SA startups impress in Texas

sarah gun in Silicon Valley
Local entrepreneur Sarah Gun, left, joined Flinders NVI director Matt Salier and other SA entrepreneurs on a business trip to California, Texas and New York this month.

Technology startup companies from South Australia have returned from the USA with new business and investment opportunities – along with awards from global entrepreneurial challenges.

Two of the Flinders University New Venture Institute-led startups took out prizes after presenting at the inaugural SXSW 2016 interactive technology festival Impact through Innovation competition in Austin, Texas last week.

The Impact through Innovation forum highlighted progressive technology and business models which help to address challenges in education, healthcare, transportation, energy and water.

Drones over Water founder Daniel Squire and the GOGO events model developed by SA businesswoman Sarah Gun won prizes for Best Hardware Startup and Most Innovative Social Enterprise.

Mr Squire’s pitch resulted in him being approached by a local group Texas Water Management Solutions to develop innovative solutions to deal with drought and water quality testing techniques in the US.

South Australian entrepeneur Sarah Gun outlined her system to develop employment solutions for homeless and disadvantaged people. She also acknowledged the role Flinders NVI at Tonsley and the Venture Dorm entrepreneur program played in promoting and rolling out her innovative concept.

Impact Through Innovation co-founder Ben Ramierz said the forum and awards were developed by US business incubator Tech Ranch and the Austin World Affairs Council in collaboration Flinders NVI.

“We really believe in the power of innovation to transform large-scale social issues across global bridges and the connection between Austin and Adelaide is a tremendous starting point,” Mr Ramierz said.

Flinders NVI director Matt Salier, who led the SA delegation of 10 small companies, said the SXSW festival also gave Drones over Water and fellow startups Voxiebox and Perry Logic an opportunity to promote themselves at the International Accelerator global startup showcase.

Directors Will Tamblyn and Gavin Smith 3D simulation group Voxiebox came in fourth in the judging against more than 80 other startups.

“We were really rapt to not only create an opportunity for the teams to pitch at the world’s largest startup festival, but also for the amazing results they achieved,” Mr Salier said.

“The forums for entrepreneurs around the world was a great experience for all involved.”

The delegation also visited California and New York over the past two weeks.

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