Technology Industry and Business Awards

ECAL and WeTeachMe joint winners at startup competition The BIG Pitch

ECAL and WeTeachMe win at The Big Pitch

Two Melbourne-based startup companies have shared the spotlight at Oxygen Ventures’ inaugural The Big Pitch event, with judges sensationally deciding they were unable to split the two finalists. ECAL and WeTeachMe can now both move confidently into their next phase of development with the support and mentorship of the Melbourne investment company headed by entrepreneur Larry Kestelman.

The Big Pitch saw five finalists competing to win judges’ approval in front of a capacity crowd of over 300 at Melbourne’s Deakin Edge theatre in Federation Square on Tuesday night. Over 350 applicants had lodged formal applications for consideration, and the calibre of the entries made narrowing down the shortlist very difficult. That task was made even harder when it came time to choose the best pitch.

“The judges had a discussion that can only be called ‘robust’ when it came to choosing a winner,” Mr Kestelman joked prior to the announcement. “We’d pledged to fund a winner up to 5 million dollars, and so we have decided to name both ECAL and WeTeachMe, and we’re going to work with both to reach a global market.”

ECAL describes itself as the world’s most advanced calendar marketing platform, offering marketer clients an innovative way to reach consumers via their personal and work schedules. Founder and CEO Patrick Barrett told the crowd they’ve had great success winning contracts from big professional sports franchises, both overseas and in Australia.

WeTeachMe is a community marketplace to list, discover and book for in-person courses and classes. CEO and founder Kym Huynh says that WeTeachMe’s proven business is poised for strong growth here and overseas, and that winning funding and recognition via The Big Pitch will be a great help.

The Big Pitch’s eight judges also considered business models from online shopping platform Blue Sky, enterprise productivity enhancement platform etaskr and games developer Black Delta, who took out the People’s Choice Award voted for by the audience and those following online.

Mr Kestelman told the assembled crowd and finalists that all five companies were chosen to present because Oxygen Ventures believed in them and their business models, and assured the three companies who did not win on the night that he remains very interested in investment options.

“This event was conceived as a way to showcase how strong the Australian startup industry is, and all finalists have demonstrated that wonderfully well. We’re looking forward to talking to all finalists about collaborating to achieve their growth plans.”

The Big Pitch is intended to be held on an annual basis. Organisers and sponsors are greatly encouraged by its immediate success and 2015 promises to bring an even stronger selection of up and coming entrepreneurs.

High resolution images of the winners and judges are also available, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request these.

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About The BIG Pitch

The BIG Pitch competition is where digital entrepreneurs pitch their startups to a handpicked panel to win access to a funding pool and the hands-on business smarts of Oxygen Ventures. For the venture-minded, funding from $250k to $5m is on offer, along with an expert team capable of taking the best ideas in the digital world to huge commercial success.

Presented by Oxygen Ventures alongside event partner BlueChilli, the competition’s finale will take place on June 17th 2014 at The BIG Pitch Event at Deakin Edge, Fed Square, Melbourne.

About Oxygen Ventures

Oxygen Ventures is a new breed in digital venture capital offering entrepreneurial, hands-on know-how. Founded by successful entrepreneur Larry Kestelman, the company has invested in numerous digital businesses and is assisting them to reach their goals. Oxygen Ventures is launching The BIG Pitch competition to discover the best digital startups Australia has to offer.

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