​Bitcoin and 'smart' cricket balls the winners in Queensland's AU$8.3m funding round

The state government has handed out AU$8.3 million across 70 'innovative' companies, as part of its Advance Queensland initiative.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Queensland government has announced investing AU$8.3 million in 70 "innovative" companies as part of its latest round of Ignite Ideas funding.

One company is cryptocurrency startup TravelbyBit, which is aiming to drive more tourists to Central Queensland by selling travel experiences online using cryptocurrency.

"Tourism is one of Queensland's most important industries. TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments," Innovation Minister Kate Jones said.

"I understand TravelbyBit is specifically targeting places like Bundaberg -- using cryptocurrency to make it easier for tourists to book holidays. That's why we've invested to help them scale-up their operation and ultimately create more jobs in Queensland."

Meanwhile, Jetson Industries, a Gold Coast company that has developed a cricket ball that records speed and spin, has also received a AU$100,000 boost as part of the latest funding round.

Now with AU$100,000 in funding, Rockhampton-based Slater Solutions will be further developing its "Quot3d" product, which creates 3D imagery of buildings and properties to enable quotes for property maintenance without requiring visits by competing trade businesses.

Townsville-based FlyFreely, which developed a software platform to handle flight planning and approval processes for commercial drone missions, received AU$250,000 in funding to help launch its product nationally and in two neighbouring countries.

AU$100,000 has also been provided to Visional Technologies for ultra-fast electronic vehicle charging.

Visional Technologies director, professor Simon Bartlett, said the project would create a "REVOLUTION" -- "Recharging Electric Vehicles On-Line Ultrafast Through Innovative Optimised Networks".

While Mackay-based Innovatium, which has developed a system to quickly produce circuit boards, will also take home AU$100,000 from the kitty.

Ignite Ideas sees the government support companies with products on the cusp of commercialisation, or ready to scale up for new markets, and forms part of Advance Queensland, a scheme launched three years ago during the 2015-16 Budget aimed at boosting innovation in the state.

"These companies will use the funds to ramp up market development and expand their workforce," Jones said of the Ignite Ideas fund on Wednesday.

"Through a highly competitive, independently assessed process they showed they have an innovative product, the talent, and the right mindset to take their business to new levels and new markets."

According to Jones, the government has now supported 271 Queensland businesses through AU$34.65 million of Ignite Ideas funding, spread over four rounds.

In the state's 2018-19 Budget delivered in June, Advance Queensland was given a further AU$73 million over four years, bringing the total kitty to AU$650 million.

Specifically, the new cash injection will go towards the Advance Queensland Foundations for the Future initiative, which aims to back entrepreneurs through the Ignite Ideas program, Industry Research Fellowships, and the Backing Queensland Entrepreneurs program.

"Through the Palaszczuk government's landmark Advance Queensland initiative we will ensure we back our entrepreneurial spirit and grow opportunities for business and industry," Treasurer Jackie Trad said in her Budget speech.


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