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Tech23 shortlists BugHerd and StageBitz for $150k prize

Thursday, 21 July 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Twenty-three ICT companies will vie for the chance to share in $150,000 as part of innovation event Tech23, with promising start-ups Bugherd and StageBitz among those shortlisted.

 

Backed by the NSW Government and organised by Slattery IT Consulting, Tech23 will be held in Sydney on August 23, giving 23 companies the chance to pitch their technologies to potential investors, mentors, entrepreneurs and customers.

 

Competition has been fierce this year, with more than 150 companies vying for a spot. The 23 companies chosen to participate include 12 from NSW, which is being touted as an ICT hotspot by the State Government.

 

“These companies really represent the potential of Australia’s technological innovation,” commented Rachel Slattery, Director of SlatteryIT, the organisers of Tech23.

 

“It is exciting to be among companies at this stage of their development, given that many past Tech23 companies have gone on to great international success, like Tech23 2010 winner Marathon Robotics.”

 

Andrew Stoner, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, says five companies will also share in $150,000 as part of the event.

 

“Tech23 will bring young companies to the fore, accelerate commercialisation and investment deals, and is another step in our overall strategy to make NSW the leader in ICT,” Stoner said in a statement.

 

The companies chosen to exhibit at Tech23 will be given five minutes to pitch their technologies to expert panels, followed by discussions on investment opportunities and business models.

 

They will also network with investors, mentors, customers and advisors, and be given space to further demonstrate their products and services.

 

The event will culminate in an awards ceremony, with five awards up for grabs.

 

Among the companies chosen to participate is BugHerd, are a Melbourne-based start-up founded by Alan Downie and Matt Milosavljevic earlier this year.

 

Aimed at web designers and developers, BugHerd is a bug tracker that overlays on a webpage, allowing the entire team to log and manage bugs visually, without leaving the page they’re working on.

 

Most bug-tracking tools are aimed at engineers, so BugHerd seeks to provide a tool that works for both non-technical and technical users. It has already attracted funding from Australian seed fund Startmate and US tech accelerator 500 Startups.

 

“There are a dozen or so apps that do what we did before BugHerd. The market is very crowded and they are low-cost products. We were never going to retire off it,” Downie says.

 

“We needed a product that we could live off comfortably. That’s what Bug Herd is – there’s a definite gap in the market for it.”

 

Meanwhile, ACT-based start-up StageBitz, profiled by StartupSmart last month, is a web-based system designed to simplify prop management for production professionals by allowing them to manage the lifecycle of prop sourcing, maintenance and tracking.

 

StageBitz is the latest project of Catherine Prosser, who founded theatre software company Production Genie in 2007. Co-founders of the company include tech seed fund Pollenizer.

 

Prosser says the technology has already attracted interest in the United Kingdom and the United States. She hopes to have four million props running through the system by the end of 2014.

 

“What we really want to achieve is to be the industry standard for props management and we’ve had some really good indications that we’re heading in the right direction,” Prosser says.

 

“Whenever we go and talk to trainers at the universities or other institutions, they just grab hold of it with both hands and say, this is exactly what we need.”