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Five Aussie startups vie for share of $5 million in 2015 Big Pitch competition

Monday, 15 June 2015 | By Broede Carmody
Five Aussie startups will battle it out on Tuesday night for a share in up to $5 million in funding as part of the 2015 Big Pitch competition.


Last year, education marketplace WeTeachMe and calendar marketing platform eCal were named joint winners at the debut event, with eCal snapping up $2 million after the due diligence process.


The venture capital firm behind the Big Pitch competition, Oxygen Ventures, has been travelling around Australia in order to scour for talent among the nation’s major startup hubs.


As a result of these conversations, five finalists have been given the opportunity to pitch live in front of a panel of judges at Melbourne’s Federation Square.


The panel will include, among others, serial entrepreneur and founder of Dodo, Larry Kestelman; head of Square Australia, Ben Pfisterer; and the managing director of Eventbrite Australia, Rachael Neumann.


The event will be streamed live across Australia, with the five finalists revealed on the night.


The winning startup will, subject to a due diligence process, receive equity financing of up to $5 million from Oxygen Ventures.


Larry Kestelman, the founder of The Big Pitch, told StartupSmart he and his fellow judges will be looking for any online or technology business that is doing something different to a traditional bricks-and-mortar type company.


“We intend to run this every year,” he says.


“It went really well last year and we had a great response this year, so we want to continue this and make it an annual event and make it bigger and better every time.”


Kestelman says the person behind the company will be the crucial factor in deciding whether or not to invest.


“The team, we can help them build,” he says.


“That’s where we’re quite happy to get our hands a little dirtier than others. We’re not looking for every answer and every solution… we understand they might need help with that. But they do need to understand their ideas have a certain shelf life and if they’re not proactive in executing and getting the right partners onboard, their ideas might be copies or superseded from anywhere in the world.”


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