I was lucky enough to attend to my first start-up community event – Tech23 2015, held on November 17.

It’s an annual event that showcases 23 startups with high growth potential and technical expertise that are tackling big problems. As a result, the event draws together a community of investors, entrepreneurs and innovators from across Australian enterprise, government and industry sectors.

Each start-up was given 5 minutes to perform their pitch, each session then opened to an expert panel for invaluable questions and comments. The Innovation Island, a platform for meeting with representatives from universities, CSIRO, ATP Innovations and Data61 was where you could enjoy the all day gelato stand – it was the place to be in between sessions, making it a delightfully delicious networking opportunity!

Pooled Energy with ‘smart’ swimming pools, Relectrify turning used batteries into rechargeable battery systems and Switchdin a system to Integrating renewables, batteries and demand management, made my highlight session of the day the Renewable Energy session. All three pitches were very polished and the technologies resounded with my inner greenie.

Also, a special mention to pitches with the theme of social responsibility at their core; Me3D, Aipoly and Parent Paperwork, were technologies that are striving to make the world a greener, more inspired and inclusive place to live. Leanne Connelly gave a great pitch on their Me3D printer for education that stimulates kids to form a cognitive link between what you see on screen to what you see as a product, making this 3D printer a brilliant STEM tool for both primary and secondary schools.  Alberto Rizzoli from Aipoly presented a fantastic system; a visual assistant describes the world to the blind by using artificial intelligence and smartphones. Finally, Fiona Boyd from Parent Paperwork pitched an online forms system which aims to save 1 billions pieces of paper per year, which is equivalent to over 120,000 trees.

Congratulations to the overall winner of the $15K CSIRO Breakthrough Innovation Award, Nano-X, a novel radiotherapy system, which delivers best practice treatment at about 10% of the cost of current best practice treatment machines. The Tech 23 People’s choice award went to Liquid Instruments – who produce all-in-one devices for professional etst and measurement and proudly claimed they ‘sold an ipad to apple’.  It was also fantastic to see our friends from Me3D taking home two prizes; Best technology start-up founded by a woman and the Digital Disruptor Award.

Larry Marshall, the CEO of CSIRO was a fantastic addition to the day, providing insightful feedback to the entrants along with his bag of tricks, pulling out useful props such as the Zebedee and latest CSIRO reports when needed.

Larry closed the event with a great comment: ‘Invention is a solo event. Innovation is a team sport’. I’m already looking forward to Tech23 2016!

The full program with the list of all 23 startups can be found here.

Resources: