Winners of the 30th INCITE Awards 2021

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Incite Winners
Triple winner: Avicena, with Paul Ostergaard (left) with Dr Paul Watt, and Troy Wyatt from Film My Video.

Innovators, industry disrupters, and entrepreneurs were celebrated at the annual WAITTA INCITE Awards Gala Night last Friday, 23 July 2021.

Over the course of the night, awards were presented to WA tech organisations, entrepreneurs, students and industry leaders with winning titles for their medical, AI, robotics and mining technology innovations, attended by over 450 people. 

Celia Jordaan, the INCITE Awards’ Chief Judge, commented that the 2021 Awards entries showcased the WA Technology sector’s agility and capability to respond to local and global challenges and opportunities.

Many of the 30th INCITE Awards winners have developed some first-of-its-kind medical tech innovations, in direct response to COVID-19 and need to further support the WA health system.

Celia Jordaan, INCITE Awards’ Chef Judge
Avicena’s Paul Ostergaard (left) with Dr Paul Watt, together with sponsor Troy Wyatt from Film My Video.

Avicena, the biggest winner of the night, took home three awards: for Startup of the Year, Research and Innovation – Industry Project of the Year and Transformative Solution of the Year for its contribution to Australia’s COVID-19 response.

In their media release, winning these awards together with the latest Federal Government grant has “potentially lift Avicena’s profile and assist in showcasing our advanced high-throughput COVID screening technology to a global audience”.

Another notable startup winner of the night was SpacetoCo which won the People’s Choice Award (shared jointly with Pentanet) and also a Merit in the Innovating Government category (shared jointly with the City of Vincent).

SpacetoCo, a proud WA startup that first started in the Perth Hills, has expanded its space sharing services across Australia and into New Zealand. The business realised market-fit with local government in mid-2020 in the midst of the COVID pandemic. 

Jeremy Hurst, Co-founder and Director of SpacetoCo gave thanks for his award.

SpaceToCo’s Jeremy Hurst (right) with Jonas Petersen of the Office of Digital Government.

We are forever indebted to the City of Vincent team for their input and willingness to get behind our innovative approach to city council bookings. This approach, co-created with the City of Vincent, is now in use at multiple city councils.

Jeremy Hurst, Co-Founder and Director of SpacetoCo

While the night highlighted the best innovators of the year, there was one award that caught our eye – the Pearcey WA Entrepreneur of the Year, won by Startup News’s own Managing Director, Charlie Gunningham.

To be eligible for the award, one has to be an inspiring and outstanding entrepreneur whose leadership and innovation has made an impact on the wider community. In short, one must be an outstanding example of the breadth and depth of Australian entrepreneurs who are making an impact both locally and globally.

Mr Gunningham commented that it was “very humbling” to receive such a prestigious award, and paid tribute to those who’ve mentored him along the way.

It is lovely recognition for my 20+ years in the local tech startup scene; firstly as a founder through to exit (10 years) and then as startup mentor, adviser, writer and investor (last 10 years). I have invested in 2 startups over the past year, and have also worked with about a dozen others, including helping start another one, The Property Tribune. It’s also recognition for Startup News and the Startup West podcast.

Charlie Gunningham, Managing Editor of the Property Tribune and Startup News

Charlie Gunningham (left) with fellow MC on the night, Lisa Smith, from Blow your own Mind.

When asked what does this award meant to him and entrepreneurs like him, and what advice he’ll give to other people looking to find their own startup company, he notes the importance of startups in a place like Australia.

I love the local startup scene; the real heroes are the brave entrepreneurs and founders who jump off the ledge and give their idea a go. Hats off to them; especially female founders who are grossly underrepresented in funding and startups generally. I share their award with all WA founders and tech entrepreneurs. Keep going, keep innovating, keep doing what you do.

Charlie Gunningham

Australia needs to grow its own tech sector. Homegrown startups can build wealth, create jobs and scale like no other business known previously.

Charlie Gunningham, Managing Editor of The Property Tribune and Startup News.

