5 Best Startups That Pitched At SydStart This Week

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Australian startup community heavyweights evaluated 100 budding businesses in a fast-paced SydStart ‘pitchfest’ competition this week.

Applications were judged on target market, innovation, traction, defensibility and team. Winners received mentoring, tech gadgets and co-working space.

Here were the top five:

1. CriticalArc: Smartphone-based campus surveillance

Wollongong-based CriticalArc won SydStart’s second-ever Startup Trophy.

Founded in 2011 by former navy weapons engineer Glenn Farrant and software developer Jahmai Lay, CriticalArc is part of the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerator StartPad incubator and aims to make campus security “omnipresent” by turning staff and students’ smartphones into a sensor network.

The startup’s SafeZone app lets users send a location-based call for help to all security staff and also alerts users if there is a campus-wide incident they need to be aware of. Meanwhile, its OmniGuard product lets security staff monitor situations in real-time on a mobile or web-based map.

CriticalArc has signed on Wollongong, Curtin and Newcastle universities as customers.

2. AirTasker: Outsource everyday chores

AirTasker is a location-based Freelancer.com for errands: think cleaning up after a party, a lift to the airport or assembling Ikea furniture.

It was launched by Sydneysiders Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui in February 2012 and attracted $1.5 million in funding within two months of launch.

Users can post jobs, or browse and bid on available jobs. Airtasker employs seven people and processes about $120,000 worth of jobs per month.

3. WattCost: Lower household electricity bills

Founded by Sydney electronics veteran David Soutar, WattCost hopes to begin shipping ‘stick-on’, wifi-enabled electricity meter sensors by August.

Users receive smartphone alerts if any major appliances are accidentally left running, and can download an application that lets them check their electricity costs in real-time and compare results with other community members.

The startup is based in Fishburners and has raised $8316 of its $100,000 target so far.

4. Pocketbook: Budgeting made simple

Pocketbook was founded by software engineer Alvin Singh last August. It pulls together and organises users’ banking data and helps them visualise their spending habits and saving targets.

The startup is hoping to raise $700,000 by September. It will eventually bring in data like rewards information, investments, bills, and invoices.

5. Get Reading Right: Synthetic phonics

Aptly named Get Reading Right was founded in 2005 by veteran teacher Jo-Anne Dooner and educational psychologist Michael Wood.

The business offers teachers a “synthetic phonics”-based program for children that includes lesson plans, practice books, stories and an online platform with games for home and classroom learning.

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