muru-D startups receive investment with SYD Ventures

Media Release, 04 August 2014

Telstra’s startup accelerator program muru-D and SYD Ventures today announced that three of the startups participating in the inaugural program have secured an initial investment from SYD Ventures.

Farmbot, Pixc and Open Learning are part of the group of nine startups participating in muru-D’s unique six month acceleration program which started in February 2014 who have successfully obtained second round funding.

muru-D co-founder, Ann Parker, said she was thrilled with the teams obtaining investment from SYD Ventures because it will assist them as they grow and scale their businesses, potentially becoming self-sustaining and importantly supporting local talent in Australia.

“We know startups are building the future of technology in Australia and muru-D is committed to supporting local innovation and encouraging an ecosystem that incubates ideas and attracts local investors like SYD Ventures, rather than having the community head overseas for funding,” said Ms Parker.

Andrey Shirben, the founder of SYD Ventures and one of the lead mentors in muru-D, said that the unique nature of this program, and the fact that it is six months rather than the standard 12 weeks, gave him an opportunity to work with all the teams and pick up the ones he believes in and to which he can add the most value, thus making the investment decision before Demo Night much easier.

“As a company that invests in people rather than ideas, being a mentor in the muru-D program provided me with an early access to the startups and the opportunity to get to know the teams and work with the founders for several months before taking the relationship to the next level,” said Mr Shirben.

  • Farmbot - provides real time monitoring of stock water and other farm assets using a unique long range wireless technology. The cloud based subscription service frees up farmers for more productive tasks while receiving alerts, status and analysis on mobile devices.
  • Pixc - helps online stores improve their conversion by editing their product images and making them look more professional within 24 hours for a fixed price per image, changing the way business owners manage their eCommerce stores by providing on-demand services.
  • Open Learning - a new and innovative learning platform that enables educators to teach the most effective, enjoyable and transformative online courses in the world by promoting student autonomy and fostering a community of students.

On the 14 August, all 9 startups will present their progress over the past 6 months on muru-D’s Demo Night delivering their pitches in front of hundreds of investors and key industry partners. Please register on the muru-D website.

About muru-D
muru-D is a startup accelerator program funded by Telstra. It offers seed funding of ~$40k to startups along with 6 months coaching, mentoring and support and access into the Telstra network. The aim is to foster a vibrant start-up community and grow a pipeline of promising Australian technology companies.

About SYD Ventures
SYD Ventures, founded by Andrey Shirben in 2012 is not your ordinary fund - in fact it's not a fund at all - it's a startup company that just happens to invests in other early-stage startups.
We invest in people, rather than ideas. We invest in startups we can personally get involved in and help build and scale. We invest relatively small amounts, mainly at very early seed and pre-seed stages, and being long-time entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand the needs and interests of the startup venture and the entrepreneurs leading it.