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Inaugural Burning Heroes Australia Award Winners Provides Diverse Watchlist for VCs

Written by
Will Richards
Published on

In an entrepreneurial landscape where a gender funding gap persists, the Burning Heroes Founders Association is a beacon of progress, and it’s finally arrived in Australia. The Burning Heroes inaugural Australian pitch night was a vibrant celebration of innovation and diversity, concluding with a striking revelation: women-led startups are not just breaking through — they're dominating.

The Burning Heroes Awards, designed by founders for founders, turned the spotlight on Australian startups, with an impressive 80% of the finalists being women-led businesses. This resonates with the ethos of the association, founded on the evidence that diverse businesses are not only more revenue-positive but more capital-efficient too. Yet, despite outperforming their counterparts, women founders in Australia received a mere 23% of investment deals, as per 2022 numbers. 

This disparity is what drives Burning Heroes. While venture capital heavyweights such as AirTree Ventures and Blackbird Ventures committing to transparency in their investments in women-led businesses, the association sees this as the first step. There's a larger canvas to paint when it comes to equity in startup funding.

Fifteen startups, handpicked by a selection committee of founder volunteers and contest organisers, pitched to a live panel of judges, including active VC investors and ecosystem influencers. In a vibrant display of entrepreneurial diversity, the inaugural pitch night washeld virtually with startups and judges dialling in from all corners of the country, including a beautiful beach in Western Australia. 

Burning Hero Awards in Action

Without further ado, here is a summary of each category and its winner. 

Global Reach: 

Has a scalable, sustainable, and defensible model that has successfully expanded its presence and impact on the global stage. 

Winner: Humanico, for helping companies understand, visualise and optimise their greatest asset: their people.

Social Impact: 

Driving positive change by combining business acumen to address social, environmental and governance challenges for a better world.

Winner: Alt.Leather, Australia's first 100% bio-based leather alternative.

Aussie Market Mover:

Tackles challenges unique to Australia, propelling innovation and progress within the local market.

Winner: The Separation Guide, Australia's only holistic guide to divorce and separation.

Equity In Innovation: 

Champions diversity and inclusivity, leading the way in driving innovation with equal opportunities for all. Empowering change, one breakthrough at a time.

Winner: DEIR: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Retention, the number one recruit-tech platform to find women in STEM.

Speedy Startup: 

Embraces agility, making remarkable strides in innovation and market responsiveness. A true accelerator of success.

Winner: SeenCulture, for shining a light on untapped potential to create a world where everyone feels seen.

Tech In The Arts:

Fuses technology with art, enriching creative experiences and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.

Winner: QreativeAI, where technology intersects with art to revolutionise the way you connect with your audience.

The Burning Heroes Founders Association is more than just awards. It's a clarion call for a collaborative ecosystem that supports diverse and talented founders. It's a testament to the principle that the true value of innovation transcends monetary gain.

As the global contest continues its journey across continents, the association's mission echoes the ethos of the Burning Man festival, championing radical inclusion and community-driven values. It's clear that Burning Heroes isn't just spotlighting startups; it's igniting a movement for equitable change in the startup world.

Overnight Success is proud to be a foundational partner of the awards.

Congratulations to the shortlisted startups:

  • Seedling Giving: making the process of donating simpler and safer.
  • Run180: running made easy.
  • Circular Sourcing: Australia’s marketplace for designer deadstock and quality surplus.
  • Kidly App: helping parents help their kids have fun!
  • Askbella: the science behind skincare.
  • FitFlo: reimagining the gym workout experience for gym operators, trainers and members.
  • The Violet Initiative: support for the last stage of life.
  • MyGigsters: employee-like entitlement benefits for self-employed and casual workers.
  • Misti: next-generation lung delivery to protect every child from infections.
  • FootprintLab: an expert source of credible, current and reliable carbon data.

The judging committee included:

Well done to the contributing volunteers:

⭐️ Dani Goldberg

⭐️ Pooja Mathur

🌟 Jo Robyn

Preethi Mohan

🌟 Lea Rausch

🌟 Antony Melnischenko

Gemma Clancy

Marina Chelak

⭐ Ian Yip

⭐ Reece Miller

⭐ Luke Rix

⭐David Hartley

⭐Vazgeb Badalyan

⭐Yoash Dvir

⭐Stephanie Rong

⭐Daniel Tan

⭐ Michael McSweeney

⭐Sam Rahmanian

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