Media Release: 23 October 2020
Australia's best tech scaleups recognised and pathways out of COVID defined at the Australian Technologies Competition National Awards
On Tuesday, 20 October, the Australian Technologies Competition - a seven-month long program designed to identify, reward and accelerate Australia’s best ‘deep tech’ scaleups - held its National Awards Ceremony.
This year’s Ceremony commenced with an entrepreneurs panel discussing the role of the tech sector in rebuilding after COVID, involving four previous winners (Emma Weston of AgriDigital, Phil Hodgson of Calix, Anabela Correia of Livac and Giles Bourne of BluGlass) and venture capitalist Dr Michelle Deaker of OneVentures.
The panel described how COVID had significantly impacted their sectors and the ways they have adapted. Examples included relocating overseas staff back to Australia, developing new risk assessment techniques, business model pivots, introduction of plant shifts with deep cleaning between, payment of staff and management in equity rather than wages, ‘diving deep’ into research while supply chains re-establish, rebuilding local manufacturing of critical components, simplifying supply chains, moving sales resources online and targeting hospitals in greatest need of specialised equipment at this time.
Significant opportunities were identified for Australian tech companies to ‘play to the ‘tailwinds’ in digitisation, diagnostics, vaccines, collaboration platforms, logistics, e-commerce, environmentally favourable solutions and attracting talent. Australian strengths that should be leveraged in the current ‘window’ include stable government institutions, experience in managing bushfires, floods and other emergencies, education levels, familiarity with selling globally and a safe environment.
Key constraints identified included continuing capital gaps, under investment in education and attitudes in Australian government purchasing departments. Superannuation funds and the Future Fund were identified as important players that should be contributing more to society and weighting their portfolios more heavily in Australia.
Governments were encouraged to maintain R&D incentives and commercialisation support through agencies like Accelerating Commercialisation, reinstate 457 visas for specialised skills, more actively provide proof of concept opportunities like the Victorian CivVic Labs Accelerator and to be a more significant early customer for emerging Australian technologies.
View the full replay of ATC’s Keynote Panel & Awards Ceremony here
Part A – https://vimeo.com/470824317
Part B - https://vimeo.com/471227812
Following this lively discussion the Minister for Industry, Science & Technology, The Hon. Karen Andrews MP, delivered a keynote message. Highlighting the Federal Government’s recent commitment of an additional $460 million to the CSIRO and $2 billion in R&D incentives to support the tech sector, she congratulated the finalists:
“In so many ways our future rests in the creative hands, critical inventions and trailblazing thinking that defines all of the ATC finalists”
Well-known MC James O’Loghlin then hosted the Awards Ceremony, which included entertaining and insightful interviews with each of the winners. This year’s national Award winners were:
Advanced Manufacturing Award – Contactile (NSW)
Cyber Security Award – Castlepoint Systems (ACT)
Disaster & Emergency Award – Helitak Fire Fighting Equipment (QLD)
Energy Award – Village Energy (WA)
Food & Agribusiness Award - Farmbot (NSW)
Global Social Impact Award – 4ize (NSW)
Medtech & Pharma Award – Electrogenics Laboratories (NSW)
Mining Technologies Award – NextOre (NSW)
Smart Cities Award – BindiMaps (NSW)
Space Award – HEO Robotics (NSW)
Alumni Achievement Award – AgriDigital (NSW)
Australian Tech Company of the Year – Electrogenics Laboratories (NSW)
View details on each winner here:
Electrogenics Laboratories was crowned the Medtech & Pharma winner and overall winner for 2020 for its medical radiation sensing technology that precisely measures radiation skin doses and rates in real time, helping to avoid organ and tissue damage.
For Electrogenics Chairman, Kim Lyle, the moleskin innovation is a personal one – having lost two family members as a consequence of radiation treatment. When asked about the biggest hurdle on their commercialisation pathway, Lyle said: “Maintaining momentum has been the biggest challenge.”
His advice to other deeptech founders is: “Never give up; never surrender! There are a lot of hiccups along the way, but you just have to keep making it happen. Stay true to your vision and go for it!.”
Patrick Mooney, Executive Chair of Impact Technology Ventures, organiser of the Competition, underscored the importance of a collaborative and supportive ‘deep’ technology ecosystem.
“The shape of our re-emerging economy has to be different. Global market trends and capital markets are requiring more sustainable solutions and we can’t assume that our traditional sources of wealth can carry the same load. The scaleups we see through this Competition in sectors like clean energy, smart cities, food and agtech, cybersecurity, manufacturing, emergency management, the circular economy and medtech are critical to this rebuilding. They deserve all of the support they can get from Australia’s tech ecosystem and government agencies.”
About the Australian Technologies Competition (ATC)
The Australian Technologies Competition, founded in 2011, is a national competition, partnering program and late stage accelerator sponsored by the Australian and Victorian governments, national Industry Growth Centres, Australian Space Agency and industry. It identifies technology SMEs and ‘scaleups’ with significant global potential and accelerates their growth through capability building, domestic and international connections and awards recognition.
It involves three stages of independent judging, an intensive and highly rated growth masterclass, high calibre mentoring, partner connect events with domestic and international investors and corporate partners and national awards for 10 sectors and for Australian Technology Company of the Year. Over 280 semi finalists from previous years are the basis of a unique alumni network.
For more information, visit: austechcomp.com
Media enquiries Rochelle Lewis
NB. Individual interviews with entrepreneur panel members, Award winners and ITV Executive Chair, Patrick Mooney can be made available on request. Please contact Rochelle Lewis