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Five top pitches from the SydStart start-up jamboree

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 | By Oliver Milman

SydStart held its third annual start-up conference and pitch event yesterday, showcasing some of the leading innovators in Sydney.


The event, which attracted more than 900 attendees, featured an eye-catching line-up of start-up luminaries as speakers, including Freelancer.com founder Matt Barrie and Pollenizer co-founder Mick Liubinskas.


A massive pitching competition between 30 different start-ups rounded off the day, with business process analysis venture ProcessGo taking out the Startup Trophy and $25,000-worth of services from sponsors including PwC and General Assembly.


ProcessGo allows businesses to compare their current operations, such as accounts payable, payroll and IT support, with alternatives in the marketplace in order to choose the best solution. The slides for the winning pitch can be accessed here.


Pete Cooper, organiser of SydStart, says that co-founder Matt Allan “nailed” the pitch and showed off around 15 corporate clients that had already benefited from the service.


Cooper adds that the event has become a good way to knit together Sydney’s start-up community, although the sector still has some way to go.


“SydStart is becoming a bit of a fixture, it’s got a bit of a life of its own now,” he says.


“The goal is to get Sydney hyper-connected, which could well mean greater links with Asia in the future.”


“We’ve doubled the size of the event each year, but Sydney’s start-up scene is still a bit of a gangly teenager which is finding out how fast it can run.”


“It’s got all the working parts, but it’s not quite there yet. We need better connections, more incubators and a steady stream of investment. It’s all a bit sporadic at the moment.”


From those looking to catch the eye in the pitching competition, we’ve picked out five that hit the mark, only to be ultimately outshone by ProcessGo.



1. StyleRocks



Founder: Pascale Helyar-Moray


When she returned to Australia following a career in the corporate world, Helyar-Moray was searching for something new.


It came in the form of customised jewellery, born from a frustration in not finding the ideal piece online, as she explained to StartupSmart last year.


2. Verify1st



Founders: Kat McKinnon and Luke Metcalfe


Despite the ongoing growth in online spending, consumers remain concerned about getting scammed when visiting sites.


McKinnon and Metcalfe’s solution is Verify1st, which, according to McKinnon, is “a free online tool that uncovers connections between websites, and exposes new scams. We are the first to provide graphic visualisation of scam neighbourhoods.”


3. Andable



Founders: Melissa Dean and Rupal Ismin


Andable sells ethical, handmade products in 80 categories online. The twist? 10% from each sale goes to Kiva, a company that provides micro loans to start-ups in developing countries.


Dean and Ismin are aiming big with the concept, telling us in August that they hope to grow by 10% month-on-month with several international markets in their sights.


4. Evolvex



Founder: Priyanka Rao


Ironically for a start-up that has been dubbed an “Aussie improvement on Ikea”, one of Evolvex’s strongest markets in its short lifespan has been Sweden.


The idea is simple – create your own modular furniture online, to be assembled by you with personalised instructions. The pitch video gives a nice outline of the problem and how the business solves it.


5. Seedstarter



Founders: Michael Dawson and Stephen DeVilliers


Seedstarter is notable as one of the first Australian start-ups to take the crowdfunding sector a step further and focus upon a niche.


Realising that scientists regularly look for funding in order to commercialise their innovations – but are often underwhelming when communicating with investors – Dawson and DeVilliers created a crowdfunding site specifically for the science sector.