Telstra ups investment in startups, launches Muru-D class two

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 21 October 2014

Telstra is continuing its investment in innovation with the telco putting up $440,000 in seed capital to 11 startups as part of its Muru-D program.

Class two of the program features everything from custom surfboards created using 3D modelling, a social platform for travel experiences and a digital marketplace for freight transporters.

The program launched in October last year, taking on nine start ups for a six month incubation period.

Out of class one, eight of the nine starts ups now have capital funding for the next 12 to 18 months and Ann Parker, Muru-D co-founder believes this is a great credit to the program.

“All nine of the business are all still fully trading, eight of those businesses have clear funding for the next 12- 18 months. To have all of them nearly getting funded is very unusual, so this first class have set the bar very high,” Parker told AdNews.

The reason Telstra continue to grow this program is because it believes in not only keeping but fostering the best talent here in Australia.

“It is absolutely core to Australia that we have a vibrant digital economy, not just for Telstra that they get better ideas for them to potentially sell to their customers, but to keep the best talent here that they end up working at Telstra one day or they build great businesses here in Australia one day, it's really important for us that that happens,” she said.

Like the first round of the program Muru-D provides a $40,000 seed capital investment in each of the startups for a return for 6% equity in the business.

Charlotte Yarkoni, executive director at Telstra Software Group and muru-D Co-founder, said: “Nurturing innovation within Australia is critical to ensure we’re continuing to fuel our economy with exciting and disruptive technology companies. If we don’t innovate, we risk becoming irrelevant. It’s a priority for Telstra and we’re starting to see it become a priority for more and more organisations, which is very exciting for everyone involved in the business.

The starts involved for class two are:

FanFuel: a sponsorship marketplace where brands search, measure and secure their sponsorship deal
FreightExchange: a digital marketplace for freight transporters to sell their unused capacity to businesses that need to ship goods
Wattblock: quick, customised, web-based energy saving roadmaps for residential and commercial strata buildings
Disrupt Surfing: custom surfboards made using 3D modelling
You Chews: an online catering platform, making it easy to find great food for meetings and events
TripALocal: an online platform that connects travellers with local hosts for authentic local experiences
Peep Digital: an intelligent, phonetic English technology platform to help children, youths and adults struggling with English pronunciation and comprehension
VClass: the first ever hybrid education platform that combines the power of Internet, VoIP and traditional pen and paper to create an online teaching experience like face to face
Instrument Works: developers of wireless, portable sensors and instruments to build the internet of things for research.
CrowdSourceHire: a pre-hire assessments marketplace platform that crowd sources industry experts to assist with assessment of jobs for companies.
SoccerBrain: making it easy for anyone to coach a team, providing tailored, interactive training sessions week-by-week for coaches and players.

For more Telstra news see below:
Hollywood revival, fast cars, data machines and next gen marketing leaders
Is it really Telstra calling? Now you'll know
Telstra nets one million mobile users; looks to ramp up IPTV

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