Australian startup Bugwolf a top 3 finalist at the world's largest tech startup conference - Web Summit

What began four weeks ago when Bugwolf submitted an application to Web Summit culminated in pitching to more than 4000 people in the Audi PITCH finals on November 5th and being broadcasted live via a CNBC and Web Summit stream to tens of thousands of people around the world. To make it all the way from Melbourne to the finals in this important event is a great honour. What began with 1,300 startups was reduced to 400 then 40 and then down to 2 groups of 3 - the top 3 in the Beta and Alpha categories.
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Beta was for startups which had raised between 500,000 and 3 million dollars and Alpha for companies which had raised up to 500,000 in funding. Although, Bugwolf has been bootstrapped since inception and has not raised any funding to date, we were selected for Beta due to our strong revenue growth.

We made it all the way to the very end, taking the stage with just two other Beta startups in one of my most exciting opportunities of my career as an entrepreneur and the history of Bugwolf. Most of the finalists had already raised significant funding. Although we came close runners up, to get this far was a huge achievement.

But, the Web Summit was more than just an opportunity to pitch. It was an unprecedented networking event that will have positive effects long after it has ended.

We have reached a new level since we began as a small Australian startup only two years ago. That new level made it worthwhile traveling over 20,000 kilometers to attend this year’s Web Summit. We have networked with many new friends and met important investors such as Dave McClure from 500 Startups and Brian Caulfield from Draper Esprit.

Being a bootstrap company, the chance to meet important investors was highly welcome. We were able to reach out to a number of investors and had several very productive meetings that may bear fruit in the future. Not to mention the huge wave of new enquiries and positive feedback that we welcomed to our exhibition stand on Day 3 of Web Summit.

There were many important takeaways from this experience. Not the least of which was that our business model is growing and developing at a rate that could not even be imagined only a few years ago. Bugwolf intends to stay focused on addressing the rising cost of quality in the digital sector which cost the economy $300 billion per annum in 2013 and continues to grow rapidly. We are more focused and determined than ever before to put Bugwolf and the Australian startup ecosystem on a global stage.

In the end, a local Irish startup called Bizimply, one of Bono’s (U2) investments and companies, took out the Beta main prize. Bono invests in startups via his investment firm Elevation Partners and they have made some great investments. Bizimply did not get picked by the Beta judges from the semifinals so they must have been selected as the wild card entry or for winning the Irish startup competition.

Congratulations to Bizimply for winning in addition to taking Ireland’s Spark of Genius Award - a clean sweep and a fantastic achievement. It was great to see the main prize go to a local Irish startup, especially given it's the last year for Web Summit in Ireland and next year the event is being exported to Lisbon, much to the regret of the Dublin locals.

The Bizimply co-founder later said he thought Bugwolf had won it, which was a really nice endorsement by the winner of the Web Summit. High five to Mikey Cannon Co-Founder and head of Product and to his team at Bizimply for a great business. You did awesome Mikey!

We’ll be back!

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