While reading today’s announcement by the NSW government that it is putting up a $100,000 prize pool for the Tech23 startup competition, we couldn’t help thinking about this article by business commentator Tim Mazzarol.
As he puts it, venture capital funding might seem exciting, but Dragon’s Den it is not. He paints a picture of a venture capital as a declining source of funding that hit its heyday in the 1990s, but now has “poor” returns.
Whether you view the cash prizes on offer at Tech23 in this light or not, the prospect of $40,000 in cash based on a five-minute presentation must seem like Christmas to a struggling entrepreneur with a big idea.
There’s a growing list of companies who have gotten a share of the prizes and exposure on offer through Tech23, which is billed as an event to “unearth” innovations. Posse is one previous winner. The company started with music ticket sales as its focus, but in three days will be launching a new recommendation site for accommodation, restaurants and other businesses.
Then there’s Kaggle, which lets organisations run competitions to solve their data analysis problems. GoCatch came up with an app for finding the nearest vacant taxi, and Roamz, which tells people “cool places” in their local vicinity.
The 23 companies vying for the money must be less than seven years old and technology must be central to their innovation.
The Government prizes pool is split into four prizes, described in the Government media release as:
Outstanding Collaboration for Innovation Award - a $20,000 prize for the company which best demonstrates active engagement in a business partnership or collaboration contributing to the development of their innovation.
Greatest Potential Award - a $20,000 prize for the company which best demonstrates how they will progress their business model to the next level providing the greatest potential for growth and progress.
High Growth Catalyst Award – a $20,000 prize for the company which can best drive change and high growth in any industry sector.
Innovation Excellence Award – the major $40,000 prize for the company deemed the best of the Tech23 by demonstrating how their innovation is unique and can underpin company performance, industry dynamics, productivity change and economic growth.
The event is also an opportunity to get in front of potential investors, or exhibit in the foyer during the event.
[Main Image: Hu Xiao Fang / Shutterstock.com]