Be one of the Tech23 in 2013! Apply now

Tech23 is back! Posse, Marathon Robotics, BiNu, Ninja Blocks, Smart Sparrow and other fast-growing innovative technology companies have been propelled into the spotlight at Tech23. Applications to be one of the Tech23 in 2013 are now open!

Tech23 - OneSaas

Tech23 gives 23 young, innovative startups the chance to show off their business for FIVE minutes in front of a panel of industry leaders, and an audience of over 400 investors, partners, potential customers and mentors.

You could win valuable prizes, meet your chairman or sign up a big customer at Tech23 2013.

“I’ve had meeting after meeting where people told me they saw us at Tech23.”
– Marcus Schappi, Ninja Blocks (Tech23 2012)
Winner of Outstanding Collaboration for Innovation Award – $20,000

“Tech23 was phenomenal and really helped with media, social proof, and credibility. Tech23 really helps put the AU start-up scene on the map”
– Dror Ben Naim, Smart Sparrow (Tech23 2012)
Winner of High Growth Catalyst Award – $20,000

If you’re an Australian technology startup ready to step onto the stage, apply to be one of the Tech23 today. It’s free to apply. Is there a potential Tech23 company on your radar? Don’t let them miss out.

Apply Now

Cheers,
Tech23 team

Technology trends that are transforming education

Matthew Ho

Technology is creating a number of fundamental changes to the education sector. It is changing the delivery of education, enabling greater access and improving the level of student engagement. Here we provide a broad overview of three technology trends that are transforming education as Native Tongue sees it.

1. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Kaggle (Tech 23 Alumni) held a worldwide competition to find the best algorithm for grading short answer questions in exams. The winner from Kaggle was Luis Tandalla, a University of New Orleans senior who took free online classes on Coursera on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The second and third place runner up, had also enrolled in the same online course. Those courses were provided by the founder of Coursera, Andrew Ng, who is also a lecturer on artificial intelligence at Stanford University.

This particular course has over 100,000 people enrolled. Andrew Ng believes that it would have taken him 250 years to deliver this same course to all the people enrolled. Technology has enabled Ng’s lessons to be scaled exponentially.

Coursera, which has raised $16 million in venture funding, is one of several massive open online courses (“MOOC”). Other learning platforms include Udacity, edX, Minerva, and Open Learning from Australia. These platforms partner with top universities such as MIT, Harvard, Duke, and UNSW. MOOC is pioneering a revolution where world-class education is free, open and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

2. Blended learning

One of the most popular channels on Youtube is Khan Academy. It is a series of free videos on maths, science and history lectures, narrated by Salman Khan an ex-hedge fund analyst and a graduate of MIT and Harvard. At the time of writing, it has amassed 200 million views across its educational videos. Teachers are also using the Khan Academy videos in their lessons. The students watch the Khan lectures remotely and do homework offline in the classroom.

This is known as flipped teaching, which is a form of blended learning. It has revolutionised some classrooms, where, instead of the teacher delivering lectures to the class, the classroom environment has been “flipped” as the student independently learns and the teacher provides assistance with homework and answers questions.

Blended learning occurs when a student utilises partial learning via traditional teaching in a physical space and through online delivery of education materials where they can have some level of control (e.g. timing, difficulty, pace, place). This trend continues to grow and it is estimated that by 2014, 50% of post secondary education will take one class online.

3. Gamification

Ananth Pai is a 3rd grade teacher in Maplewood, Minnesota. He realised that his class was not paying attention and something drastic needed to be done. He decided to introduce Nintendo DS game consoles into the classrooms and a game-based curriculum for maths, reading, vocabulary and geography. The students played games such as Maths Blaster for multiplication and Brain Age 2, a word scramble game. After 18 weeks of introducing this new program, the class had progressed from a below 3rd grade level to mid 4th grade level. The games were able to engage students due to their interactive game format and provided a more fun way to learn educational content.

Gamification is a growing trend in education, where game structures and game play is used for teaching. It is not surprising given that, in countries with strong gamer cultures, the average child plays about 10,000 hours of video games. Games are a medium that students are familiar with. Video games and mobile games can assist with increasing student engagement as they provide unique learning structures. They encourage players to acquire new skills through incentives and reward mechanisms.

Conclusion

These are some of the broader technological trends that are changing education. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. US venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote in his op-ed that he believes that education, a sector that has been traditionally resistant to change, is primed to be transformed by software and software centric-entrepreneurs.