Achiever of the Year went to Peter Rossdeutscher, who has been an active investor, adviser and mentor in the local tech scene for many years, running Atomic Sky, Startup Studio, MinEx CRC, Zimi, .. in the ASX and private space.

Peter Rossdeutscher

An amazing effort from the organisers to have this awards program back live again this year, with a record number of applicants, finalists and attendees.

Well done to WAITTA and all involved.

Niamh Toohey, Chair of the Incite Awards

Special mention was made to veteran MC of the Incite Awards, Gerry Gannon, and several Incite ‘legends’ who have put in many hours and several years of voluntary work to make the Awards happen.

The Incite Legends, with Gerry Gannon, centre.

Full List of Winners

Peter Fillery Undergraduate Tertiary Student Project of the Year

  • Winner: Alexander von Perger from Curtin University and Barminco – for their Re-entry Sentry, an innovative safety initiative that improves redundancy and operational decision making capabilities for underground post blast re-entry applications. 
  • Merit: Kale Griffiths, Tiernan Stevens, Joseph Dowden, Brett Mitchell and Shannon Smith from North Metro TAFE – for The Underground Mining VR Induction App, a virtual reality  induction training application giving new miners the experience of an underground mine site without the associated dangers.

Research and Innovation – Postgraduate Student Project of the Year

  • Winner: Sanjay Sharma and Auden Sehovic from Edith Cowan University, School of Science – for the REDSAT system, which places mobile deployable Honeynet traps into remote and regional agricultural areas to collect and assess data about outside attempts to attack information systems where sensor data requires can be acquired through long range and low power networks.

Research and Innovation – Industry Project of the Year

  • Winner: Avicena Systems Pty Ltd – for their Avicena Sentinel System – a revolutionary, low-cost and ultra-high throughput molecular screening and testing system, initially targeting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Merit: Rio Tinto – for The AutoHaul® system – the first fully automated long distance heavy-haul railway in the world. 2.5km long trains travel autonomously on Rio Tinto’s rail network, without a driver on board.

Transformative Solution

  • Winner: Avicena Systems Pty Ltd – for their Avicena Sentinel System – a revolutionary, low-cost and ultra-high throughput molecular screening and testing system, initially targeting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Merit: Rio Tinto – for The AutoHaul® system – the first fully automated long distance heavy-haul railway in the world. 2.5km long trains travel autonomously on Rio Tinto’s rail network, without a driver on board.

Social Impact

  • Winner: What the Doctor Said – a web-based solution allowing patients to receive personalised, mobile-accessible discharge instructions so everyone knows exactly What the Doctor Said.
  • Merit: Lyfe Languages – for their Lyfe Languages Project, delivering a youth/ community-driven, digitally enabled, nationally/ internationally connected platform to translate medical terminology into Indigenous languages.
  • Merit: Curtin University – for MissionsConnect – the first immersive technological tool of its kind in Australia that will aid in education, truth-telling and reconciliation. 
The Mission Connect team, including Dr Reena Tiwari (3rd from left) and Jim Morrison (4th from left)

Innovating Government 

Startup of the Year

  • Winner: Avicena Systems Pty Ltd – for their Avicena Sentinel System – a revolutionary, low-cost and ultra-high throughput molecular screening and testing system, initially targeting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Merit: Oqea – for their first person-centric wellbeing digital platform to connect consumers, health providers, businesses, family and friends all in one private, safe and secure online place.
Oqea won a Merit Award in the Startup Category. Martyn Weir, far left, managing director.

People’s Choice Awards

  • SpacetoCo  for their web platform, booking community spaces by the hour. SpacetoCo connects community members with local community and government-owned spaces.
  • Pentanet – Using cutting edge technology, Pentanet will create an innovative wireless mesh for Perth which eliminates constraints of traditional wireless networks and delivers faster internet speeds with lower latency.

Pearcey WA Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Winner: Mr Charlie Gunningham – Managing Editor, The Property Tribune, and Startup News; and Director of Damburst.

Dr Mal Bryce Tech Company of the Year

Achiever of the Year

  • Winner: Mr Peter Rossdeutscher – Managing Partner, Atomic Sky Pty Ltd

To find out more about the INCITE Awards, click here.