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Coca-Cola Amatil, BlueChilli reveal Xcelerate program finalists

BlueChilliwinners_CCASoft drinks giant Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) and start-up accelerator company BlueChilli have announced 12 Australian and New Zealand founders who have won the right to develop their  business in the intense six-month tech accelerator program Xcelerate in Sydney.

The successful founders were chose from a shotlist of 40 finalists.

“We launched the Xcelerate program as part of our Amatil X platform because we want to find the best and brightest business ideas in the start-up communities across Australia and New Zealand and empower them to build scalable and investible businesses. We also believe that the agility and speed of the start-up approach can offer large [corporations] like CCA, a real competitive advantage, and we are keen to bring this way of working to our own ideas,” said Chris Sullivan, group director Partners and Growth at CCA.

“I am thrilled that two terrific ideas from members of the CCA team will be a part of Xcelerate, operating alongside the twelve external founders. Together with BlueChilli we will support all the 2018 Xcelerate start-up founders in turning their ‘napkinstage’ ideas into successful businesses that will present real investment opportunities.”

CCA said in a statement the intensive six-month program gives new entrepreneurs the opportunity of a lifetime to quit their day job and have their innovative idea become a global reality. Following its launch in April, the Xcelerate program received thousands of visits, with more than 600 expressions of interest, 300 of which submitted eligible entries. Of these only 40 were selected into the bootcamp, with 41 per cent being female founders.

For the past two weeks, the 40 start-up founders experienced a bootcamp training with BlueChilli’s Product, Engineering and Entrepreneur in Residence teams. CCA said the objective was to provide them with an opportunity to assess the viability and strength of their ideas.

For the 12 founders to go through, the accelerator will provide them with an initial $38,000 equity investment, mentoring, training, and a complete technical team to help build their ideas into real businesses and accelerate their growth.

The six-month program includes a co-working space, weekly workshops, talks and office hours with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, regular mentor contact, and a structured program for each entrepreneur. Also included is a technology team and dedicated product manager to help build the business offering.

“BlueChilli is Australia’s only platform to empower those with industry specific expertise and great ideas to connect with a team of technical talent and venture capital. Today, along with our great partners at CCA, we’re investing in and enabling the next generation of game changing founders to build technical startups,” BlueChilli CEO Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin said.

Following the six-month program, the most successful startups, will be eligible for up to a further $500,000 investment from BlueChilli and its venture partners and up to a further $200,000 investment from CCA.

Megan Flamer will lead the Xcelerate team as the BlueChilli program director. She has recently returned from four years in San Francisco as a consultant of some of the world’s biggest tech and media companies. Ms Flamer said she has seen what has and hasn’t worked in the world’s biggest tech hub, and is keen to apply those learnings to support the local Australian ecosystem.

“I’m thrilled to be back in Australia, helping to build impactful startups that solve the world’s greatest challenges. CCA have shown a huge commitment to world changing ideas and embracing innovation – and for a multi-country player like this to be throwing their weight behind the startup arena is very inspiring. This isn’t just lip service to innovation: they’re really putting their money where their mouth is,” said Ms Flamer.

The list of successful founders are:

• Michael Reznick from Air Tracker – An air quality monitoring system for tracking air anytime, anywhere (NSW)

• Gabrielle Pacholski from GetOutdoors – An interactive, community-driven platform where people  can find and share great tracks that are suitable. Helping everyone feel well by connecting with nature and inspiring people to “GetOutdoors” (NSW)

• Gary Scott, Natasha Scott and Warren Pickering from GlobalWhere – A data sharing platform for worker safety. The company does safety related data to create worker profiles and focuses on fatigue data obtained from a wristband with predictive analytics (NSW)

• Sunny Phu, Joanna Chen, Chris Wu, and Anjin Liu, and Dr Dianshuang Wu from LockinFuel – A fuel app that uses advanced artificial intelligence to forecast future fuel prices (NSW)

• Rebecca Grainger from Parentship – Connecting businesses with their people navigating pregnancy and parenthood (NSW)

• Josh DeNutte from Spark – Keeping couples excited throughout their relationship journey by making it incredibly easy to experience awesome date nights together (NSW)

• Trish Hyde, Murray Hyde, and Ben Reay from PlastX – Making it easier for brands to fulfill their promise to solve plastic pollution by sourcing recovered plastic directly from communities (NSW)

• Tim Semple from JobWords – Enabling enterprises to display job ads on their own websites and social media channels from existing HR software (VIC)

• Surjeet Taank and Harman Singh from Kargologic – Helping clients access full capacity trucks at a reasonable cost from reputable owner operators and carriers on a single platform in real-time (VIC)

• Andrea Watson from NightRider – AirBnB for trucks. Optimising underutilised trucks and drivers (NZ)

• Genevieve Francis Griffin-George from PicMi – Allows the work find the workers, in real time. Post or find a job anywhere and anytime it’s needed (NZ)

• Medhi Spighi and Alex Bray from Trustable – Using pay-wave transactions to verify peer reviews of restaurants, Trustable is the first verified review platform for dining experiences (VIC)

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