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Startup News Awards 2021 announced

Charlie Gunningham
Charlie Gunningham
Udrew Startup of Year
// // The 4th annual Startup News Awards acknowledged five winners at last week's Freo Startup Fest...

At a packed Freo Startup Fest event last week, the (4th) annual Startups News awards were handed out, based on community voting.

Tom Young’s Udrew won Most Admired Startup of the year, Digii Social’s CEO and founder Claire Orange won Most Admired Startup Person/Founder and Proptech Hub WA’s Cullum Ashton and Jeff Leach shared the Most Admired Startup Supporters at this year’s Startup News Awards.

Mihailo Bozic’s Envited also walked off with the most read Startup News article of the year, and Erin Bell from Camp Connect was the most listened to Startup West podcast.

In its four year, the awards again attracted more voters and nominees than ever. The awards were announced as part of the third Freo Startup Fest, taking place again at Little Creatures overlooking Fremantle harbour.

Spacecibed’s Golden Ticket Pitch event took place earlier in the afternoon, with two winners selected to go straight into the Plus Eight bootcamp in 2021, and one (Force Hooks) winning entry, flights and accommodation to the UK for next year’s London Tech Week, courtesy of the UK Department of International Trade.

  • Force Hooks
  • Feeding Friend
Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Jason Ager (left) and Louis Cassell (right) from Force Hooks win the ‘Golden Ticket’ to London Tech Week 2022, flights and accommodation included. With Mayor of Fremantle, Hannah Fitzhardinge (2nd from left), and UK Department of International Trade’s Kirsty Packer.
Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Feeding Friend’s Amanda Rowe (left) wins direct entry into Plus Eight Bootcamp 2022.

MOST READ Startup News article

Startup News published 275 articles in 2021, and the most read were:

  • Foody Bags, Stuart Kidd
  • 5 common pitch mistakes, Charlie Caruso
  • Launch of Envited, Mihailo Bozic
  • Singular Health Listing on the ASX
  • $100M funding for innovation
  • Perth Peel 3-day lockdown

The award was presented by Sandra Draper, JTSI, New Industries Fund

MOST READ ARTICLE: ‘There’s a party and you’re envited’, Envited launch story, Mihailo Bozic

Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Sandra Draper, JTSI New Industries Fund with Mihailo Bozic (Envited)

MOST LISTENED TO Startup West podcast

Startup West published 20 podcast episodes this year. The 3 most popular podcast episodes in 2021 were:

  • Michael Malone, the iiNet story
  • Nick Saunders, Grow Impact and Opaxe
  • Erin Bell, Camp Connect
  • Clinton Schroeder, Tokn
  • Steve Elias and Gavin Stacey, RSM

The award was presented by Rohan McDougall, of Curtin University (himself a podcast guest in 2018).

MOST LISTENED TO EPISODE: Erin Bell, Camp Connect (episode 58)      

Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Rohan McDougall with Erin Bell (Camp Connect)

The following 3 awards were voted by the startup community of WA…

Startup SUPPORTER(S) of the Year

41 different supporters, advisers, mentors, investors were voted for in this category

In no particular order, the following 7 were right up there in the vote tally:

  • Andrew Larsen, Larsen Ventures
  • Olivia Humphrey
  • Derek Gerrard, BetterLabs
  • Jeff Leach, ProptechWA
  • Tash Teakle, Accelerating Commercialisation
  • Jeremy Chetty, Murdoch Launchpad
  • Cullum Ashton, Proptech WA

Steve Elias from RSM presented the award to…

MOST ADMIRED SUPPORTERS: Cullum Ashton and Jeff Leach, Proptech Hub WA

Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Proptech Hub WA’s Cullum Ashton (left) and Jeff Leach (right) with Steve Elias (RSM)

Startup PERSON of the Year   

38 different people were voted for in this award category; they could be a founder, staff member, developer, leader…who works in and for a WA startup.

This was a hotly contested category. It was extremely close. In no particular order, these 7 startup founders and CEOs were right up there in the vote tally, so well done them…

  • Dr Vanessa Rauland, ClimateClever
  • Nathan Kerr, OneClickLife
  • Iain Shields, Home Hub
  • Cullum Ashton, BuilderzWA
  • Claire Orange, Digii Social
  • Tim Brewer, Functionly
  • Tom Young, Udrew

The Award was announced by a very fine startup founder himself, Chris Tistrand from Dinner Twist:  

MOST ADMIRED PERSON: Claire Orange, founder & CEO, Digii Social

Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Claire Orange (Digii Social) receiving Startup Person of the Year from Dinner Twist’s Chris Tistrand

STARTUP of the Year       

43 different companies were voted for in this award category. To qualify, the business had to be an early-stage WA-based innovative venture, with a scalable business model.

In no particular order, the 7 startups with most votes were:

  • Functionly
  • Purposeful
  • VetChip
  • Udrew
  • Avicena
  • Noisy Guts
  • OneClickLife

Brodie McCulloch from Spacecubed announced the winner:


Startup News Awards 2021 announced
Tom Young (Udrew) with Brodie McCulloch (Spacecubed)


City of Perth were also a sponsor, but could not attend on the night. Thanks to all sponsors, voters, nominees and congrats to the award winners.

All photos – Henry Thai.

Read more of the latest news from the startup ecosystem here

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Charlie Gunningham

Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
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