Brisbane online training unicorn GO1 has won Scaleup of the Year, with Wollongong hydrogen electrolyser manufacturer Hysata winning Startup of the Year at the 2023 Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards.
The winners across 10 categories were announced at a gala dinner before 180 people in Sydney on Wednesday night as founders, investors and tech leaders had the chance to share stories and support, with former CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall sharing his experiences as a six-time startup founder – and the moments where it didn’t go to plan and the exits that got away – in the night’s keynote address.
The inaugural Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards received nearly 250 entries, with a judging panel of industry experts selecting 3 finalists across 10 categories, including Best New Idea, Best Regional Startup and Best Technical Leader, before choosing 10 winners.
Judges included Cochlear chair Alison Deans, Tank Stream Labs CEO Bradley Delamere, UTS head of startups Murray Hurps, William Buck director Mark Calvetti, Afterwork Ventures head of community Jessy Wu, and John Kearney from AWS.
Startup Daily editor Simon Thomsen said it was an electrifying night and exciting to be in a room of inspiring founders with brilliant ideas.
“The breadth and quality of the entries for our inaugural awards are proof that the Australian startup sector is thriving, despite tougher economic conditions,” he said.
“Receiving hundreds of entries was proof that there’s no shortage of brilliant ideas to tackle gnarly problems faced worldwide and our judges were impressed by so many great founders and startups and choosing ultimate winners was tough.
“The most promising thing is that if these startups succeed in the ways they deserve too, we’ll all be winners from solutions that span climate change, education, manufacturing, quantum computing and nurturing the next generation of tech talent.”
It was fitting that the pioneering Sydney quantum startup Q-CTRL won the first award of the night in the most hotly contested category, with nearly 50 entries, Most Innovative Startup, with founder Professor Michael J Biercuk accepting the award.
Q-CTRL has created the quantum infrastructure software segment, landed a Dept of Defence deal to build quantum sensors for navigation, forged a partnership with hardware manufacturer Oxford Quantum Circuits and opened new offices in Sydney, the UK and Berlin alongside raising more than $42 million in funding, including from Salesforce Ventures.
Startup Daily’s Simon Thomsen told the crowd he only realised as he scanned the winners that five of the 10 awards were won by women and female founders.
“Amid the ongoing debate around diversity in tech, it’s pleasing and deserved that half of the Startup Daily Best in Tech awards have gone to women or startups with a female cofounder,” he said.
“It’s a reminder that women are always among the best in tech, and deserve recognition for it, especially our Change Champion, Dr Kate Cornick from LaunchVic, who has led a team that’s not only championed the Victorian startup ecosystem, but also worked hard to embrace and support women in the sector too, through initiatives such as the Alice Anderson Fund, which invests in female founders.”
The 2023 Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards were presented with major partner AWS for Startups, supporting partners Dell Technologies, Investment NSW and AgriFutures evokeAG, and awards sponsors 1835i, Tank Stream Labs, Techstars, The Culture Equation and Zembl.
The 10 winners are:
GO1 – Scaleup of The Year
Supported by AWS for Startups
From a garage in Brisbane, Go1 has fast become the world’s largest learning ecosystem and leader in online learning, with a valuation at more than A$3 billion.
Hysata – Startup of The Year
Supported by 1835i Ventures
Wollongong-based startup Hysata is on a mission to accelerate the world’s shift away from fossil fuels to green hydrogen by delivering the world’s most efficient, simple and reliable electrolyser.
Q-CTRL – Most Innovative Startup
Supported by Dell Technologies
Q-CTRL, the first spin-off from the University of Sydney’s Quantum Science group, provides solutions that support those working to bring quantum computing to reality.
Zondii – Best Regional Startup
Supported by Investment NSW
From Armidale, NSW, Zondii is a global technology company that helps producers instantly verify and validate the authenticity of food and fibre using a smartphone.
Goterra- Best Sustainability Startup
Supported by Zembl
Based in the ACT, Goterra manages food waste with modular, robotic insect farms. They’ve processed over 20,000 tonnes of food waste, saving over 30 million kilograms of CO2-equivalent emissions.
Kanopi- Best Startup Culture
Supported by The Culture Equation
Melbourne insurtech Kanopi is renowned for its collaborative and inclusive workplace culture, giving employees the freedom to work in the way it suits them.
Earlywork- Best New Idea
Supported by Techstars
Located in Chippendale, Sydney, Earlywork Academy is APAC’s first tech sales bootcamp where you only pay if you land a job.
Molly Fullee, Onvol – Best New Founder
Supported by Tank Stream Labs
Molly Fullee is the cofounder of Onvol, a climate tech startup powering sensors for wind turbines. As one of the youngest female airline captains for a major Australian airline, Molly came up with her innovation from observing weather patterns from the sky.
Dr Kate Cornick, LaunchVic – Change Champion
Supported by Pinstripe Media
Dr Kate Cornick is the CEO of LaunchVIC, Victoria’s startup government agency. In that role, she has helped secure more than $371 million in private-sector investments for early-stage startups.
Gokul Chandrasekaran, JDoodle – Best Technical Leader
Supported by Pinstripe Media
Gokul built JDoodle and bootstrapped it to 800,000 monthly active users while working part-time at the weekends. JDoodle is an online platform that helps coders write code, without the hassles of setting up their own environment.