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SmartCamp: Wipeout for techies

Kiwi start-up 9 Spokes is up against three Australian tech companies this week as it competes in the IBM SmartCamp 2014 in Sydney on Wednesday.

The SmartCamp gives early-stage tech entrepreneurs the chance to spend a day honing their investment pitches in front of a bunch of IBM executives, potential investors and business people, before competing in a Dragon’s Den-type contest (yep, another one).

The winner of Australasian contest will compete in the regional final in China in November.

9 Spokes offers pre-vetting and integration services for SMEs wanting to buy cloud software.

“Business owners choose which business apps they want to use from a selection of the best of breed online software,” says CMO Brendan Roberts. 

Named a “cool vendor” by US research and advisory company Gartner last year, the Kiwi start-up sees SmartCamp as a chance to get mentoring and feedback on its funding pitch.

“There’s no money on offer directly, but it’s an opportunity for some free expert advice and the chance to make some useful connections,” Roberts says.

“Being able to say you’ve won the IBM SmartCamp gives you cut-through when you approach investors. It gives them a reason to talk to you.”

IBM SmartCamp 2013 regional finals

Since the launch in April 2010, IBM has accepted more than 1,600 startups into the Global Entrepreneur Programme which hosts SmartCamp and these companies have gone on to raise over US$183 million since joining the programme.

Christchurch online crop management company CropLogic won the 2012 Australasian SmartCamp title.

Chief editor at Idealog, Nikki's a veteran in the journalism industry. A former lecturer at AUT University, she was the chief reporter at NZ weekly business publication The Independent and was deputy editor of Canadian publication Unlimited magazine.

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