oZAPP Awards targets budding developers with $300,000 prize pool

The prize pool at the upcoming oZAPP Awards, aimed at emerging Australian app developers, has grown to $300,000 after US-based chipmaker Qualcomm announced it will contribute $US100,000.


The oZAPP Awards, to be held in Perth in February, is a competition to identify Australia’s best mobile app concepts. The winners will receive resources to build and launch their apps.


The organising committee of the awards includes Larry Lopez from Australian Venture Consultants and Bill Tai from US-based Charles River Ventures.


Tai, who has been described as a “legendary” venture capitalist, is also chairing the judging panel.


Applications for the oZAPP Awards close this Friday. According to Rohan McDougal from major sponsor Curtin University, it is the largest mobile app competition in the country.


Selected finalists will be invited to pitch their app concept to a contingent of 30-40 developers, entrepreneurs and investors from Silicon Valley, as well as a significant national audience.


The event will feature keynote speakers such as Othman Laraki, vice president of growth and international product at Twitter, and Lars Rasmussen, founder of Google Maps and director of engineering at Facebook.


Both Laraki and Rasmussen are also on the judging panel.


Keen to be involved in the awards, US-based company Qualcomm Incorporated has confirmed it will sponsor a US$100,000 convertible note through its venture arm Qualcomm Ventures.


Headquartered in San Diego, Qualcomm is a world leader in 3G and next generation mobile technologies. The prize will be awarded to one of the top 10 finalists.


According to Tai, an angel investor in mobile apps, starting up a business is a lot like surfing.


“There are three places you can be with respect to the wave – in front, on or behind it,” Tai said in a statement.


“If you are behind, it is impossible to swim up the back and get in front to ride. In this instance, being early feels a lot like being wrong.


“But if you hit it just right, it only takes a couple of easy strokes and you are up and riding.”


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