Bachelor of Science in Computing Science, 2001
Founder and CEO, ServiceRocket
UTS Chancellor's Award for Excellence; UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2017 - Faculty of Engineering & IT
In 2001, just before he graduated from UTS, 21-year-old Rob Castaneda used a few hundred dollars to launch the technology business that would later come to be known around the world as ServiceRocket.
“One of the beautiful things about UTS is the industry focus and practicality of the courses,” he says. “Everything is structured to help you navigate your way in your industry.” Castaneda credits his mentors within the Faculty of Engineering and IT – former Industry Liaison Manager Des Saunders and Research Associate Dr George Feuerlicht – with helping him find suitable projects during and after his studies. In turn, Castaneda has regularly supported mentoring and scholarship programs for UTS students and even taught alongside his mentors.
What I try to encourage in everyone is an interest in making a difference because there’s so much disparity in the world. The more we learn about other people, empathise with them and look for ways to help, the better our communities become.
“They really opened my eyes to what was possible in the world,” says Castaneda. “So I’m inspired to help other people smash through some barriers and make a difference.”
Since its inception, ServiceRocket has built a reputation for helping non-technical people and programmers alike do more with software. Employing more than 200 people in Sydney, Palo Alto, Kuala Lumpur and Santiago, and with company earnings in the tens of millions, ServiceRocket has gone from strength to strength and Castaneda has been celebrated as one of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest, recognised as one of the ‘40-under-40’ entrepreneurs by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
In 2016, in partnership with Australian software company Atlassian, ServiceRocket was approached by Facebook to be one of its global launch partners for ‘Workplace by Facebook’. Meanwhile, NASA sought ServiceRocket’s expertise with software for the Mars mission.
Castaneda was recognised by President Barack Obama for his role in co-ordinating a global entrepreneurship program between American and Muslim entrepreneurs. As a proud member of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Castaneda hopes to motivate his team members, business partners and even the students he mentors to find greater purpose for money than just acquiring “stuff” for themselves.
“What I try to encourage in everyone is an interest in making a difference because there’s so much disparity in the world. The more we learn about other people, empathise with them and look for ways to help, the better our communities become.”