With over 100 entries, it came down to only five finalists, and one winner, CropLogic, taking the top prize of the inaugural IBM SmartCamp held in Sydney last Thursday. CropLogic, a ‘kiwi’ startup from New Zealand, provides predictive decision support tools to crop growers and processors enabling growers to improve yield and sustainability.
All five finalists pitched their innovative solutions to a room full of industry experts, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, IT professionals, and IBM executives for the opportunity to win IBM SmartCamp Australia/New Zealand. The morning kicked off with private mentoring sessions for each finalist, with mentor tables providing feedback and advice in real-time and helping each company shape and refine their pitch in preparation for their final presentation in the afternoon.
Following the morning sessions, the afternoon saw each finalist present their business concept to over 120 people, including IBM A/NZ Managing Director Andrew Stevens, IBM Global VC Partner Martin Kelly, as well as IBM GMU Director for ISV and Developer Relations, Mauricio Sucasas. It was evident that the audience was captivated by the calibre of innovation developed by these young companies.
Andrew Stevens then took to the stage to talk broadly about entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia & New Zealand, and how each of the competing startups were contributing to a Smarter Planet. Serial Entrepreneur Peter Kazacos followed with a humorous insight into how his business and IT entrepreneur career began. Peter also offered up some sound advice to the startups on strategies for business growth.
Winning startup CropLogic is ready to compete against other innovative startups from across the Growth Markets Unit at the regional finals in Beijing on September 25th. Joining CropLogic in Beijing will be one of the Australian finalists QuintessenceLabs who equally impressed the SmartCamp mentors and judges and will also be competing in the regional finals.
The excitement and buzz of the event continued throughout the afternoon at the networking reception that followed. The event created a wonderful opportunity to bring together the right people to foster home-grown innovation.
Thanks to all of our valued mentors and sponsors for their unwavering support in making our first Australia/NewZealand SmartCamp a success!