The inaugural i10 awards recognising high potential and innovative Australian start-ups have been won by social-media analytics company Buzz Numbers, which beat a field of 450 companies compiled in the database of local start-up social-networking site, iPitch.com.au.
The awards are aimed at raising exposure of iPitch members and were announced this month when Buzz Numbers led a top 10 list of companies including websites to design your own shoes, trade grain and purchase designer condoms.
This recognition is important for early stage start-ups, according to iPitch lead entrepreneur Gareth Rose.
"By being highlighted in the iPitch i10 Awards, strategic partners, investors, mentors, potential employees and other experts in the start-up industry become aware of the start-ups' achievements and are drawn to connect with the start-ups," Rose said.
The award winners are:
- BuzzNumbers — social-media monitoring, analytics and reporting, web-based software
- Shoes of Prey — website that allows women to custom design their shoes
- Mobeseek — builds, maintains and advertises mobile websites
- MMGN.com — one of the largest video gaming communities in Australia
- mHITs Limited — allows payments using a mobile phone by SMS
- igrain.com.au — an online market for buying and selling grain
- Creately.com — an intelligent diagramming and design platform, web-based software
- Big Richard — a designer brand of condoms and underwear
- AllTheDeals.com.au — a group buying site aggregator
- Chorus — analyses customer sentiment for companies
The major prize is capital raising advice from experienced angel investors David Kowalski and Alex Sparkes, co-founders of venture capital firm Green Lane Digital, and — along with Rose — also judges of the i10 awards.
The remaining award winners have their choice of meeting with one of the award's sponsors, including Your Empire, Shelston IP, Servcorp, StartUP Marketing, The Good Juice and Creatio.
Rose said the award winners demonstrated they'd already achieved successes such as proven business model, getting customers/users/partners, hiring employees, and generated revenue and profits.
Additionally, companies had solid business achievements over 2010, including bringing on customers, increasing revenue, entering new markets and releasing new products.
The main entry criteria was that start-ups be high-potential, scalable businesses between idea stage and early expansion stage, he said.
Despite the next awards being almost a year away, Rose said there are a number of changes planned including having more than one category of awards (eg, seed-stage start-ups and expansion-stage start-ups), expanding the prizes and start the awards process earlier in the year.
"Being the inaugural iPitch i10 Awards we've learnt a lot and they'll definitely be some changes. We'll develop them more throughout the year with feedback from our user base."