For the first time Australian startups have been invited to participate in Beijing’s fourth annual Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC). The conference is one of the world’s largest events for VCs, where startups compete for a highly sought after equity-free stake of RMB$1 million in prize money (approximately AU$210,000) with the opportunity to access a RMB$5 million entrepreneurship loan.
This year Australia’s national Phoenix Pitch Competition will host multiple rounds of pitching competitions in Sydney to select two top Australian startups to attend OTEC. Run by the Beijing Government together with OTEC coordinators Investible and Infin8 Ventures, at the event the startups will pitch to entrepreneurs, angel investors, corporates and VCs, while Infin8 will also be opening up its own network of more than 1,000 VCs to the two prize winners.
Creel Price, evangelist at Investible says,”Our mission at Investible is to improve the success rate of Aussie startups within the start up economy. 97-99% of start ups fail to to get funding. We have partnered with OTEC to support more Aussie startups gain global and Asia exposure to knowledge, innovation, talent, ideas, investors, funds, creativity and recognition of where they’re are in comparison.”
“This not only benefits the founders as individuals who attend the conference but their ecosystem for when they come back in sharing their experience and excitement,” he added. “We need to continually elevate Australian innovation by getting involved in these competitions.”
Australian startups have been invited by OTEC coordinators to present a five minute pitch at Phoenix Pitch Competition for the chance to win entry into OTEC 2016. Startups are welcome to pitch ideas in five categories including: culture and arts, services, new technology (hardware), education and social entrepreneurship.
“Australian startups are on the doorstep of one of the biggest markets in the world. Investible is excited to partner with the Beijing government in a major step to opening this door to unprecedented opportunity for globally focused founders,” said Price.
Judging will take place across three events in front of industry leaders from NAB, Incubate, Microsoft, BlueChilli, and Fishburners.
James Alexander, founder of Incubate said, “We’re big believers in supporting our startups and students to think about the China market, and supporting competitions like OTEC are part of this. Encouraging more trade and visibility with entrepreneurs from both markets are vital for Australia’s future.”
Pitch events will also be held in other global tech cities including Tel Aviv, San Francisco, and London to find the best of the best startups the world has to offer.
OTEC is one of China’s premiere funding events and will be held over three days starting from July 29. This year the conference aims to help startups secure funding by bringing together 60 VC funds from over 15 countries with more than 2,000 startup teams in attendance.
In the past OTEC has been responsible for funding more than 300 companies as a direct result of the conference.
OTEC, along with the Phoenix Pitch program, is part of a larger initiative that aims to boost the startup market in Australia to open up global funding opportunities.
China sparks enormous opportunities for startups and is currently undergoing a mass entrepreneurship and innovation movement with the government setting up a US$6.5 billion guidance fund to support the startup and tech scene.
We’ve seen companies like Alibaba dominate global industries and change the dynamics of international economies. The trade giant only recently opened up offices in Australia, further strengthening our relationship with Chinese-based companies.
Announcing the news, Treasurer Scott Morrison said, “China’s rapid economic growth and increasing centrality to the global economy mean its markets represent an exceptional opportunity for Australian entrepreneurs aiming for global scale and impact, particularly as our services-oriented economy is stepping up to the wicket.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull added that Shanghai has a vibrant technology investor and venture capital community and the landing pad will give startups that chance to tap into its global ecosystems.
“This is a global business. All of these opportunities are global and it’s vital that Australian businesses are able to tap into that. They’ll work together, they’ll inspire each other, they’ll generate new ideas, new products, new services and deepen the already deep relationship between Australia and China in trade, in commerce, in innovation and science,” he said.
As part of OTEC Australian startups will be provided the opportunity to take advantage of China’s fast growing startup ecosystem and leverage off global innovators and industry leaders.
As well as the trip to OTEC, winners of the Phoenix Pitch Competition will be awarded prizes including equity and in-kind support which will include a free office space at HaymarketHQ, Australia’s first Asia-focused coworking space in Sydney’s Chinatown.
Startups will also receive assistance from industry professionals at BlueChilli, Microsoft, Capital Pitch, Pozible, and Metis Lawr, among others.
Finalists for OTEC will be chosen in early July.
Image: Dave Thompson and Katherine Pace qualified to win a pitch at Phoenix Pitch. Source: Supplied.