TEN Aussie innovators will head to Boston in February after winning the inaugural Australian section of one of the world’s biggest start-up accelerators.
Four of the Bridge to MassChallenge winners were from South Australia, all of whom successfully pitched their ideas at the competition finals in Sydney on Tuesday night.
They included Ben Flink from Psybersafe, which has developed an app to prevent predator grooming of children online, James Stewart, whose company Kick.It has developed what it says is the world’s most effective, holistic and integrated app to help smokers quit and Leila Henderson from Freddi, which is a cloud-based Integrated Development Environment.
The fourth South Australian winner was Selena Woodward from Edufolios, a smart ePortfolio specifically designed to help more than 300,000 Australian teachers. Other winners included Conweigh, which has developed a mobile shipping container weighing service and StopRotor – new drone technology that draws on helicopter concepts to improve performance.
The 10 winners will attend a five-day boot camp in Boston in February where they will compete to be fast tracked to the semi-finals to vie for a share of the world prize pool of over $3 million in cash awards.
They will receive also receive one-on-one mentorship, networking, and access to the Boston ecosystem.
MassChallenge State Manager Daniel Smith said the result demonstrated the high quality of start-ups in South Australia.
He said one of the advantages of the MassChallenge program was that it was inclusive of other existing programs such as university incubators and high-profile pitch competitions such as Shark Tank.
“This program brings all of those things together and opens the door to the international market,” Smith said.
Three state governments – New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia – are partners, along with Microsoft Australia, Monash University and the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
MassChallenge was started in 2009 by the government of Massachusetts as a way of attracting startup jobs to the state. It has since expanded to the UK, France, Spain, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, and Colombia - and now Australia.