In 2012, presenting at Tech23 were 3 innovative education companies. Smart Sparrow is creating adaptive e-learning. Jelly Music is making music education more interactive. Native Tongue has arcade games for language learning. As more technology entrepreneurs enter this sector and as educators adopt new technology, education will continue to be fundamentally transformed.

Tech23 Alumni Trailblazers share their secrets!

This year Tech23 will be kicking off with a very special morning session, where we’ll show off some of our ‘Trailblazers’ – what we affectionately dub our previous top 23 companies from earlier years, who since graduating as Tech23 alumni have made us very proud with their spectacular achievements!

Some of these companies have received multi-million dollar investments, others have gone onto international recognition, while other trailblazers are delivering important services like providing internet in underdeveloped regions.

Our morning session will star Simon Burke from IPscape (Tech23 Alumni 2009), which this year received $5 million from Telstra, along with Gour Lentell, whose company biNu (Tech23 Alumni 2010) received $2 million from investors including Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures and Paul Bassat (one of our Industry Superstars). Joining them will be Rebekah Campbell’s Posse (Tech23 Alumni 2009), which famously ‘pivoted’ earlier this year, along with BugHerd’s (Tech23 Alumni 2011) Matt Milosavljevic, who received a $500,000 investment from Starfish Ventures this year.

Our trailblazers will share their big breaks and major trials, what key opportunities made the difference and what unexpected challenges may have confronted their young businesses. Our Tech23 audience will also have the chance to quiz the alumni as they take audience questions, and hopefully share some valuable insights and tips for other up-and-coming companies.

Check out some of our other trailblazers who continue to make the team at Tech23 very proud indeed – our Alumni page has all the details.

And, of course, keep checking back at our blog and the website for the announcement of this year’s top 23 – the announcement will be made over the next couple of weeks, and we can’t wait to share the next round of Tech23 graduates with you!

The team at SlatteryIT

Our trip to Silicon Valley: Catherine Prosser, CEO StageBitz

Catherine Prosser - StageBitz

Catherine Prosser

Guest Post: Catherine Prosser, StageBitz

Last year, as one of 150 other ambitious start-ups, our company StageBitz applied to be part of Tech23 2011.

It turned out to be pretty significant for our business.  We wanted to give our start-up some exposure, make some connections, and generally accelerate the momentum we had going.  So when we were selected to present on the day, we were very excited, particularly because we were only just getting used to the idea of being a “tech” company.

Mat Lawrence, my co-founder, and I come from the world of theatre. “Tech” was still a world we were learning about (albeit very quickly!).

StageBitz developed from a very real problem that exists in our industry and, indeed, any industry that needs to acquire set, props, costumes or any other item to get a project done.  We devised a bespoke web app that, for the first time, allowed the whole project team to collaborate in one spot to design and create the items they needed. The app automatically collates those items into a central inventory for the company and allows them to share it online with other companies. To use a very “tech” phrase, it had huge potential to disrupt theatre, film and TV, events and similar realms.

So when, at the end of the Tech23 day, Rachel (Slattery) announced that we had won both the $25k Catalyst award (courtesy of NSW  Trade and Investment) as well as ATP Innovation‘s Silicon Valley Explorer prize – 5 days of meetings and greetings in Silicon Valley-  we were over the moon.

In a flurry of applause, good will and noise, I met Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations, for the first time as he handed me the envelope. I had about three seconds to say ‘thank you!’ and ‘we’ll talk next week!’ before the next lot of photos and presentations got underway.

Several  months later, I was sitting in a beautiful courtyard at Stanford University in Palo Alto reflecting on the two weeks before, and what the Silicon Valley Explorer prize has meant to StageBitz. Yes, two weeks; we were able to add an extra week at the front of the trip to do some very valuable customer development and validation.  The combination of the cash prize, the trip and the perfect timing of the trip has really allowed us to make some big steps forward.

Here’s what that prize allowed us to do:

  • Launch the latest version of StageBitz, which allows customers to collaborate on their props, set and costumes online for the very first time
  • Meet with potential New York customers, such as the Met Opera, Juilliard School and Manhattan Theatre Club
  • Meet hundreds of potential customers in the form of leading US universities, theatre companies, theatre professionals and students at our booth at the US Institute of Theatre Technology’s 2012 Conference and Exhibition
  • Meet legal, business and investment experts who advised us on the logistics and realities of life in Silicon Valley
  • Spend time in various incubators and other spaces designed to foster entrepreneurs, including the new Startup HQ, GreenStart, the Citrix Accelerator and 500 startups
  • Follow the progress of the 8 StartMate companies
  • Have experienced entrepreneurs from all walks provide advice and ask key questions to help us focus on the next steps for StageBitz

What did I want to get out of those two weeks? I wanted to prove that US customers needed and wanted StageBitz as much as our early Australian customers did.

