BootUpCamp: Four Aussie start-ups launch

Sydney's technology start-up festival BootupCamp will tonight reveal the work of participants that have undergone the two-week entrepreneurial gauntlet.

Sydney's technology start-up festival BootUpCamp will tonight reveal the work of participants that have undergone the two-week entrepreneurial gauntlet.

The free two-week workshop, which is now drawing to a close, saw four teams (around 20 participants in total) run a near-full gamut of challenges a start-up would face when rapidly launching a web-based business. The programme was crammed into two weeks with participants gaining access to fellow entrepreneurs, industry pundits, venture capitalists and a rigorous schedule of entrepreneurial activities.

"While we're here trying to make it happen, it's also fine to abandon the project. It's all about the learning process," said BootUpCamp organiser, Bart Jellema. "We wanted people to come out of this with better networks and a better understanding of what it takes to start a start-up."

Workshops over the past 14 days covered brainstorming, "coding up the prototype" and preparing a public relations plan, to the grunt work, such as sales, meeting the press and pitching the business to "angel investors", otherwise known as venture capitalists.

Of the four contending teams (see below), the open source hosted Customer Relationship Managament (CRM) software team, OpenOnDemand, caught the attention of one angel investor, according to Jallema. "When we had the angel come in, there was real interest in OpenOnDemand," he said.

A total of four teams ran the gauntlet of new deadlines set each day, such as "have a press release and list of journalists to send it to by noon."

With the two weeks over, BootUpCamp is set to launch this evening at ATP Innovations, Australian Technology Park at 4 Cornwallis Street, Eveleigh NSW. Doors open at 6pm.

The contenders


OpenOnDemand
Ryan Cross, Alex Sharp, Jeromy Evans and Brad Hircock have developed OpenOnDemand's CRM system on the open source platform VTiger. Its CRM manages email, marketing, sales and support databases. It is targeting small businesses and is software-as-a-service, but can it tackle Salesforce.com and others?

(Credit: OpenOnDemand)

MenuFan
Casper Wu, Michelle Williams, Mark Bradley and Karen Feng will pitch their food selector search engine, which they claim directs hungry Sydney CDB workers to the best food options of their choice. The MenuFan team appear to still have some work to do on the relevance of results it returns. For example, if you search 'noodles' it returns Woodfired pizza as one of the options — spaghetti just won't cut it for a noodle search in Sydney's well-served food scene.

(Credit: MenuFan)

JudgeItNow
Alex Dong, Humphrey Laubscher, Ryan Pereira, Theodore Mahendradatta, and Tim Bull will test their graphic design review platform which allows the public or private groups to vote on a series of uploaded designs. It's proposing a $5 fee for a private poll, $9 for a poll containing 100 opinions returned within 24 hours, and goes up to $99 for 1000 opinions with age and gender demographic analysis. It's an interesting application of the old-fashioned poll, but besides the private option, whether you take the opinions seriously will depend on your view on the integrity and wisdom of the crowd.

(Credit: JudgeItNow)

GlutenZero
For the growing number of gluten intolerant feeders, Ben Sand, Sherman Lo, Fleur Fletcher, Stephen McGillen, Jonathan Choi, have developed an online directory and message board, GlutenZero, for the intolerant minority to post reviews and recommendations on eateries. Directories are old-hat in term of web technologies, but filtering out the non-gluten-free choices could be a welcome option to those who have to call in advance.

(Credit: GlutenZero)

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