Earlier this month we joined in the national celebration of Australia’s deep technology startup ecosystem that is Tech23. The annual Sydney-based conference showcased 23 clever young companies pitching before an audience of investors, industry representatives and entrepreneurs. Their innovations centred around the future of automation and the ways it can influence our daily lives. They provided solutions with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), agtech and the Internet of Things.
Charles Day, CEO of the Office of Innovation and Science Australia, Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith, an esteemed astronomer at CSIRO, and Adrian Turner, CEO of CSIRO’s Data61, were among the industry leaders giving feedback and asking questions following each pitch. We noted intellectual property (IP) was mentioned numerous times in these discussions, signifying the role a strong IP strategy plays on the road to success for startups. Many of the entrepreneurs had already protected their brand with a trade mark, the functionality of their products with a patent, and their trade secrets with a non-disclosure agreement.
This year's Tech23 entrepreneurs. Image provided by SlatteryIT.
IP Australia staff chatted with conference goers on all things IP related. We answered questions ranging from “what’s new in your space?” to “what class should I file my trade mark under?”. Our team was in good company alongside other sponsors on ‘Innovation Island’, including CSIRO, Westpac, Cicada Innovations, Amazon Web Services and Austrade.
The conference concluded with the awards ceremony where AI, DNA and education technologies were amongst those taking home prizes. The Tech23 People’s Choice Award went to Xplor, a system transforming the way we approach learning. The Tech23 Innovation Excellence Award went to Nucleotrace for their supply chain monitoring and anti-counterfeiting technology, which uses fragments of DNA as a non-toxic molecular fingerprint. Finally, Tech23’s Greatest Potential Award went to Presagen for an AI-driven platform that automates human behaviour and medical diagnostics.
Tech23 winners Xplor, Presagen and Nucleotrace. Image provided by SlatteryIT.
The 23 entrepreneurs were vying not only for cash prizes, but trips to the USA, China and landing pads in Israel and Germany. Elula won a trip to Boston; Modular Photonics, who won the Austrade Going Global Award, will visit landing pads in Berlin and Tel Aviv; Presagen will have lunch with Upguard in California; and Flurosat, who won the China Australia Millennial Project award, will take a five-day immersion tour through Beijing’s innovation ecosystem.
Congratulations to all Tech23 2017 startups! We’re envisioning an even larger celebration next year to mark Tech23’s tenth anniversary.