CareMonkey wins €650,000 grand prize in Slush 2015 pitching competition
If you’re an Australian that’s not heard of the Slush technology conference in Helsinki before now, that’s about to change fast. Finland’s standout startup event has just announced Melbourne-based CareMonkey as the grand final winner for the Slush 100 pitch competition.
The bootstrapped team take out a €650,000 grand prize, and the prestige of a win that puts them quite literally on the world stage.
Company cofounder and CEO Troy Westley put in a solid performance in the semi-finals on day one of Slush 2015, impressing the judges with what some in the crowd called the easiest to understand value proposition. Namely CareMonkey’s replacement of old-fashioned and paper-based permission and care giving forms.
Something Westley recounts as his motivation to bring into the era of cloud-based technology, thanks to an experience finding his own son’s asthma care plan in a filing cabinet. He describes the experience as one leaving him “embarrassed and ashamed as a parent” to have such crucial information locked away from those who could administer it in an emergency situation.
On the main stage of a sold-out 15,000 person event, the judging panel agreed. Making CareMonkey not only one of the two Slush Downunder winners from earlier in 2015, but the first to blaze through some impressive competitors that included satellites, electric vehicle charging, and visible light spectrum wireless devices for the coveted grand prize.
No small feat for a self-funded team from down under. Although one already praised by the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak.
As for Slush itself? This is just one of the reasons I love to cover this event. First reporting on it in 2014, I expected to see more Australian startups attending. I’m not disappointed.
A bit of downunder in the cold north
This year we had Slush Downunder winner Sports Performance Tracking in the semi-finals (who I’ve interviewed for a podcast being cut shortly), as well two Aussie gaming startups registering officially for the event. And unofficially, the team from Brisbane-based MeVu turning up, which Australian startup fans may recognise as recipients of the River City Labs Sponsored Entrepreneurs Program. The team also includes participants of Shark Tank Australia judge Steve Baxter’s Startup Catalyst.
Catching up for a beer earlier in the week, I was impressed with the young team’s hustle. You can read more about their recent adventures on their blog. But back to the team of the hour.
A thing or two to take away from Finland
All in all, a big win for a deserving CareMonkey, and a big boost of pride for Australian startups overall. If that seems like regional enthusiasm, remember that Slush itself is an incredible example of what community collaboration and regional hustle can do to get the attention of the global tech community and international media.
After all, ignoring Nokia (like everyone seems to now anyway), how many Finnish tech companies did you know? If you can answer “Supercell” and “Rovio”, you’ve already understood the recipe for the “pay it forward” community mentality that has made this a significant event across Europe.
And now, I suspect, the Asia-Pacific as well.