The annual IBM Smartcamp Australia event was held in Melbourne this week; it was the fourth time it’s been held in Australia, and attracted a wide range of expert advisors, venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, industry leaders as well as many IBM technical and industry experts to help mentor the participating startups.
Five Australian startups pitched their ideas before a judging panel for a chance to represent the country in the 2016 global LAUNCH festival and win the $25,000 LAUNCH Incubator investment prize.
“We are seeing an increase in the enterprise looking for startups to bring fresh and innovative solutions,” said Michael Steven-Jones, Global Entrepreneur and Smartcamp Executive for IBM Australia and New Zealand.
“Programs like SmartCamp enable startups to gain more exposure in the business landscape and to generate solid networks. IBM remains committed to investing its talent and technology to empower the next generation of companies and startups: through the Global Entrepreneur Program, we are working with more than 5,000 startups around the world. We are grateful for the time and energy invested by our five participants and look forward to seeing what they all accomplish in the future”.
Smartcamp is part of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, an initiative assisting emerging companies to leverage the power of the IBM cloud, as well as connect them into IBM’s vast global network of clients, consultants, innovation centres, and its vast developer community. In the last four years, the winners of the competition have gone on to achieve great things.
Perhaps the most notable is 2013 winner Temando, founded by Carl Hartmann. Since winning, Temando has seen rapid-growth expansion globally and in April this year closed a $50 million round of Series B investment from French mail technology company Neopost.
The companies that were selected as the five finalists for 2015 were Localz, a micro-location technology startup that builds robust solutions for the enterprise space; Bugwolf, a SaaS platform that allows users to rapid test software platforms and applications in the way customers would use them; CryptoPhoto, a security platform that prevents phishing and key-logger attacks through photo validation as opposed to passwords; Level35, a project portfolio management application giving users better abilities to manage project outcomes; and Moroku, a software company that operates at the intersection of mobile, gaming and social to create engaging banking and payment experiences that promote customer learning and brand loyalty.
The winner, announced today, was Melbourne based, Localz. The Localz platform provides software that connects the digital and physical worlds for enterprise level clients using the latest advances in micro-location technology to enhance the end-user’s in-store experiences, improve asset and inventory tracking, and provide frictionless mobile payments in a scalable manner.
“We are delighted to have won IBM’s 2015 Smartcamp,” said Jason Were, Business Development Director for Localz. “The event was an impressive showcase of innovative local technology, and a great opportunity for feedback and validation from leaders in the industry. For us, it is further reinforcement of our proposition and the awesome customer experiences our technology delivers”.
A key differentiator between Localz and the handful of competitors that it has playing in the same space is that its platform works across multiple technologies like iBeacons, Bluetooth Low Energy, GPS as well as QR Codes. Most solutions of this kind are designed to be compatible with one.
As the winner, Localz will receive up to US$120,000 in IBM cloud credits, mentoring, technical and go-to-market support from IBM. Localz will also have the chance to advance to the LAUNCH Scale semi-finals in October and compete at the 2016 global LAUNCH festival and win $25,000 LAUNCH Incubator investment prize.
All startups that participate in the IBM Smartcamp program are hand selected. IBM aims to identify early-stage startups developing products that bring different points of view and new ideas around Cloud, Big Data and Analytics, Mobile and Social.