Five tech startups accelerate towards Queensland coal mine

27 October 2017

*This media release was originally published on the Unearthed website here.

New Acland Mine was a buzz with creative tech chatter on Wednesday 25th of October as a busload of mining industry startups descended on the operation from Brisbane to pitch their ideas to a real-life mine site.

Entrepreneurs from five new technology businesses took part in a comprehensive tour of the open cut coal mine as part of their involvement in the six-month Unearthed Accelerator Program.

New Acland General Manager David Vink said organisations like open innovation platform Unearthed play a key role in supporting entrepreneurship in the resource industry.

"Entrepreneurship has always been an integral part of the work we do at New Acland Mine so we jumped at the opportunity to host these five new startups," Mr Vink said.

"New Acland Mine has around 550 contractors on our books, with a large portion made up of small to medium businesses started by local entrepreneurs in the communities around our mine site."

"You look at the positive impact these businesses have on Oakey and our local area and you can’t help but appreciate how important the entrepreneurial spirit is and how much opportunity it can bring to the local economy and local workforce."

Personal safety start-up Canaria was among the five businesses to tour New Acland, and Co-Founder and Product Development Director Dr Rob Finean said he enjoyed visiting the mine site and learning about Queensland’s competitive advantage in the energy and resources sector.

Previously based in London, Canaria won the global award for Best Use of Hardware at NASA Space Apps 2016 with a personal safety wearable prototype.

"When we looked at the various industry applications of our tech, we found that there was a comparatively shorter path to market in mining," Mr Finean said.

"We are thrilled to be working with Unearthed, because there aren’t many natural resources companies in London."

"The access to industry that Unearthed can provide in Australia is paramount," Dr Finean said.

Four more mining industry startups are taking part in Unearthed’s Accelerator Program and include real time drilling performance optimisation solution Modulr Tech; continuous flow payments (CFP) technology banking platform Flowpay; SiteSee,whose web accessible software enables remote infrastructure inspection and 3D modelling within an interactive real-world environment; and processing plant audio analysis solution SOUNDelve, which allows your equipment to speak for itself.

The New Acland Mine tour is the latest initiative in the Unearthed Accelerator Program, providing the participating startups access and connections to industry and setting them on the path to building sustainable businesses with commercially ready products to reach global markets.

Accelerator participants are chasing part of a $1 trillion digital transformation opportunity in the energy and resources sector that will equally help industry partners to access gains in efficiency and competitiveness through the adoption of these innovative technologies and processes.

Unearthed sees the huge industry potential and thinks that more entrepreneurs should dig mining too.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the Unearthed Accelerator Program will help drive technological innovation in Queensland’s resources industry while building on existing strengths.

"The Unearthed Accelerator program provides our startup entrepreneurs and business innovators with first-class mentoring assistance while connecting them with investors and potential customers in industry," Ms Enoch said.

Accelerator Program startups are all finalising paid trial agreements with industry partners at the halfway mark of the program; a feat that would have been unheard of a few years ago.

"We believe the program enables the fastest and most cost-effective introduction of new technologies to our energy and resources partners, as well as being the best way to support new resources tech startups," said Justin Strharsky, Founding Director at Unearthed.

The six-month long mentor-driven Accelerator Program is taking place at River City Labs in Advance Queensland's The Precinct in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley from July to December this year.

Unearthed believes in the power of entrepreneurship to transform individuals and communities, to create economic opportunity and to address global challenges. Since 2014, Unearthed has connected over 3000 innovators to terabytes of data and over 80 resources industry challenges through hackathons, online challenges