I wanted to establish personal relationships with key companies and universities to establish our customer base in the US. I wanted to understand what the opportunities, realities and logistics of being based in Silicon Valley were, both professional and personal.

I wanted to meet people with a range of experiences who would take the time to share what they’ve learned with me and add their perspective to the challenges and opportunities that are presenting themselves to us at the moment. I wanted to come away feeling confident and excited about the next steps for our company.

I am pleased to say that with the fabulous support, assistance and experience of Hamish, we have done all that and a little bit more.

An added bonus for us was that the Startmate companies happened to arrive the same week we went, so I have also had the experience of sitting in a room at 500 Startups amongst a whole heap of Silicon Valley VCs and Angel investors and been able to follow the pretty exciting path that some of them have trodden (starting with a pretty good session at the Tipsy Pig on Monday night, but let’s leave sleeping pigs lie). It is very clear that this is a city with amazing opportunities available for those willing to grab them.

Is Silicon Valley right for StageBitz? Or New York? Or LA? The next 3 or 4 months will tell. We have a pile of leads to follow up on and our challenge is to convert the leads to free trials and the free trials to happy, paying customers. Our next steps will include the need to see if we get more traction from any particular sector of this massive market. And we need to listen carefully to what these important early customers are telling us. Then we can make some serious decisions about where is the best place for StageBitz to grow and drive forward like we know it can.

Our sincere thanks to ATP Innovations and Tech23 for making those two great weeks happen.

Save the date – Tech23 2012!

We’re very excited to let you know that we will be holding Tech23 2012 on Tuesday 23rd October 2012. Plans are underway to make this the best Tech23 yet so please save the date!

We’ll be launching Tech23 2012 at our upcoming event, TechConnect 2012, taking place on Thursday 19th April in Sydney, where we’ll focus on the challenges and opportunities involved in becoming one of Australia’s big tech success stories. BigCommerce’s co-founder Mitchell Harper and Seek’s co-founder Matt Rockman are part of the amazing talent line-up, along with Matt Barrie; Bill Bartee; John Dyson; Peter Davison; Ian Gardiner; Matthew Macfarlane; Alan Jones and Dean McAvoy. A few Tech23 Alumni have also kindly agreed to speak, including: Roamz’s Jonathan Barouch; Posse’s Rebekah Campbell; Taggle’s Chris Andrews; IPScape’s Simon Burke and BuildingIQ’s Mike Zimmerman. We hope to see you there!

We’re also very happy to hear about all of the exciting things that have been happening for many of the Tech23 2011 Alumni, topped off last week with the news that BugHerd – winners of the People’s Choice Award at Tech23 2011 – has received a $500k investment from Starfish Ventures. Other recent good news we can remind you of – Kaggle raised $11 million with investors including PayPal Founder Max Levchin and Google Chief Economist Hal Varian; FilterSquad closed a $1.1 million round led by Yuuwa Capital; OrionVM raised money from Gordon Bell and Stephen Baxter; and APN News and Media took a 25% stake in Friendorse.

You can keep up to date with all of our plans for Tech23 2012 right here at the Tech23 blog. Stay tuned for all of the details!
The team at SlatteryIT

Tech23 2011 – What a day!

The Tech23 2011 Companies

The Tech23 2011 Companies

What a day was had by all who came along to Tech23 2011.  We saw some great presentations from our Tech23 companies, a stellar line-up of industry leaders probing the opportunities and challenges, and some exciting younger start-ups on Innovation Island.

The day ended on a high with drinks and the presentation of the awards.  Well done to goCatch, OrionVM, Centryc, StageBitz and Filter Squad who took out the NSW Government prizes, to Bugherd, voted the best presentation of the day, to Wooboard voted favourite Innovation Island company, and to the winners of the long list of supporter prizes.

We’re currently in the process of editing the video footage from the day, which will be uploaded to YouTube within the next week.  The photos from the day will also soon be available on the website – www.tech23.com.au.  Watch this space and we’ll be sure to let you know when they’re ready.

Thanks to all of those involved – the Tech23 companies, the Innovation Island companies, the Industry Leaders, our fantastic sponsors NSW Trade & Investment and ATS, Amazon Web Services, Citrix, CSIRO, University of Technology, Sydney, NICTA and Starfish Ventures, all of our supporters, our judges, all of the people who assisted the Tech23 companies with their preparation for the day, and of course the attendees.  It’s your involvement and support that helps make great things happen!

