Hold onto your VR headsets fellow viewers, it’s the moment everyone has been waiting for – the RiverPitch grand finale.
That’s right, we finally find out who is taking the grand prize of $20,000 and the opportunity to attend London tech week to network with a group of angel investors.
In case you missed it, the six national finalists are James from Audeara, Yas from the World’s Biggest Garage Sale, Caroline from Sound Scouts, Jason and Hanno from Unleash Live, Jessica and Lucinda from Neighbourlytics and Tony from Weploy.
As their last test, they have to make a final winning pitch to judges ACS President, Yohan Ramasundara, Siobhan Hayden Board Adviser and COO HashChing, ACS chief executive Andrew Johnson, all in front of a live audience.
Plus, they’re joined by a special guest investor from Silicon Valley – Duncan Davidson of Bullpen Capital, which has invested in more than 100 companies in the last two years alone.
This week, each of the contestants is asked one key question – why should you be the winner of RiverPitch?
Before the finalists get into pitching, Duncan offers some sage advice.
“I ask people, you want to make money or do you want to be right? Most people say, they want to make money. Wrong answer, I want them to want to be right,” says Duncan.
“The best entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs…Zuckerberg. They didn’t care about money. They were playing a game of King of the Hill.”
First to the pitching stage is James from Audeara.
If you missed his previous episodes, James has designed a set of headphones that can help to prevent hearing loss, which is the leading preventable cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
“There are one in five teenagers with an identifiable hearing loss and we’ve decided to do something about it,” James tells the judges.
He believes Audeara should win because it’s a company that genuinely helps people with a product that will easily appeal to the masses.
“Scalability is based on distribution, marketing and passion. And we’ve got those things,” he says.
Next is Yas from the World’s Biggest Garage Sale – a Queensland start-up touting itself as a “garage sale in a box.”
She plans to run a global garage sale charity event to repurpose unwanted goods and raise money for children’s cancer research.
“The world’s biggest garage sale activates dormant goods for good, for the $4.5 trillion circular economy. The world’s biggest garage sale has large scale community events in spaces the size of football stadiums,” she tells the judges.
As to why it should win RiverPitch:
“If you haven’t heard of the circular economy and the sustainable development goals, by 2030 globally, every country has committed to those goals. We have six years of knowledge, 30 years of team knowledge and we are ready to scale.”
We also welcome back Jason and Hanno of Unleash Live, who are connecting video over the cloud.
They used a combination of artificial intelligence and drone footage during the California bushfires in 2016 to send data real-time data back to emergency service workers.
“We are in markets, we have proven cases, both in Califonia and bringing that back to Australia with public safety and emergency. We are scaling with those customers. We have a great team and it’s deployed in markets. And thirdly the trends work for us,” says Hanno.
Carolyn from Sound Scouts has created an inexpensive hearing app game for children.
“I’m a mother of three children, my youngest boy has had some challenges with learning and seeing the impact of those challenges on his self-esteem, it’s really made me appreciate that a small issue that can be easily addressed can have a huge impact on a child’s life,” explains Carolyn.
She believes Sound Scout should win because it’s helping to remove a major barrier to education.
“Good eduction is the one thing that we all have the right to, so every child we detect with a hearing loss that can then be treated, that child has the opportunity to reach their potential.”
Meanwhile, Jessica and Lucinda from Neighbourlytics have designed a platform to improve cities using social media analytics.
“I love what we are doing because we are actually changing the world, so without our data, property developers and local governments are just guessing at how much we as citizens love the places that we live or the places we love,” says Jessica.
Lucinda explains that it’s designed to expand globally.
“We have intentionally built a platform that uses publicly available digital data so that it can be used for any address in the world. It’s just as easy for us to file reports in Singapore and Nairobi as it is in Sydney,” says Lucinda.
“Our biggest risk is not scaling quickly enough.”
Finally, Tony from Weploy impressed the judges last episode with a platform that recruits contract employees faster and without the bias.
“We created this for a massive global goal and vision, so it’s to greater fuel this power of work. That’s something that doesn’t just affect us today but also affects our future. Everyone’s jobs and where the world is going, that’s the future of work,” says Tony.
At the end of the day, we’re left with six powerful pitches. But finally, it’s time to tally the votes from viewers, the live audience and the judges.
Judge Johnson rounds up the experience before delivering the winner.
“Can we just say, wow. We’re all very impressed. Each of the companies are solving very real world problems. There was one that stood out for us and we hope that the audience agrees, but our framework was who is the growth hacker, who could use technology to scale the quickest,” says Johnson.
With much anticipation, the winner of RiverPitch was announced – congratulations to Tony from Weploy!