Introducing our Best Startup finalists for the 2014 StartupSmart Awards

With so many excellent and diverse startups out there, picking only five startups to celebrate as candidates for the big title this year was never going to be easy.

 

The following were picked based on the strength of the idea and how well the company has performed on their early goals.

 

The winner will be announced at the StartupSmart awards night. You can follow the awards night with the hashtag #susawards.

 

b2cloud

 

Mobile app development is a booming industry, with this startup well placed to make the most of it, already working with major brands such as Virgin Mobile and the official Sydney New Year’s apps for Telstra.

 

Founded by Luke Smorgon and Josh Guest, b2Cloud brought in over almost $1 million last year.

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The team are keen to stay ahead of the crowd and are already experimenting with apps for wearable technology such as Google Glass and Galaxy Gear.

 

Tommy Swiss

 

Online furniture retailer Tommy Swiss launched with a new way of buying furniture.

 

Founder Jimmy Du says there appeared to be only three options: aggregators and drop shippers; local focused offerings; and importer focused stores. All had their pros and cons, especially around delivery.

 

Du’s hybird model, where 50% is exclusive to his brand, is working for him: the company brought in over $2 million in revenue last year.

 

Paws for Life

 

Pet supplies may not sound like a rich opportunity for startups at first, but when you consider the prevalence of pets and how much their owners are willing to spend on them, it becomes a very attractive industry quickly.

 

For the Paws of Life cofounders Mike Frizell and James Edwards, it was too good an opportunity to miss, as they saw the millions of venture capital dollars being poured into similar online offerings in the US.

 

The company made $5 million in revenue last year and is growing rapidly.

 

The founders spoke to StartupSmart about their $1.5 million raise and growth plans last year.

 

Bugcrowd

 

Online security is a multibillion-dollar industry set to keep growing for years to come. Crowdsourcing is also a burgeoning phenomenon. This startup is right in the sweet spot to ride both waves.

Founded by Casey Ellis and Chris Raethke, BugCrowd runs competitions, known as bug bounties, with professional hackers and testers for big clients who want to make sure their websites are as safe as possible.

 

Built on a marketplace model, the company made over $250,000 in revenue last year.

 

Ellis spoke to StartupSmart about their $1.6 million fundraising round, moving to the US and learning to speak American in September last year.

 

Wine Cru (Vinomofo)

 

After a couple of years trying to find the right business model to monetise their passion, wine deals site founders Andre Eikmeier, Justin Dry and Leigh Morgan have settled on one that brought in over $10 million in revenue last year.

 

Taking on the two biggest grocery sellers in the country, Vinomofo connects wine consumers to deals and a wider range of winemakers.

 

In the past six months, the user base has almost doubled, and their e-commerce rates have skyrocketed.

 

Eikmeier spoke to StartupSmart about the struggle to find the right business model and the risks they took to make it work in November last year.

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