One of the most popular events at Startcon 2017 was the annual Startup Pitch Competition. For some reason there is nothing quite like watching fellow entrepreneurs jump up on stage and brave the crowd while sharing their idea and vision.
Like most pitch competitions each Startup/Founder had two minutes to present their company. Judges then scored each pitch out of 10 with the top startups from each round moving into the semi finals later that afternoon.
The semi finals followed the same 2 minute format, with one slight change. The judging panel was allowed to ask a question or two of the Founder(s) to dive deeper into their product, the market and future potential.
Out of the semi finals emerged 6 finalists who had the chance to present on the main stage. The winner, Checkbox.ai, emerged and will now go on to compete at the Startup World Cup in San Francisco.
For those not familiar with the Startup World Cup it is a pitch competition run by Fenox Capital that sees startups from across the globe descend on Silicon Valley. The winner takes away a $1 million investment prize.
1st Place – Checkbox.ai
Checkbox.ai was founded by Evan Wong and James Han in 2016. The company has developed a no-code platform that enables the digital transformation of regulation.
By using the Checkbox.ai drag and drop Studio, domain-experts can convert messy, unworkable processes into easy-to-use, results-driven software in the cloud, all without a developer.
Evan gave a dynamic pitch on stage and highlighted how regulation is a $1.2 trillion dollar business, globally. What I think won him the pitch however, was his ability to articulate how companies are currently using dozens of excel spreadsheets with interlinked cells to try and manage this process.
The example he gave saw a finance company create 50 individual Excel spreadsheets with numerous columns, formulas and notes. The folder (and file) looked like a mess. But with Checkbox.ai that entire process would be streamlined.
2nd Place – Already Built
Already Built is a B2B marketplace for custom web and software solutions. Think of a situation where a corporation wants to design and build a custom piece of software for managing event registration.
The problem is another company has already built that software and likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process of doing so. As a result Already Built offers a marketplace for this software so that the original “developer” can re-sell their work and reduce the overall cost of development, while the new company saves both time and money but purchasing something that already exists.
Its an interesting solution to a problem that no doubt faces a lot of large corporations across the globe and the founder details how they have already started to see a good amount of traction, via listings on the platform.
3rd Place – Edstart
Edstart is an edutech startup founded by Jack Stevens and Jonas Hallerby. When researching the market for school fees they found that a large number of families who choose to put their children through private schooling do so by borrowing money, often on credit cards.
Not only that, funding their children’s education is not a straight, consistent annual amount. With two or three kids often parents find that the amount they need to pay each year follows a bell shape distribution, with payments peaking in the middle years.
This can put families under increased financial stress. Edstart solves this issue by taking the fees and spreading them out over a number of years so that families can pay one constant fee each month/year.
The Runners Up
Iron Matrix is a construction tech startup that has developed a modular structure that is built from just two different structural steel parts.
This essentially creates the platform that allows for a modular dwelling to be built on flat, sloped or rocky terrain. Not only that, these modules can be assembled, reconfigured and expanded by hand. You don’t even need a crane.
The company was founded by David Morgan in Perth, Western Australia and unlike most other startups in the space Iron Matrix has turned their concept into a reality.
The first building constructed using the system was only completed a few weeks ago. David had an entertaining presentation that revealed this “surprise” at the end, and in doing so was able to generate high scores from the judges throughout the day.
If there was an award for the most entertaining pitch it would have gone to Anti. Founded by two Brisbane engineering grads, Anti looks to save lives at ski and snowboard parks across the globe.
When they looked at the market they found that head trauma is a major cause of death in winter sports. On top of that wearing a helmet could significantly reduce the number of deaths or amount of serious injury that occurs.
The problem is that helmets “aren’t rad”, there words, not mine. But beanies are. As a result Anti has made a beanie, that’s a helmet. And to prove just how good they were, one of the Anti founders put on the beanie and then asked his co-founder to hit him over the head with a piece of wood.
The crowd loved this and it was clear to see why they made it through to the finals.
JAR Aerospace is a newly founded Tech startup primarily focused on the development and manufacturing of purpose built UAS’s with the functional capabilities to service large scale industrial processes.
The company was founded by Michael Kauter and already had a number of pilots in the works for their technology. Essentially JAR Aerospace take drones and combine them with other tech to create solutions for industries such as search and rescue, agriculture, construction and energy and gas.