- BRW Lists
Published 06 March 2013 12:31, Updated 17 April 2013 11:56
A group of 25 Australian start-ups with global aspirations have been selected to take part in a program of extensive mentoring, culminating in a pitch to Silicon Valley investors, as part of the 2013 Advance Innovation Program.
But despite the best efforts of Advance, a not-for-profit organisation that connects some of the most successful Australian entrepreneurs, only four of the 25 start-ups have women as co-founders.
The annual program involves workshops and mentoring from successful Australians based in Silicon Valley, to refine business models and investment pitches. The businesses then travel to Silicon Valley where they are plugged into entrepreneur and investor networks and showcase their company.
Advance chief executive Serafina Maiorano told BRW Advance is aware of the gender imbalance in the entrepreneur community and does its best to seek out women entrepreneurs as role models.
“We are aware of that as well, and our program is very much geared towards it,” Maiorano says. “... in the companies we’ve chosen in Australia we do look for female-run companies and we look for female mentors in Silicon Valley as well.”
Sydney-based Triplebackup, one of the shortlisted companies, eliminates downtime for small to mid-size businesses in the case of a site disaster like a fire or flood, by backing up their servers with an exact clone. Co-founder Vanessa Wilson, a lawyer formerly with US project marketing company ESI International, says she found the Australian start-up community supportive.
“It’s a great time for local startups, with great accelerators and a couple of very good incubators,” Wilson says. “We get really strong support and it helps you grow your business quickly.”
Wilson says she finds it hard to understand why there are so few female co-founders of new tech companies.
“I’ve got to say a lot of salespeople are female and it really makes sense for an organisation to be driven by someone who has come from a sales and marketing background, not just purely technical,” Wilson says. “When you have a product or service you really need to match it to a market need.”
Some of the short-listed companies are:
Ollo Mobile, Qld. A virtual mobile operator.
ProGaming Wld. A gaming company.
Tapestry, NSW. A social aged care platform.
Insvrance. An insurance technology platform.
Triplebackup, NSW. An online image backup for small and medium businesses.
OneTouch, Vic. Software that captures information from documents.
HealthKit, Vic. A global platform for doctors and patients building health data to find cures.
Capture Group, Vic. An app to create better videos on your smartphone.
MComms TV, Vic. Software design and solutions for video streaming.