Top AI innovators awarded $500K in Australia’s first AI Sprint

Aus AI Sprint Demo Day and Award Ceremony. Image supplied.

Australia’s inaugural AI Sprint has awarded half a million dollars in funding to three pioneering AI companies.

This initiative aims to bring their innovative AI-powered prototypes to market, addressing critical national issues and enhancing workforce productivity.

The AI Sprint, a collaborative effort between the National AI Centre, Stone & Chalk, and Google Cloud, selected Dragonfly Thinking, Kindship, and Empathetic AI from over 190 start-ups.

These winners showcased solutions that promise significant advancements in their respective fields.

Dragonfly Thinking received the top prize of $300,000 in research and development support from a leading Australian research institution and facilitation services from CSIRO’s SME Connect.

Kindship and Empathetic AI were each awarded $100,000 in support. All three companies will also benefit from a suite of support services from Stone & Chalk, designed to help them secure essential capital, customers, expertise, and talent.

Stela Solar, director of the National AI Centre, praised the winners for their potential to meet critical market needs.

“They were chosen for their ability to scale innovative, responsible, and competitive AI businesses in today’s market,” Solar stated.

“They all have exceptionally bright futures, and we’re proud to have provided the opportunity to help them transform their AI concepts into real-world impact.”

Chris Kirk, CEO of Stone & Chalk Group, highlighted the AI Sprint’s role in advancing Australia’s AI industry. “The AI Sprint has been an incredible initiative that will undoubtedly propel Australia’s AI ecosystem forward.

He added, “By bringing together the brightest minds, innovative ideas, and cutting-edge resources, we have fostered an environment ripe for groundbreaking advancements in artificial intelligence.”

Michael Langford, head of VC & Startup Ecosystem JAPAC at Google Cloud, expressed excitement over the quality of the participating teams.

“Google Cloud is proud to support the AI Sprint, fostering innovation and empowering startups to build a stronger digital future by addressing critical national challenges through AI.”

The National AI Centre, Stone & Chalk, and Google Cloud also extended their congratulations to the top 10 and top 35 teams.

Their prototypes, ranging from public sentiment trackers for affordability to AI-integrated downlight and smoke alarm systems, reflect the remarkable talent within Australia’s startup scene.

Dragonfly Thinking, an ANU spin-out founded by Professors Anthea Roberts and Miranda Forsyth, develops AI tools that facilitate inclusive and flexible thinking on complex business and policy issues.

Their tools provide clear insights to enhance decision-making.

Kindship’s AI-powered personal assistant, Barb, offers 24/7 guidance on navigating the NDIS, providing instant advice on budgeting, provider selection, and therapy options.

Founder Summer Petrosius, inspired by her journey with undiagnosed autism, created Barb to support individuals and caregivers.

Empathetic AI’s tax co-pilot, Luna, provides scenario analysis, real-time ATO private ruling updates, and automated legislation reference checks.

Co-founded by Angela Shi, Luna integrates human-centric approaches into digital technologies, reflecting Angela’s vision and commitment to innovation.