Now in its sixth year, the annual OzApp Awards concluded last night announcing the 2016 winner as Townsville-based Safety Culture, selected from five grand finalists which included Perth-based Formalytics, Melbourne’s Law Advisor and Reword, and Shippit (Sydney).
Now in its sixth year, the annual OzApp Awards concluded last night announcing the 2016 winner as Townsville-based Safety Culture, who was selected from five grand finalists which included Perth-based Formalytics, Melbourne’s Law Advisor and Reword, and Shippit (Sydney).
Over 120 apps were submitted from around Australia and Asia-Pacific in what is the largest and most prestigious mobile, cloud and app business competition in the region.
Last week, a top 20 were announced which included 9 Perth-based app businesses: Bibliotech, Cribber, Everythere, Feedmee, recent WA Innovator of the year winner Instatruck, Ovass, Picci, Storekat together with Formalytics.
The OzApp awards forms part of the annual West Tech Fest, held again at the Perth Town Hall and brought together by Curtin University, global venture capitalist Bill Tai, Larry Lopez, Paula Taylor, Rohan McDougall and their respective teams and sponsors.
The festival also attracts a fair few tech startup people from over east and the west coast of the US, many of whom come here every year to kite surf. Bill Tai is an avowed keen kite surfer, and runs an event every year, Mai Tai Global, where tech people gather to talk tech and kite surf.
It was at one of these events that a little known Perth tech company met the people that would bring on the required capital and technical people to build their business. That business became Canva, the online graphic design company that had been founded by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, who grew up and were based in Perth at the time.
In one session, Bill Tai interviewed cofounder and COO of Canva, Cliff Obrecht (pictured above) to tell the story of how an originally Perth-based tech business had raised over US$42million, grown to over 10 million users and has a valuation of over A$450 million. They moved to Sydney in 2013, but have no intention of moving from there.
“We intend to stay in Australia, absolutely,” Cliff Obrecht told the conference, “We can carry on our growth and stay in Sydney. We probably would not have been able to do what we have done from Perth however. The Sydney ecosystem is larger and more developed.”
In his welcome address, and in sentiments echoed by Curtin University’s Deborah Terry, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and WA Senator Linda Reynolds, the US Charge’ d’Affaires, James Carouso, told the conference there was nothing holding anyone back here in Perth.
“You can develop anything from here,” Mr Carouso said waving his mobile device to the audience.
"I’ve even got a Blackberry, and the world’s information is available from anywhere now.”
Other topics around the conference included discussion of the impact of blockchain technologies, extending the innovation agenda tech into non-traditional communities and how to scale your startup.
Business News is media sponsor of WestTech Festival and the OzApp Awards.