carr knew firsthand how difficult it was to keep the kids entertained when they went out for a family meal.

“Going out to dinner with my boys was very hard work. Keeping them seated at the table to get an extra half an hour at the venue for a dessert or to finish your drinks was tough.”

Being an established entrepreneur with a history of innovative tech, Mick felt no one was better positioned or motivated to solve this problem.

“After submerging myself in the food service industry, the nugget of gold we found was in the family dining sector where 93% of all family dining decisions were influenced by the kids and most venues didn’t give this sector of the market any attention”

Child using an iPad with the Grub Lab software showing the Richmond Tigers Mascot

Solving the problem
An entrepreneur at heart, Mick set to work designing a solution: Grub Lab.

Grub Lab is a NAB customer and indigenously owned startup based in Kurri Kurri, a small town in the regional Hunter Valley region of NSW. Using the latest Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Grub Lab developed a platform that transforms traditional coloring-in activity packs into fun and interactive 3D experiences available in pubs, clubs and restaurants across Australia.

“Augmented reality is putting a digital asset like a footy mascot, minions or dinosaurs in the physical world.”

“We have some magic that our techs have built for our platform. We take the kids drawing and colouring in, we then capture the textures and colours and put that back into the real world.”

“My three boys are mad NRL fans, so they love using augmented reality to bring their favourite mascots to life in the real world from what they’ve created”



Backing Innovators
Grub Lab is considered a leader in this field of AR, though there were many hurdles to get there.

“We spent 18 months building the product and launched two weeks before covid.  Hospitality had shut down, but we were lucky we had a good team and the confidence to keep on going.”

While Grub Lab is an indigenously owned business, Mick is quick to point out that this doesn’t define them.

“Some of the biggest challenges facing indigenous businesses are connections and knowledge.”

“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt on this start-up journey and business is how important the relationship is with a banker. Adam Fletcher’s (NAB’s Associate Director for Indigenous Business) knowledge and connections have allowed us to navigate the finance world.”

“You can’t do business on your own so to have someone on your team like Adam opening up resources and knowledge has been invaluable.”

Growing regional businesses 
Operating a tech start-up from regional Australia provides some unique challenges and opportunities.

“No one expects us to be based in Kurri.”

“There’re some challenges to attract the right people because of where we are based. Having big brands and the cool augmented reality technology we’re building in house helps. What we find is once people come to Kurri and experience our team and culture, and the cost of living, they can see the advantages of living out of the cities.”

Grub Lab’s success has allowed Mick to support the community with job opportunities outside of the mining-heavy industries of the region.

“One of our 3D artists Chloe was 17 and working in the local IGA. She showed us her artwork and we snapped her up. She’s now working with the biggest brands in the world and chasing her passion without having to go to the big smoke.”

NAB Chair Phil Chronican meeting the team at Grub Lab

“It’s important to understand the needs of Indigenous businesses and to do that it’s powerful to have people who have got affiliation to indigenous community but are also bankers.”

Phil Chronican, NAB Chair

Supporting communities 
NAB has a critical role in supporting the thriving Indigenous business sector and provides a cultural bridge between Indigenous business owners and the financial world to deliver innovative solutions that can help communities prosper.

“It’s important to understand the needs of Indigenous businesses and to do that it’s powerful to have people who have got affiliation to indigenous community but are also bankers. By bringing those together we can start to see some opportunities.” says NAB Chair Phil Chronican.

As Australia’s leading business bank, NAB is heavily focused on building strong and successful relationships that last.

“I’m excited by the brands we have and the platform we have. The fact that we’re punching well above our weight from regional Hunter Valley is exciting. NAB being on board supporting us is super cool.”

NAB is committed to understanding and supporting the thriving Indigenous business sector and provides a cultural bridge between Indigenous business owners and the financial world. 

NAB supports the Indigenous Voice to Parliament in our constitution as critical to furthering their economic and social aspirations. 

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