Chris Bernard


Global events marketing platform raises $2 million in The Big Pitch funding

8:48AM | Tuesday, 19 August

ECAL, a global events marketing platform, has raised $2 million from investor and former Dodo Internet founder Larry Kestelman’s Oxygen Ventures, after winning The Big Pitch.   Oxygen Ventures offered up to $5million worth of funding to startups who won its Big Pitch competition, the final of which was held in Melbourne in June.   Joint winner WeTeachMe is still in negotiations with Oxygen Ventures, as is People’s Choice winner Black Delta and finalist etaskr.   ECAL, founded by Patrick Barrett in 2012, delivers on-time marketing information into consumers’ calendars, driving increased awareness, engagement and sales.   It serves more than 6 million calendar activities each day, a figure growing month on month.   ECAL has over 100 major clients across the US, Europe and the Asia pacific. Its initial focus was major sports and has big name American clients like the NFL’s New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins and the NBA’S Boston Celtics.   The $2 million will drive new product development outside of major sports, the launch of a Software-as-Service version of the platform and expand the sales in North America.   “The capital will enable us to expand our geographic footprint, to service new markets, and to develop our product further,” he says.   “By having someone with Larry’s experience involved in the next phase of growth, we will be the beneficiary of far more than the $2 million on investment Oxygen brings to the business.”   Kestelman says he’s thrilled to be involved in the company.   “ECAL is such a terrific idea, brilliant in its simplicity, and we see great potential for its use beyond sport and entertainment,” he says.   “At Oxygen, we back great teams, big ideas and bold plans, and we are very much looking forward to our partnership in ECAL.”   Joining Barrett and Kestelman on the E-DIARY Pty Ltd Board is former is iSelect CEO Matt McCann and Oxygen Investment Director Ilya Frolov. The company has also recruited an advisory board that includes Microsoft’s Chris Bernard and David Riemer, formerly of Yahoo, in addition to current MYOB CTO Simon Raik-Allen.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

ANZ Innovyz START rolls out fresh start-up funding program

4:04AM | Thursday, 4 April

Above: Dr Jana Matthews.   Applications are open for the third round of the 13-week ANZ Innovyz START accelerator program, which kicks off in August, as start-ups that previously went through the incubator prepare to pitch to investors.   Now in its second year, ANZ Innovyz START helps fast-growth tech entrepreneurs become investor-ready by giving them access to global business experts and mentors who have grown and exited companies.   Past program mentors include Microsoft executive Chris Bernard, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Babinec, and DealsDirect co-founder and former chairman Paul Greenberg.   Previously, teams received $6,000 per founder. This year, each team will receive $20,000. ANZ will also give each team access to a $20,000 loan facility to help them fund their growth plans.   Dr Jana Matthews, managing director of ANZ Innovyz START, told StartupSmart the additional funding is not the only change that has been made to the program.   “I’m going to absolutely insist that there be teams of three people. The start-ups that make the most progress… are the ones that have three people,” Matthews says.   “The ones that have two people have struggled to keep up. There’s so much to learn and so much to do. We aren’t going to accept you unless you bring at least one other person to the table.”   Applications close on June 14 and the program will commence on August 12.   Meanwhile, the 10 graduates of the summer 2013 program are preparing for a demo day in Adelaide on April 18, when they will pitch and showcase their product to potential investors.   “They’re absolutely fabulous… We already have some that the investors are talking to,” Matthews says.   “Four of the companies already have investors, possibly five, and we still have two weeks to go before they stand up in front of everyone.”   Matthews says FitUsIn, a booking site for the health and fitness industry, is among the standouts.   “FitUsIn was a company we already knew was going to be a winner. It was selected as one of six [participants] worldwide to attend an all-expenses paid trip to New York to pitch to venture capitalists,” Matthews says.   The program’s summer 2013 companies, in their current form, are as follows:   The Unicoach helps undergraduate students create their own productivity system to achieve stress-free academic success.   Kicktone is a platform that helps independent bands engage with their fans and attract a new audience by making it easy for them to share and sell their music.   Singa is a localised musical platform. The first version enables kids to sing along to their favourite tunes, a video recording of which can then be shared. Future versions will have gamification and real-time multi-user singing, along with apps and purchases.   FitUsIn is a booking site for the health and fitness industry that allows users to quickly compare gym deals and book their visits online.   Mobility Unlimited seeks to revolutionise how businesses and consumers interact by enabling instant, tailored and high-precision location-based services and payments.   DataMunch is an online service that enables users to easily combine isolated datasets, and gain insights quicker and cheaper than alternatives.   Metrixcare (formerly Edgebox) is a healthcare collaborative platform for measurement, management and improvement in patient safety and cost.   Memtell captures people’s memories using photography and voice recording, and allows memories to be stored online, in the cloud, making them easily accessible.   TowardTheStars is a website full of resources and gifts to inspire young girls.   Agent Anything is a website that connects people and companies to cost-effective student labour for almost any kind of task, temporary job or service.

Startup Weekend winner among latest Innovyz START participants

3:08AM | Friday, 15 March

A former winner of Startup Weekend is among the 10 ventures selected to take part in the second ANZ Innovyz START program, which is once again dominated by Adelaide-based start-ups.