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Judge reveals why iConnect Catering won Startup Weekend Perth

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Pollenizer co-founder Phil Morle has revealed the reasons why iConnect Catering was named the winner of the latest Startup Weekend Perth, highlighting the growth of the Perth start-up scene.


Startup Weekend Perth, which returned to Perth for the second time last weekend, was held at Spacecubed – a co-working space located in the heart of the CBD.


The judging panel included Amazon Web Services technical evangelist Joe Ziegler, Golden Gate Ventures founding partner Jeffrey Paine, Pollenizer co-founder Phil Morle and Yuuwa Capital co-founder Matt Macfarlane.


According to Startup Weekend Perth chief organiser Sam Birmingham, there were 100 participants. A total of 45 ideas were pitched on the Friday night and 15 teams were formed.


“Ultimately we had some pretty interesting concepts come out – a decent chunk of which the teams are continuing and will hopefully turn them into businesses,” he told StartupSmart.


The winner was iConnect Catering, which stops sporting fans from missing a minute of a live game by allowing them to order food and drinks from their smartphone, and have them delivered to their seat.


The team, led by Naomi Henn, has already lined up meetings with some of Perth’s venue managers. Morle says iConnect Catering was a clear standout.


“They had a very clear idea at the beginning. The way we judge things in Startup Weekend is the strength of the business model and how well people execute, and the third one is validation,” Morle told StartupSmart.


“It’s about how much they get out there in front of customers and test the model, and they did a terrific job.


“They didn’t hesitate to get out there in the market – they went and met with event managers… They validated really well and actually built a product over the weekend, and really impressed the judges over all three of the categories.”


“You could imagine the team getting up on Monday morning and getting to work on a new business.”


The runner-up for the weekend was Naughty 3D, which is utilising 3D printing to print products for the adult industry, while in third place was Squidee – an online program that allows designers to show clients any changes or revisions made to graphics.


A slide bar allows clients to see the “before” and “after”, eliminating the need for designers to explain changes over email or the phone.


“I think we were all expecting [Naughty 3D] to be a bit of a joke presentation… The business began pitching on the Friday night about a product without a problem to solve,” Morle says.


“They had a very confrontational first 24 hours trying to figure out what to do. They came upon this idea, which actually was a really powerful learning experience for them.


“They plugged into this whole subculture of people needing customised ‘tools’ and they pay good money for this sort of stuff, so they found a very clear utility for this.”


Morle also commended the efforts of Spacecubed, namely head honcho Brodie McCulloch, describing the venue’s atmosphere over the weekend as “awesome”.


“Brodie’s doing an amazing job with that place… It’s very exciting to see a very strong ecosystem emerging,” he says.