Tuesday, 22 October 2019 23:42

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: StartCon's 'Pitch for US$1 million' now open to startups

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Think of a cross between X factor and Startups Got Talent and you've arrived at StartCon's Pitch for US$1 million competition, one of the world's largest, with entries open to more countries and startups than ever before.

StartCon. It is billed as "Australia’s leading technology, startup, corporate innovation & growth conference" and has launched the 2019 edition of "Pitch for $1 Million" with a twist - the prize is now US$1 million, meaning AUD $1.5 million, in three tranches - the top prize of AUD $1 million, a second prize of AUD $300,000 and a third prize of AUD $200,000.

The Pitch for $1 Million competition aims to surface "highly promising companies outside of traditional venture markets but across regions where billions of people live", with the competition now running in regions including "China, Korea, Japan, UAE, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand".

Entrepreneurs are thus battling it out for that USD $1m total in venture financing from trailblazing US investors, EDGE196, which bills itself as "a trailblazing company of experienced investors and technical experts in the fields of all innovative technologies, business development and global startup ecosystems and has previously invested in Jointer, OTPPAY, Funding Tree, Hackmania and EquityUp among others".

Indeed, Jay Patel, founder of EDGE196 said: "The startup ecosystem outside of North America is increasingly showing promise, prompting us to partner with StartCon, which has a track record of success in running startup pitch contests before. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work together to give a shot to the next up and comers in these regions that are, as yet, unexplored by EDGE196."

Submissions can be made online at StartCon with entries "encouraged from startups in all sectors including, but not limited to, Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics, Blockchain, AI, Big Data, Adtech, Digital Media, Edtech and more".

We're told that "the first regional final will be held in Shanghai, China on October 24th, 2019 in partnership with SOSV: The Accelerator VC. SOSV runs the Chinaccelerator, a seed-funding program in China that allows entrepreneurs to create startup companies in the tech industry. The event will be held at Hero Center, level 1, West Entrance, No. 28 Yuyuam East Rd. Jing'An District, Shanghai at 7pm".

This will be followed by the second regional final to be held "in Seoul, Korea on October 30th, 2019 in partnership with Austrade, the Australian Government’s trade and investment commission, and KOTRA, the state-funded trade and investment promotion organisation operated by the Government of South Korea. The event will be held at Kintex Exhibition Center Hall 8 at 10am."

There will then be Australian regional finals will be held in Sydney at StartCon, Australia’s largest startup and growth conference on November 22nd and 23rd 2019, followed by regional finals in other countries to take place following this with each country competing at the Grand Final for the US$1 million in investment in March 2020.

Below is my video interview with Lana Vickridge-Smith, CEO of StartCon, telling us about the Pitch for $1 million in 2019, and why startups should enter. The article continues below, along with a video at the end of this article that I conducted about a week and a half ago with Matt Barrie, founder and CEO of Freelancer.com, the company behind StartCon.



The winner of the 2018 StartCon Pitch for $1 Million competition was Daitum, an Australian cloud-based AI company with a vision to make decision analytics available to everyone.

Co-founder and CEO of Daitum, Luigi Barone, said: "StartCon was a watershed milestone for us at Daitum. Before StartCon, we were a seven person emerging business facing the perennial challenges of most bootstrapped start-ups: how to fund growth on a tight budget.

"With plenty of dreams and ambition, realising them was always constrained by the realities of bringing revenue into the business. Winning at StartCon allowed us to rapidly accelerate our story and bring forward those dreams, funding the next stages of product development and marketing and outreach endeavours.

"We’ve doubled the size of our team, brought on specialist staff to lead hard-to-fund functions like business development and customer success, and increased our marketing efforts from zero to significant. We’re extremely grateful to StartCon and the Pitch for $1 Million competition for giving us this opportunity and we’re envious of all the teams competing this year. Good luck, and pitch hard!".

Jay Patel, founder of EDGE196 added: "This year, we’re looking for startups with founders and a team who demonstrate their passion and commitment, can prove an ever-expanding target market for their product and service alongside realistic and aggressive projections, and convey their exit strategy for investors.

With the contest launch, Jay Patel, and Matt Barrie, Chief Executive and founder of the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, Freelancer.com, offer competitors their five top tips for a great pitch:

1. It’s all about the team.
Have you got the right team to help you succeed? No startup gets anywhere alone so demonstrate the passion, commitment and expertise of your whole team.

2. Show your investors the money.
How are you acquiring your customers and what’s your revenue model? Are you making money yet? Be clear and concise about your pricing model, long term value of a customer and customer acquisition costs.

3. Prove your growth trajectory.
Do you have an ever expanding target market for your product or service? Never undersell yourself: your business plan should be both realistic and aggressive.

4. Demonstrate your value.
How are you changing or disrupting the world or your industry and why is what you’re doing better than what’s already out there. Give the answer to, ‘So, what?’ with everything you say rather than assuming your audience will create the link for you.

5. Practice your pitch. A thousand times.
Have you really practised enough? Take previous pitch feedback on board, ask anyone who will listen to give feedback and remember to prepare for questions.

Lana Vickeridge-Smith, CEO of StartCon said: "North American startup ecosystems have dominated for investors for some time now, yet vibrant ecosystems in the APAC region increasingly present a great opportunity for investment. This type of opportunity is a real game-changer for startups looking to grow and scale and we wish every entrant the best of luck.”

Entry to the competition and more information is available here

Here's my quick video interview with Matt Barrie at the launch of the Young Professionals Network on October 10, 2019, at the City Tattersalls Club:

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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