Aussie start-up stars shine

Nicole Matejic, of Info Ops HQ was a finalist in the ‘Start Tel Aviv’ competition run by the Embassy of Israel in Australia … read the article in the Australian Jewish News here.

ISRAEL is known around the world as the start-up nation and a leader in workforce gender equality, but Australia is also becoming a significant player on both counts, judging by the quality of entries in the Australian final of the Start Tel Aviv 2016 competition.

More than 120 people, including competition judges Israel’s Ambassador to Australia Shmuel Ben-Shmuel and NSW Chief Scientist Professor Mary O’Kane, attended the final in Sydney on July 11, won by a Melbourne-based corporate secure messaging start-up called Konnective.

The competition is being run by Israeli embassies in 30 countries, with winners from each receiving a five-day, all-expenses paid trip to the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference in September.

A special feature this year was that all entrants had to be start-ups founded or co-founded by women.

The variety of innovative products presented on the night was impressive.

They included a conference system app called My Mic, which turns audience members’ mobile phones into microphones; an online video-based corporate education and training app run by and designed for women called Xchange; and a measuring and analytics tool called The Yield, designed for farmers to boost their harvests.

Other finalists included a cybersecurity start-up called Info Ops HQ that uses software to identify potential security leads in open source data like social media, and an app called Black Anie that enables computers to more efficiently process and solve data problems in different environments using 3D visual and detection software.

Judges were most impressed by Konnective’s already established client list, which includes BHP, General Motors Holden, Village Roadshow and Benetas Aged Care.

Konnective uses the latest technology to enable organisations to send important, targeted messages and updates in real time to employees on an individual or group basis.

Konnective co-founder Julie Bray, who established the start-up four years ago with Brad Kazazes, told The AJN it all started with a simple idea for a solution to improve communication between teachers and parents at her daughter’s primary school.

“From there we realised there are so many more uses in the corporate world.”

Bray said she was surprised and delighted at Konnective being declared the competition’s Australian winner. “There were such fantastic presentations tonight,” she said.

“I was just happy to be in there with a chance. It’s so exciting because Israel has been on my radar (to visit) for a long time.

“We are very excited at the opportunity to be going to Tel Aviv because we are looking for funding to expand our growth.”

Ambassador Ben-Shmuel was “hugely impressed” by the sophistication of all the finalists’ products.

“Most importantly, each and every one of the participants is testimony to the great contribution women can bring to the field of innovation,” Ben-Shmuel said.

He added the competition “is really important because at the end of the day, this is another angle where we can enhance the relationship between our two countries.”

Fourteen Australian start-ups entered the competition.

SHANE DESIATNIK