Five Australian startups winning in 2017 (yes, they’re all tech)

By Zoe Gross. Published at Sep 1, 2017, in Features

A 2016 report by research group CB Insights (CBI) positions Australia as seventh in the world as per the number of tech industry exits in 2016.

While this might sound negative, in startup terminology exits are actually a good thing. An exit is a successful float, or the acquisition of a startup – not a failed company.

The study shows that Australia’s startup culture is vibrant and in a state of high growth. We’ve known this part for a while.

But given how crowded the scene is, it’s also hyper competitive, with each startup wielding its own razor-sharp technology amidst claims of being the next major disruptor within its respective industry.

Here, we profile five of this year’s most interesting emerging tech startups operating in a range of spaces from real estate to mental health.

It should be noted, however, that these are early stage tech companies and success is no guarantee.

  1. Brauz

Founded in 2014 and based in Brunswick, Melbourne, Brauz is a retail tech startup established by former News Corp advertising executive, Lee Hardham. Brauz is designed to empower bricks-and-mortar businesses in the growing digital economy by integrating the digital shopping experience into the physical retail space.

The Brauz platform is a digital marketplace that uses predictive algorithms to help products find shoppers, rather than the other way around — thereby creating personalised shopping experiences.

The app consolidates a range of products, brands and offers based on customer preferences, and alerts shoppers on where to find them.

  1. Bricks + Agent

At the centre of Bricks + Agent’s business is a platform that’s being pegged as the Tinder of property — a transparent tool that matches vendors looking to sell or lease with the right local agents.

It’s self-described as the first and only property platform that is transparent about fees, and offers property owners a private and anonymous way to interact with agents, in their own time and at zero cost.

Owners are able to review agents that appeal to them, including those they may have worked with previously, and invite them to offer a proposal. They can use the platform to chat online or use voice/video call to get to know agents of interest.

Agents, in turn, pay a once-only fee for the opportunity to present to vendors.

  1. Totem Labs

Sydney-based startup, Totem Labs is applying immersive virtual reality (VR) solutions to help treat phobias, supplying its VR experiences through the Sydney Phobia Clinic in the city’s CBD.

Using 360 degree videos, Totem Labs develops experiences based on a range of scenarios and scenes relating to common phobias, such as a fear of heights (acrophobia) or spiders (arachnophobia).

The programmes are designed to help people experience the feared situation in a safe environment, at their own pace. The tech makes use of ‘exposure therapy’, a popular treatment technique to help people develop skills for managing the anxiety they experience around phobias and breaking down the “avoidance” aspect. Virtual reality makes these situations feel real, helping people with phobias learn that they can cope with exposure to their fears.

  1. The Lumery

The Lumery is a unique collective of martech (marketing technology) and adtech (advertising technology) experts, providing brands with advisory, strategy and execution services for their existing and future apps.

In less than six months, the Lumery team has established itself in Cremorne, Melbourne, and is servicing clients likes Australia Post and Jetstar.

Tired of the “buzzword approach” around martech, founders Rajan Kumar, Ben Fettes and Simon O’Day believe that brands have traditionally had limited options when seeking out agencies that have real experience in helping organisations not just leverage the technology available to them, but deliver tangible results.

  1. Oovvuu

Oovvuu is a Sydney-based tech startup founded three years ago by a group of journalists wanting to change the way video is watched, distributed and monetised.

Its mission is ambitious: to implement an artificial intelligence (AI) solution to navigate every video in the world with a view to profit.

Oovvuu has launched an IBM Watson-powered ‘video on demand’ news platform to connect viewers to the most relevant video and news content from 40 broadcast partners, such as ABC, BBC, and Bloomberg, while generating vital new advertising revenues for global media and news organisations.

With the help of Watson, Oovvuu’s technology “watches” videos and “reads” articles before matching them within media outlets.

Watson services combine with the Oovvuu technology platform, Compass, to analyse articles as soon as they are published, “digesting” more than 300,000 articles a day to better understand what audiences want when searching or reading about a given topic.

Built on the IBM Cloud with Watson Discovery News and Natural Language Understanding services, Compass can match up to 1000 videos to relevant articles in less than a second — significantly more than the 40 videos per day that manual processes can handle.

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