CriticalArc, a resident of the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate StartPad business incubator, last night won the prestigious StartUp Trophy at SydStart 2013, Australia’s largest professional startup conference.
Selected as one of 12 finalists from a field of 100 applicants, CriticalArc outshone the competition and was declared the winner by the judging panel. Pitching criteria included what makes the team likely to win globally; the addressable market; points of difference; traction to date; and why the startup will stay ahead of the pack.
Founded by Glenn Farrant, a University of Wollongong graduate and former Australian Navy weapons engineer, CriticalArc’s first product is SafeZone, a mobile alert safety solution for tertiary education campuses. The SafeZone mobile app enables students and staff to communicate with campus security teams using location-based incident alerts and helps security teams coordinate a rapid response.
According to Glenn, the SydStart win has already attracted interest from investors: “Winning the SydStart StartUp Trophy has already enabled us to set up meetings with a number of potential investors. This is terrific for us as we are currently raising capital for our international expansion.
Commenting on the role of iAccelerate StartPad in the development of CriticalArc, Glenn said: “Being part of iAccelerate StartPad has given us a number of advantages including the credibility that comes from being selected as one of the incubator’s residents through a competitive process, and mentoring by business people who have been able to advise on the steps we need to take and the pitfalls to avoid as our business grows. StartPad has meant we are part of a community where we can share learnings with people who are doing similar things.”
Commenting on CriticalArc’s win, Elizabeth Eastland, the University of Wollongong’s Director of Innovation and Commercial Research, said: “CriticalArc’s SydStart win comes one year to the day since iAccelerate StartPad officially opened and is evidence of our innovation ecosystem in action. In just 12 months, Glenn and his team have made their business idea a commercial reality, supported by StartPad’s strong local mentoring and opportunities to pitch to investors.
“One of the advantages of establishing an innovation ecosystem in a regional area is that the whole community gets behind its start-ups. Through iAccelerate, the University has made a commitment to supporting innovation in the region by tapping into the intellectual capital of the University, its students and alumni like Glenn. In the case of CriticalArc, the University also became a pilot site for the SafeZone app and is now a commercial customer.”
Focused on technology-enabled start-ups, iAccelerate StartPad’s mission is to help Wollongong entrepreneurs – including the University of Wollongong’s almost 1000 ICT graduates each year – to turn their ideas into viable businesses.
iAccelerate and CriticalArc are currently on show at CeBIT 2013 at Darling Harbour (until 30 May). iAccelerate is part of the Advantage Wollongong exhibit which showcases Wollongong’s knowledge services capability and CriticalArc is exhibiting at CeBIT StartUp.