Tassie Techs get a Startup Bootup

Tasmania’s technology and innovations sector is alive and buzzing, with a series of standout events across the state under the StartupAUS Startup Spring banner over recent weeks giving Tasmanian high-tech companies tips from the best in the business.

StartupAUS is a not-for-profit entity with a mission to foster and build the community of technology entrepreneurship in Australia. Under the national StartupSpring calendar, Tasmania is holding a record number of events and the lineup features the state’s inaugural Startup Bootcamp.

The Startup Bootcamp training and pitch night combination on Thursday 26 September and Friday 27 September started with a day of intense mentoring from some of Tasmania's - and Australia's - recognised experts across a range of topics including technology, management, marketing and pitching:

  • Alan Jones - Investor, entrepreneur, advisor (Bugcrowd Inc, Blackbird Ventures, Pollenizer)
  • Polly Venning - Entrepreneur and public speaker who believes in the future of Tasmania (CEO Tasmania, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Women Chiefs of Enterprises International)
  • Glen Johnson - Digital business consultant, contemporary strategist, dot.com entrepreneur and wagering product creator (Six Faces Pty Ltd, Future Medium Pty Ltd)
  • Alice Herbon - Commercial lawyer, advisor and educator (Groom Kennedy, University of Tasmania, AICD)
  • James MacGregor - Passionate startup marketer (BigCommerce, Moo.com, Pollenizer, Dealised, BugHerd, Moneysoft, MetaCDN and many more)
  • Joss Fenton - Accountant, general business adviser and self-confessed “business nerd” (4 Business & Community, EcoHaven, Business Sustainability Round Table (Hobart Chapter)
  • Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin - Investor, Engineer, Advisor & Founder of BlueChilli- a Venture Tech company that builds and invests in digital start-ups

Out of a pool of more than 31 bootcampers who all gave a 30-second pitch, 10 were then shortlisted to pitch their idea in front of a live audience and panel of esteemed judges the next evening.

These longer, 3-minute pitches were followed by detailed Q&A from experienced business operators, putting the pitchers very much in a ‘dragon’s den’ scenario.

Winner of the pitch night was startup Biteable.com, an online tool for creating animated videos, aimed at small to medium businesses.

Biteable.com owner James MacGregor said the bootcamp and pitch experience was invaluable to the growth of their business.

“Our vision is to make broadcacst-quality video production affordable to any business,” he says “using themes, download images and other resources that are put together at commercial quality.”

“We’re going to a Beta version in November then full release in early 2014. For that we need investment capital.”

James is no stranger to startups, with his company MLabs already working with leading international companies marketing their businesses on the global stage.

He says even with that solid experience, winning Startup Pitch has given them the chance to practise pitching their own product to a highly experienced panel in a pressure cooker and competitive environment.

“It has been an invaluable experience for our business.”

“The bootcamp was awesome. Other states do it regularly, but it was the first of its kind in Tasmania so it was good to finally get that kind of support down here.”

The Startup Spring Festival is a three-week long, Australia wide festival of over 150 events and activities coordinated by StartupAUS that celebrates and promotes the tech startup community in Australia to key influencers, politicians, media and the general public.

According to Startup Tasmania spokesperson Casey Farrell, the group is an intelligent, dedicated group determined to build a strong future through invention and innovation.

“Our focus is on businesses with plans to rapidly scale their offering,” he says.

“It doesn't matter if they’re product or service based, how long they’ve been operating or which industry they associate with - what matters is their potential.”

Other highlight events in the StartupAUS Tasmanian calendar included:

3 Oct: Tapas and Technology: TasICT held a procurement information night on Thursday 3 October at the Typewriter Factory in Hobart. The session heard from:

  • Minister David O'Byrne, Minister for Economic Development, Infrastructure and Transport and Innovation.
  • Mr Keith Wheatland, Executive Director, Industry Capability Network

5 Oct: Modern Web Development: a day with Tasmania's leading talent in getting-stuff-done-on-the-web-quickly, learning the ways of rapid web development.

7 Oct: Remote Drink-along, The Sparkling Edition: enthusiasts gathered in three locations around Tasmania for a sparkling wine show and tell via video hook-up. Participants synchronised drinks and tasted their way through some of Tassie’s best sparkling wines from the likes of Jansz, Apogee, Delamere Vineyard and Piper’s Brook. Expert sommeliers and vignerons shared their insights were on hand to answer questions.

The full program review is available at http://www.startupspring2013.org/#!tas/cdph

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