Kiwi start-up bags top IBM ANZ honour...

IBM has today announced New Zealand online business software start-up 9 Spokes as the 2014 winner of IBM SmartCamp Sydney, as one one of four IT start-ups from ANZ invited by the tech giant to participate in the event.

9 Spokes’ platform integrates data from SaaS tools and online business software and displays it in real time on a single dashboard

The resulting business insights help start-ups and smaller businesses manage and scale their models more intuitively and efficiently. IBM SmartCamp Sydney’s judges recognised 9 Spokes as having a mature go-to-market strategy and clearly articulated unique selling proposition.

This is the third SmartCamp event to be held in Australia and New Zealand as part of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, one of a series of worldwide events in which expert advisors – including venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, and technical specialists – mentor participating teams, who subsequently pitch their ideas to the IBM SmartCamp’s judging panel.

As IBM SmartCamp Sydney winners, 9 Spokes’ team will receive three months’ mentoring and access to technology solutions from IBM. 9 Spokes will also progress to the regional finals (to be held in Hangzhou, China in November 2014), the winner of which will be invited to IBM’s SmartCamp Global Finals and a chance to be named IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.

“The intensity and depth of knowledge available at IBM SmartCamp has really shown us what to focus on in the next few years,” says Brendan Roberts, Chief Marketing Officer, 9 Spokes.

“Our objective is to launch in Australia and New Zealand, but then quickly extend scale to global markets, and having IBM’s deep industry expertise and technology at our backs offers us an incredible chance to make this happen.”

IBM SmartCamps are designed to open up opportunities for start-ups to scale quickly. Last year’s IBM SmartCamp Sydney winner, Temando, has vastly expanded its network and already has some significant client deals in the pipeline. They have since been mentored by some of the industry’s most senior leaders who have helped them to distil key messaging and open countless doors to global contacts and customers.

Together, all previous IBM SmartCamp participants globally – more than 1600 start-ups in areas ranging from green energy to smart health care – have generated more than US$160million in venture capital and angel funding.

“As Australia and New Zealand’s entrepreneurial ecosystems continue to flourish and take the lead in numerous global industries, IBM remains committed to fostering start-ups whose goals directly impact the betterment of communities and cities the world over,” adds Michael Stevens-Jones, Global Entrepreneur and SmartCamp Executive, IBM Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re convinced by investing our talent and technology in these audacious initiatives, we can help these start-ups transform the way people live and do business.

"We’re incredibly grateful for the time and energy invested by our four participants and look forward to seeing what they all accomplish in the future.”

Meet the other 2014 IBM SmartCamp Australia and New Zealand finalists:

DMSq – Operating on IBM Softlayer, DMSq’s “Community Connect Me” (CC Me) platform offers non-profit organisations and social businesses a means to grow, engage, and share ideas between their separate online communities.

Ecocentric Energy – Developed in partnership with CSIRO, Ecocentric Energy’s NRGi system automates data acquisition for energy audits to help governments and businesses achieve their energy mitigation targets.

TapIt – TapIt’s technology platform deploys, manages, and analyses contactless technologies often associated with the “Internet of Things” – including Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, Beacons, and QR Codes – to allow consumers to digitally engage with physical objects and their environment.


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