Written on the 27 November 2014

FROM the River City to Silicon Valley status, that’s the trajectory of six individuals who were rewarded at the world’s largest startup competition last week.

Six of Australia’s 20 Startup Catalyst participants were in the top three winning teams at San Francisco’s Startup Weekend, which is part of the world’s largest startup competition, Global Startup Battle.

Over the course of the 54-hour competition, which was part of the ten-day annual mission to Silicon Valley, the participants formed teams, brainstormed ideas, built prototypes and launched products.

The winning team created SubSnap, a cloud-based document and workflow management tool for the film and TV industry. The team included Queensland University of Technology (QUT) business student, 22-year-old Kelsey-Lee Stay. 

Second place went to VisaTrak, an online tool for managing travel visas. The team included 23-year-old Mitch Pierias and 25-year-old Griffith University student Anthony Guevara.

The third placed team created Yes Chef, an app for voice-controlled recipe narration. The team included Larene Le Gassick, Elliot Smith and Alex Ghiculescu (pictured left), who was a Finalist for his business Tanda in the Technology category of the 2014 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards earlier this month. 

“Startup weekend reminded us that we really can compete with the best of them,” says Ghiculescu.

“By the end of the competition, people in four different countries were using our app, Yes Chef, which was pretty exciting.”

Startup Catalyst’s project director Colin Kinner says the format of the competition prompted the highest quality and execution of ideas.   

“We’ve seen that the next generation of Australian startup entrepreneurs are ready to compete with the best of the best on a world scale,” says Kinner.

“I believe we’ve really inspired these young Aussies to think big and learn that idea development through collaboration and teamwork is the key to success and progress.

“We’re really proud of all of our 20 Startup Catalyst participants and we’ve only had positive feedback from US team-mates and organisers saying that our Aussies are highly capable, hard workers and added a lot of value to each team.”

The sponsors for the initiative include QUT, University of Queensland, Griffith Film School, Inabox Group and McCullough Robertson, among media partners.






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