Now that it’s all over for another year, we’re already starting to think about Tech23 2012!  We’d love to hear your thoughts about the day via email – tech23@slatteryit.com.au or online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Tech23.

Thank again everyone!

The team at SlatteryIT

One week until Tech23 2011!

With only one week until Tech23 we’re getting rather excited!  We’ve spent some time with our Tech23 companies over the past few weeks, helping them refine their presentations for the big day and we think they are going to do a great job.  This year’s Tech23 are showing off all sorts of innovative technologies, from early weather warning to augmented reality platforms to human location solutions.

We’ve had a few welcomed additions to our fantastic line up of Industry LeadersRyan Junee, serial entrepreneur who sold his start-up Omnisio to Google, Dr Larry Marshall, Managing Director of Starfish Venture Partners, and Greg Roebuck, CEO of carsales.com.au.  The program is now final and promises to provide a jam-packed day full of exciting new Australian tech innovation.

For those of you coming along, don’t forget to stay for the Awards Celebration, where all of the winners of the great prizes on offer will be announced.  This year we have a record number of prizes, from an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley, to meetings with investors and industry leaders, and cash prizes.

We hope to see you at Tech23 2011!

The team at SlatteryIT

Did you know that your mobile can see?

buildAR

Tech23 2011 Company - buildAR

Guest blogger: buildAR

And now for another guest blog from one of our Tech23 companiesbuildAR.  Enjoy!

Did you know that your mobile can see?  It can hear too!  It has a camera and a microphone and it can use these plus all it’s other sensors to find out things about the real world all around you.

If you hold your mobile up and move the camera around you can see digital content overlaid onto your view of the world.  This digital content can help you see into the future and into the past.

If you point your mobile at a logo or image it can project 3d models and video onto what you’re seeing.  Now the science fiction interfaces of the “Minority Report” are starting to appear in our everyday world.

Not all at once, but with an ever growing tidal wave.

This is called Augmented Reality.  buildAR.com helps you ride this new wave and makes it easy to quickly link your digital content and data to the real world.  buildAR make it easy to Augment your Reality.

Then anyone with a capable smartphone or table can see and interact with your content, in the time and location that makes most sense for you and them.  You can use buildAR to update these links and your content in real time.  This allows you to share your AR enabled content with the millions of AR enabled mobile devices that are already in use.

We’re still in the very early “silent movie” phase of Augmented Reality but it’s evolving rapidly.  This is why we have entered buildAR into the Tech23 awards.  Like the other 22 innovative tech companies, we’ve positioned ourselves on the cutting edge of a new revolution.  We’re really excited about sharing our vision with everyone on the 23rd of August.  A vision that we hope will leave you seeing the world in a whole new way.

One great example is a whole new retail concept we’ve developed with Yiying Lu, the creator of Twitter’s ‘fail whale’, and the new company she co-founded called walls360.com.  We’re going to bring digital art to your real-world-walls and create a whole underworld of interactivity hiding below the surface.  A hidden augmented reality that people can discover just by holding up their mobile.

We’ve also got some great announcements about the growth of our business and how we’ve really found our market fit now.  It’s exciting to watch the birth of this revolution.

SlatteryIT have done a really great job turning Tech23 into this amazing event in only three years and we’re so happy to have been selected to participate.  I think the collection of companies across all the Tech23 events shows you just how well the Australian innovation and start-up community really are doing.

I’m looking forward to seeing you at Tech23.

The time is right for an innovation like StageBitz!

Tech23 2011 Company - StageBitz

Guest Blogger: StageBitz

23 days until Tech23! We’re getting very excited! Here is our second guest blog, from StageBitz, another one of our great Tech23 2011 companies!

I was very pleased to hear that StageBitz had been accepted as one of the Tech23 companies because it means that I am starting to achieve one of my main goals in developing StageBitz; to show the technology sector what great opportunities await them in the entertainment industry.

Despite the amazing lighting, sound and computer effects that we as audience members take for granted, the process to actually organise all of this is extremely old-fashioned. Massive Broadway musicals rely on a ring-binder that people update with pencil as their key project management tool. Production management in general is a combination of spreadsheets, emails, lists and phone-calls.

Usually when I tell people this, the response is usually ‘But that’s ridiculous! Why don’t they use some of the amazing project management tools out there? There are so many available!’.

