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Innovative local startups share in $100,000 Venture Catalyst grants

June 8, 2016 Business News No Comments Email Email

A gas turbine engine with the potential to be carbon neutral and keep homes running completely off the grid, and new software designed to streamline retail tenancies in shopping centres are the two local start-ups set to get a boost from this year’s UniSA Venture Catalyst grants.

Operating as TC Pinpoint and EcoJet Engineering, both start-ups have secured $50,000 under the scheme, which is jointly funded by the South Australian Government and the University.

Local entrepreneurs, Rachel Kidwell (TC Pinpoint) and engineers Alexander Wright, Warren Day, James Kim (EcoJet) were selected from a field of 14 applicants.

A cloud-based software management tool for retail tenancies in shopping centres, TC Pinpoint brings all stakeholders involved in the process on to one platform in a streamlined, cost effective and time saving approach. The product is the only one of its type in the market.

When fully realized, EcoJet Engineering‘s innovative micro gas turbine, redesigned to burn hydrogen gas, will be a zero emissions power source. The turbine will be cheaper and cleaner to run than current micro gas turbines and other competing technologies.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the Venture Catalyst Awards are a highlight each year because they show just how education, industry and entrepreneurship connect.

“Both winners this year have shown that they are solutions-focused,” Professor Lloyd said.

“If we can teach our students to be enterprising, to assess problems both large and small, and innovate to solve them, then I think we are doing what a university should do.

“What is so exciting about Venture Catalyst is that it provides funding, resources and supports to student ventures with no expectation of equity or ownership of the venture. Our only interest is in its success.

“We’re very proud of this year’s winners and look forward to their further success,” he said.

A partnership between the State Government and UniSA, Venture Catalyst provides seed funding of up to $50,000 to university-based entrepreneurs.

The program encourages collaboration between UniSA students and industry to turn knowledge and ideas into business opportunities and to create start-ups for the commercialisation of products, services or processes.

In the three years since the program began, six start-up companies have been funded, including Vinnovate, which recently won the Brancott Estate Winexplorer Challenge for a great new idea to revolutionise the wine experience, and the 2014 winner, artificial intelligence and computer vision technology company Jemsoft.

Since commercialising some of its IP in July 2015, Jemsoft has grown from two unpaid founders to an executive board of four, an operations and development team of 12, and a handful of regular contractors.

Jemsoft’s first service offering was launched privately in January 16 and the company is well on its way to turning over close to a $1million prior to its public product launch this year.

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