Startup Daily hails changemakers, female founders and trailblazing unicorns in its first awards program

Simon Thomsen, Editor at Startup Daily
Simon Thomsen, Editor at Startup Daily

A Wollongong startup pioneering transition to renewables, a Brisbane unicorn revolutionising global eLearning and a Melbourne pilot who created sensors for wind turbines based on her experiences in the sky led the winners’ pack at the first Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards.

What are the Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards?

Held at The Establishment Ballroom in Sydney on Wednesday September 6, the 2023 Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards marked a celebration of Australia’s burgeoning tech startup and scaleup community. The awards program is set to be a calendar event for years to come.

From nearly 250 nominations submitted by the Startup Daily audience, 15 of the tech startup industry’s leading experts chose finalists and winners of the Startup Daily Best in Tech Awards across 10 categories like Startup of The Year, Scaleup of The Year and Best New Founder.

Judges for the 2023 tech awards 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.

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.

What do the awards mean for Startup Daily?

Commenting on the awards, Startup Daily editor Simon Thomsen, said, “The breadth and quality of the entries for our inaugural awards are proof that the Aussie startup sector is thriving, despite tougher economic conditions. Receiving hundreds of entries was proof that there’s no shortage of brilliant ideas to tackle gnarly problems and our judges were impressed by so many great founders and startups and choosing 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,” Thomsen said.

“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.”

“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 tirelessly to embrace and support women in the Australian tech sector too, through initiatives such as the Alice Anderson Fund, which invests in female founders,” Simon Thomsen further commented.

Who were the 2023 award winners?

See the full winners list below:

  • 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 USD$2 billion (AUD $2.78 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-based 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 co-founder 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 800k 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.