Two Australian startups using gaming to try to improve the health of children have been selected to take part in a large pitching competition in China, offering an “incredible opportunity” for the companies.
Sound Scouts, an app gamifying hearing tests for children, and wearable tech startup Elanation took out the top two spots at the local Phoenix Pitch Competition and will be competing at the Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference in China later this month.
The competition is one of the world’s largest events for VC, with startups competing for an equity-free prize of nearly $210,000.
This is the first time that Australian companies have been eligible to compete in the global competition which is set to bring together more than 2000 startups from over 19 countries.
Sign up for SmartCompany newsletter.
Free to your inbox every weekday
Using gaming for good
Sound Scouts is a smartphone game designed to test hearing, allowing children to follow the story of a bionic-eared dog and solve a series of challenges to identify any potential hearing problems.
Sound Scouts founder Carolyn Mee says the conference will provide the perfect opportunity to test the waters in the China market.
“We’re definitely looking at China as a major growth opportunity,” Mee tells StartupSmart.
“There’s a focus on good educational outcomes and hearing is a major component of that. If you struggle to hear then you’ll struggle to learn.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to pitch in China and see what interest it elicits.”
She says her startup is offering a new and effective way to detect hearing problems in school-aged children.
“What we’ve created is something quite unique and very forward-thinking,” Mee says.
“It’s a health issue that currently doesn’t have an accessible and affordable solution.
“We’re using technology to deliver a solution to that problem – that’s what every startup is looking to achieve.”
She says this initial win provides much-needed validation in her idea and business.
“As you go through the journey of growing, learning, iterating and building up as a business these opportunities encourage and validate what you’re doing,” Mee says.
“It’s the nod that you do have a global business. Looking at the journey so far, I have felt like people didn’t appreciate the true value and global applications for what I’ve been doing, so being chosen to represent Australia is great validation.”
“An incredible opportunity”
Investible helped run the local pitching competition, and CEO Creel Price says OTEC will present enormous opportunities to the two Aussie startups.
“This is an incredible opportunity for these and other emerging Australian startups to access one of the biggest markets in the world and elevate the local mix of innovation and talent on the world stage,” Price says.
“It is exactly the type of initiative that the local startup ecosystem needs to encourage more founders to think globally rather than focusing solely on the domestic market.”
For Mee, patience and perseverance have been crucial to her eventual success.
“The journey is relentless,” she says.
“When you start you have to have the resolve and the energy that’s going to see you through the journey. There’s rarely a quick fix.”