Twenty-three start-ups will pitch to a panel of investors and start-up veterans for prizes ranging from meetings with mentors to tens of thousands of dollars at the upcoming Tech23 conference in October.
The start-ups come from a range of sectors including robotics, app development and software-as-a-service.
Marita Cheng, founder executive at robotic arm-maker 2Mar Robotics and chief told StartupSmart the competition was a great networking opportunity for her team.
“It’s a great way to get the message out there about my company and to meet other entrepreneurs and some investors, as well as refine my pitch and have the chance to earn some prize money as well,” she says.
2Mar Robotics launched in April, and is currently refining the second iteration of its product and taking pre-orders. Cheng has been passionate about robotics since she was very young.
“When I was growing up, my mum wanted me to do the chores but I would do it begrudgingly, and thought a robot would be better. And there were none, so I thought, why can’t I be the one who brings them into the world?” Cheng says.
Nicholas Tong, co-founder and chief executive at fall detection and elderly support watch company Edisse told StartupSmart the conference was very well regarded and they’d been encouraged to apply by several mentors.
“The competition will put us in contact with people we wouldn’t usually be able to reach,” Tong says, adding while they’ve been pitching since they launched the start-up eight months ago, they’ve recently been focusing on product development.
“Pitches are iterative in themselves. We’ll get a whole bunch of questions after one pitch and re-factor that in. We’ll need to have another look at it, as we haven’t been pitching as much recently as we’ve been focusing on the second iteration of the product,” he says.
Tong says his team is looking forward to pitching their idea, and getting people excited about the elderly, who he believes have been overlooked for decades.
“Our team quickly knew we didn’t just want to build another social start-up or app. We wanted to create something that had real impact, and we realised falls was a major one. And if you look at the market, it seems like no one really cares and there’s been no innovation,” Tong says.
The speaker line-up for the day will include Alan Noble from Google, Bill Bartee and Larry Marshall from Southern Cross Ventures, Melissa Widner from Seapoint Ventures, Paul Bassat from Square Peg Ventures, and Stuart Richardson from Adventure Capital.
Tech23 is coordinated by Slattery IT. Slattery IT founder and chief executive Rachel Slattery told StartupSmart they were seeing a larger contingent of start-ups based outside of Sydney.
“About half are from Sydney, but in the past it would always be a few more than half. About six are from Queensland, and that’s exciting as usually we’d be lucky to get one,” Slattery says.
“We were looking for the most innovative companies that could demonstrate traction. Ultimately it’s an event, so we look at what’s going to be interesting and who is great talent.”
While prizes haven’t been confirmed yet, Slattery says there are some “fairly hefty wads of cash floating around” and they were delighted to welcome AMP, PayPal and the REA group as prize sponsors.
The start-ups taking part are: 121Cast, 2Mar Robotics, BuyReply, Edisse, Ennova, Food Orbit, Geepers, HSK Instruments, Instrument Works, Intersective, Kounta, Liquid State, My Myk, Nano-Nouvelle, ollo mobile, OneTouch, Open Learning Global, Roomz, SABRE Autonomous Solutions, See-Out, SimplyShow.Me, SkyTree, and Xped Corporation.