They were the successful South Australian ventures in the top five Australian start-ups selected after a five-day entrepreneurs’ ‘bootcamp’ in Boston, Massachusetts.
They were among 10 start-ups selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants who took part in innovation and entrepreneurship bootcamps in three states of Australia last year.
In Boston this month Edufolios – co-founded by Flinders adjunct lecturer Selena Woodward – and quit smoking app Kick.it were voted as having the highest potential in the final round of Bridge to MassChallenge Australia, a program co-funded by Microsoft, the SA Government and other key partners.
The five finalist teams from the Boston round are now through to the final stage and will vie for a place in one of the five world accelerators in either the US, Mexico, Switzerland, Israel or England. Major cash prizes will be offered to the overall winners.
MassChallenge is a United States-based not-for-profit start-up accelerator program providing support to the highest-impact and highest-potential start-ups and entrepreneurs. To date, 1211 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $1.8 billion in funding, generated over $700 million in revenue, and created over 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Kick.it founder James Stewart says the experience in the US was very positive and he’s looking forward to the next round of networking, special training, one-on-one mentorship, and access to another major city’s business ecosystem
Stewart, who was the winner of the Flinders New Venture Institute’s 2014 Venture Dorm program at Tonsley, now plans to pitch his vision to the MassChallenge program in April and launch the iOS app later this year.
Selena Woodward, who also teaches at Flinders University’s School of Education, founded Edufolios with her husband Matt Woodward about a year ago.
The online platform is being used extensively around Australia to help teachers manage their personal development and registration requirements. The entrepreneurial Woodwards hope to expand its use in international markets.
“Going to Boston gave me exposure to even more talent and insight, all of which is going to help me get Edufolios to our next goal in half the time,” Selena Woodward says.
“MassChallenge is shaping our business by shaping my skill set and broadening my opportunities to connect, learn and grow internationally.
“It’s wonderful to work with people with incredibly high expectation. Expectation that drives me to push and grow my skills as I tighten up my business model and move towards employing two new team members and growing our traction.”
The other start-ups to make the final five from the Australian challenge were Conweigh, Microba, and Stop Rotor/Unmanned Aerial Systems. Other SA entrants in the Boston bootcamp were Ben Flink, from Flinders NVI, and leading woman entrepreneur Leila Henderson.
The New Venture Institute at Tonsley is also organising an SA group of 10 startups to attend this year’s international SXSW Conference in Austin Texas next month. It is the fifth US tour organized by the NVI and includes visits to key business centres and corporate headquarters in San Francisco and New York.
“We want out people to return with inspiration and networks to build global companies from Adelaide,” says NVI director Matt Salier. “Our accelerator partners in the US are a great resource to tap for our South Australian entrepreneurs.”
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