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Event Report: Tech23 Sydney

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Last week TMV had the privilege of attending the Tech23 event – an event where 23 start-ups, some already well funded, and others seeking further funding present to the audience and have a panel of investors and respected industry personnel grill them on their business. There were three music business related start-ups pitching this year, which is a good sign considering the broad spectrum of business pitching at the event.

The categories for which business pitched within included; Cloud, Meeting The Needs Of The Enterprise, Communications/Mobile, Consumer Web, Powering Productivity, Digital Media and Social Media. The event has over $150,000 AUD as prizes and TMV have been informed numerous of the start-ups which present walk away with investment offers as well. 2011 was the third year that Tech 23 has been run.

Industry leaders on the panels grilling the start-ups included; Bill Bartee, Managing Director at Southern Cross Ventures, Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO and Co-founder of Altassin, Dr Michelle Deaker, Managing partner of One Ventures, Hugh Durrant- Whyte, CEO at BICTA, Todd Forest, Director Content and Audience Experience at NineMSN, Edgar Hardless, Managing Director at SingTel innov8 and Lars Rasmussen, Director of Engineering at Facebook, who’s other claim to fame is launching Google Maps (you can check out our video interview with Lars, amongst numerous others.

The key standout music focused business for TMV was Filter Squad (www.filtersquad.com). The company has already had their Discover Music App chart at No #1 in 24 territories on the iTunes chart. Pretty impressive, there are very few if any applications that have achieved such a feat. Grilling David McKinney the company’s founder and CEO were; Chris Hitchen, Executive Director – Local and Commerce, News Digital Media, Daniel Petre, Chairman at Netus and Greg Roebuck, CEO of carsales.com.au (Australia’s largest online car marketplace).

Prior to setting up Filter Squad founder David McKinney already charted his own music in the UK top 40 charts by using social media and spent a total of $282 to get it into the charts – very impressive in TMV’s view! David was at Tech 23 Pitching a new interactive iPad music magazine that lets people discover online music magazine content to create their own personalized iPad music magazine application. You can check out the video interview TMV conducted with David at Tech23.

The second most impressive entertainment focused start-up was a business called Centryc Solutions (www.centrycsolutions.com.au). Founder and Managing Director Dave Aicken pitched a dynamic proposition where places, people and media are intelligently connected via the linking of disparate technologies to form a cohesive marketing and operations management platform. This platform enables venue operators (theme parks and music festivals), retailers, brands and marketers to engage with their customers in real-time by responding to who they are, who they are with, where they are, what they’ve done so far and what they are doing right now.

The company’s core product is named ‘MeTag’ and is a credential that utilizes any combination of NFC/RFID/barcode or other unique identifier to interact with new or existing systems to allow opted in customers to say “It’s me. I’m here. I matter”. The system slinks any technology including but not limited to online, offline, mobile, social, POS (cash registrars), ticketing, access control and very sophisticated data mining tools. TMV believe the application for Music Festival Promoters is mind-blowing!

Grilling Centryc’s proposition was Dr. Michelle Deaker, Managing Partner at VC OneVentures, Ryan Junee, CEO and Co-Founder Inporia, Lars Rasmussen, Engineer Facebook and Jodi Stanton, Investment Manager at MH Carnegie & Co.

The final proposition TMV believe was of relevance to the music business was a company called StageBitz (ww.stagebitz.com) where CEO Catherine Prosser was pitching. The company is the first system to provide props companies and props users with total control over props management for their projects.

People can collaborate online to manage the full lifecycle of their props, including sourcing, maintenance and reusing them for the next project. Prop owners can then also use the platform to trade their props for extra revenue online. TMV see a viable business here for theatre shows and large international tours. The company already includes Opera Australia, Queensland University of Technology and NIDA as customers.

Also, on a final note, TMV would state it would be beneficial if some global music business conference organizers actually looked at establishing a REAL opportunity for music start-ups. What we mean here is not a tokenistic and lame attempt just to sell some extra delegate tickets (and burn the start-ups pitching). TMV are suggesting a real event where real VCs are in attendance on panels broken down into music start-up categories and investor types. The event would have to be hosted over a full day with numerous panels and start-ups being grilled properly. Food for thought in TMV’s view!

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