Well, the thing is that while 90% of what screen and stage does could be catered for by those tools, there is 10% that just doesn’t fit neatly into that box. And usually it’s because they don’t provide fields or flow-charts that allow for ‘drop chandelier from over audience onto stage’ or ‘make 12m long animatronic dragon claw’. Without the last 10%, the tools are useless.

This is, of course, what’s so amazing about working in stage and screen. Each project can be wildly different from the next; sure you’ll need to light a stage or operate some cameras, but in terms of what actually happen under those lights or in front of those cameras you can never be sure what you’ll be required to do. It’s an amazingly complex business, where the requirements for actors, crew, lighting, sound, design, set, props, costumes, special effects, make-up and so on can all change overnight yet must intersect perfectly when the lights go on or the cameras roll.

The whole purpose of the entertainment industry is to allow the audience that magical ‘suspension of disbelief’ so that they are transported for a few hours to somewhere else. It could be to a living room, suburb or city very much like their own. Or it could be to The Shire to see those Hobbits start their journey. Every element you see as a member of the audience has had many people involved with it from design to execution and appearing in the action. A great example of the huge amount of collaboration, design and forethought that has to go into an item is given in this behind-the-scenes tour of The Lord of the Rings and the challenges that it provided for props artisans; surely one of the biggest props efforts in recent times. Another fascinating peek into what happens in props departments around the world can be found in this look at how Life on Mars got the look and feel it needed. If you’re recreating a 1973 New York police station in the 2000s, it’s not just that you have to find now-redundant typewriters, phones, lamps and rolodexes from almost 40 years ago, it’s that they have to look new! This kind of thing is a constant challenge for props departments, designers and directors everywhere.

Which is what led me to StageBitz. I have worked professionally in theatre and events for over a decade. Frankly, it was driving me crazy to see all the amazing tools that my colleagues in other industries had at their disposal to improve their work when I was stuck with a pencil, paper, and the odd Excel spreadsheet. I’m not alone in this; the idea of digital tools has been wistfully discussed in the industry for years. The difference is that I have had the very good fortune and plain luck to be able to meet the right people to develop the product, secure the odd bit of capital along the way and be able to work exclusively on developing StageBitz; a combination of opportunities that is very rare in an industry that relies on freelance and project-based work which keeps people moving around.

The time is really right for an innovation like StageBitz®. People are more and more comfortable with doing business in the cloud and the advent of mobile technology like smartphones and in particular the iPads and so forth of the last year or so seems tailor made for an industry that has to work in nooks and crannies backstage, up in lighting rigs, in workshops and out on location where even a traditional notebook can be a challenge to use. For an industry that is still forced to use project management tools that are decades old, this is indeed an exciting revolution.

I’m looking forward to sharing our vision for StageBitz® with everyone at Tech23 and talking to everyone about how ICT and showbiz can provide great opportunities for both.

See you on August 23. www.stagebitz.com.

The humble beginnings of Roamz

Tech23 2011 Company - Roamz

Tech23 2011 Company - Roamz

Guest Blogger: Roamz

Leading up to Tech23 2011, we’ve invited the Tech23 companies to write blog posts, giving them an opportunity to tell us a little bit about themselves before we see them present on the 23rd of August. Our first guest blog is from Roamz. Enjoy!

The idea of Roamz comes from humble beginnings! It was simple, we wanted to know not only what was going on around us but more importantly we wanted to know about local places and activities that interested us. Let’s face it, we have FOMO (fear of missing out) so we began to brainstorm.

With so much information at our fingertips how come it is still so hard to find out what is going on around you?

Why it is that finding out about places and events usually occurs by serendipity?

Surely with all the sharing of location based information that is occurring on mobile devices there must be a better way to find out about places that are relevant to you at the time they are relevant to you?

This is where Roamz comes in, a service that is as individual as you are. Location based discovery that treats you as a unique individual rather than a homogenous robot. Simply put, Roamz is your friend in your pocket that knows what you are interested in.

We’ve built a really talented team who have been doing nothing but breathing, eating and sleeping Roamz. In the short time that we have been around we have been lucky enough to have won the support of the NSW Government through Industry and Investment’s mobile concierge grant and have been lucky enough to receive some press interest in our product.

Tech23 snuck up on us and we were over the moon when we were selected to be among the 23 companies to present. We can’t wait to share more about our product and vision at the event. The countdown to August 23 has begun and we are eager to get everyone’s thoughts on Roamz.

If you can’t wait until August 23rd then check our product video:
www.youtube.com/user/RoamzView?blend=3&ob=5

Hope to see you at Tech23 2011!
Team Roamz