On July 18th this year, Seedstars World, one of the most prominent global seed-stage startup competitions is returning again to Sydney to check out the local technology ecosystem.
This is the third time the organisation has held a regional heat within Sydney, in a competition that now includes more than 50 countries, up from 36 countries that were involved in the series of events last year. All regional winners of the local competitions are invited back to Switzerland to pitch at the finale held in February 2016.
Previously the winner of the overall competition received a USD$500,000 equity investment. However, this year two more equity prizes of USD$500,000 were added to the FinTech and TravelTech categories, meaning the total investment available totals USD$1.5 million.
The competition is open to any seed-stage company founded less than two years ago that has raised less than $500,000 in funding and has a MVP available. Seedstars mentioned in a statement that the competition is also looking to shine the light on companies that solve regional issues or develop profitable products for the global market.
Seedstars partners with businesses such as MEST, Google for Entrepreneurs and Microsoft to help it identify who the fast-growing startups are.
“Seedstars World is a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs pulling the spotlight from Silicon Valley and Western Europe,” says Alisee de Tonnac, Seedstars World CEO.
“We honestly think the best way to have an impact in fast growing startup scenes is by investing and promoting entrepreneurship. We look forward to seeing how the different startup scenes have evolved in a year and the new startups in the country.”
In Australia there will likely be 12 startups that will be invited to pitch for the opportunity to compete at the final event. Last year the winner of Seedstars Sydney event was Fishburners based startup GoFar.
GoFar is a Sydney startup modelled on Formula 1 technology and is looking to change what drivers spend on each tank of fuel. It claims if drivers save up to 20 percent on each tank of fuel. Using a dongle plugged in under the steering wheel, and a ‘Ray’ that sits atop the dashboard, combined with a smartphone app, the startup tracks trips and energy released and used by things like accelerating, braking, and driving up and down hills.
With energy released translating to fuel used, tracking this data allows GoFar to tell drivers where they are spending money and help them change their behaviour behind the wheel – often, inefficient driving like particularly fast acceleration or harsh braking mean petrol is wasted. The Ray emits a red light to signal drivers that they are partaking in wasteful or dangerous driving behaviours. GoFar recently raised 320% of its goal during its recent Kickstarter campaign.
“Seedstars is a tremendous organisation that provides Australian startups with access to investors and global networks, rarely seen in Australia,” says Steven Arthur, Desk X Space and local ambassador of Seedstars. “I am excited to be the Australian Ambassador for 2015 and canʼt wait to see who our 12 finalists will be.”
This year, Seedstars has partnered with Deloitte, who is the local sponsor and host for the Sydney event. Further support is being provided by General Assembly, LawPath, Stripe, as well as TechinAsia as the regional media partner. The jury panel will consist of Craig Blair from AirTree Ventures, Rui Rodrigues, Managing Partner at Tankstream Ventgures, Garry Visontay, General Partner at Sydney Seed Fund, Andrea Kowalski, Investment Director at Balidor Investment Management and Dean McEvoy from Blackbird VC.