Startup News & Analysis

Meet the 23 innovative Australian startups chosen for this year’s Tech23 showcase

Angela Castles /

Xplor, Tech23

Xplor founder Mark Woodland. Source: Supplied.

From startups looking to build a global digital nervous system, to those using artificial intelligence to help businesses make leadership decisions, companies innovating through deep technology make up the 23 startups selected for this year’s Tech23 showcase.

Tech23 is now in its ninth year. Since its inception, the one-day event has featured prominent Australian startups like CultureAmp, Kaggle and Upguard in its showcase. Each year 23 Australian tech startups are featured and this year’s focus has been on artificial intelligence (AI), as well as the future of automation and the ways it can influence our daily lives.

This year’s cohort of 23 startups was announced this week, and the companies will now get a chance to present their pitches to industry leaders like Tyro’s executive director Jost Stollman, Reinventure Group’s general partner Kara Frederick, and Square Peg Capital co-founder Tony Holt at an event held in Sydney next month.

These startups will by vying for a range of in-kind prizes, which Tech23 says are worth almost $200,000. The prizes include flights to Mountain View, California to share lunch with the Upguard team; flights to China and accommodation and opportunities to pitch to venture capitalists as part of the 2018 China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP) program; and as a one-on-one meeting with Square Peg Capital investors.

Melbourne startup Xplor is one of the 23 startups selected to present at the event, and founder Mark Woodland says it’s community connections, rather than prizes or investment, that he hopes to get out of the showcase.

We like being part of the community and giving back, we see it as a great opportunity to meet other startups and try to develop that [ecosystem] in Australia,” Woodland tells StartupSmart

“We’ve always enjoyed what’s come from Tech23 … the Australian ecosystem is growing and getting better each day, we’re growing daily and we’re always looking at meeting new people.” 

Xplor provides an end-to-end technology platform to cut down administration for schools and childcare centres. It raised $6 million last August in a round led by Airtree Ventures, and wants to use the Tech23 showcase to raise its profile locally.

“We always love telling our story, and any chance we have to tell our story we will,” says Woodland, adding that “there’s never been a spotlight on childcare until recently, and it’s all about driving awareness”. 

There is already international awareness for the Xplor platform, with 36 UK childcare centres using the platform, and “a few hundred” users in the US, according to Woodland, who says the startup will be opening a New York headquarters at the beginning of next year.

This adds to the 80 schools the startup has already signed on in Australia. Woodland says Xplor is experiencing 20% month-on-month growth in customers to complement the company’s 13-18% monthly growth in revenue. 

Meet the startups presenting at Tech23

Axis Energy: A Queensland-based renewable energy startup that creates vertical turbines to be used in both wind energy and marine energy applications.

Bombora Wave Power: This startup harnesses the energy generated by waves and converts this to electrical energy through its mWave technology.

Ecospectral: This Canberra-based startup balances human needs and energy constraints through an Internet of Things (IoT) sensing and control platform.

Elula: This startup uses artificial intelligence to empower business leaders to make data-driven management decisions.

Episoft: A platform-based healtech startup that supports chronic diseases sufferers by providing care coordination and treatment planning.

Factoryone: This startup enhancing manufacturing performance through software that automates decision-making processes.

Fleet: An Adelaide-based startup that wants to create a global digital nervous system by connecting as many as 75 billion IoT devices and sensors by 2025. It’s a concept that got Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon Brookes’ adrenaline pumping, and raised $5 million in funding earlier this year.

Flurosat: A startup that provides satellite-guided fertiliser prescriptions using machine learning to identify nutrient deficiencies in soil.

Future Grid: This startup converts real-time data into operational intelligence through a data converting platform.

GardenSpace: This startup bills itself as “the world’s first visual garden sensor” and monitors, automates and guides plant cultivation.

Hind Technology: A startup aiming to make robotics and advanced manufacturing more affordable and simple with its robotics controllers.

Littlepay: This fintech startup uses an open loop payments platform to allow travellers to use their mobile wallet, payment card or wearable device to make payments.

Modular Photonics: This startup manufactures a series of glass chip micro devices that significantly increase data transmission rates across multi-building campuses.

Nucleotrace: This startup uses synthetic DNA as a way to store product information for supply chain monitoring.

Pedestal: An online education platform for creating 3D representations of objects.

Platfarm: This startup has created a mobile navigation software to enable smarter, more effective farming.

Presagen: A startup that offers AI-driven human automation, as well as medical diagnostics for the healthtech sector.

Sofihub: A voice-based tech startup that recognises the behaviours of its users and manages alerts based on abnormal behaviours.

Syntropy: This startup allows users to train their own personal AI assistant.

Thinxtra: An IoT startup that looks to connect a network of devices to change the way we use data. It recently secured $10 million in investment to extend the reach of its network across Australia.

Utillix: A startup creating a mapping application for underground utilities that provides a real-time visual representation of underground infrastructure.

Xplor: A platform for schools and childcare centres to transform approaches to learning.

Zeppelin Bend: This startup is building a platform which supports the development of next generation technologies for electricity networks.

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Angela Castles

Angela Castles is a Journalist at StartupSmart with a keen interest in the legal issues startups face. In her free time she can be found eating sushi and seeing live music.

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