KPMG selects winners for nature and space start-up competitions

29 June 2023 3 min. read
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KPMG last year launched two new initiatives to support innovative start-ups, its Nature Positive and Future Technology programs. After a successful first round, the firm has selected its latest winners.

The Australian wing of global professional services firm KPMG has unveiled the winner of this year’s Nature Positive competition, with the $100,000 prize being awarded to NSW-based biodiversity intelligence platform Xylo Systems following a final pitch in front of a panel of five judges.

Meanwhile, the firm has also chosen the five start-ups which will participate in the latest round of its Future Technology accelerator, focused this year on the space technology sector.

KPMG selects winners for nature and space start-up competitions

Nature Positive Prize

Launched last year, KPMG’s Nature Positive Prize aims to support environmentally-focused ventures through cash injections and bespoke consulting services, altogether worth $400,000. Xylo Systems, a cloud-based, data and AI platform which aids conservation by measuring and managing impacts on biodiversity, has followed inaugural winner ULUU in claiming the top cash prize, and will further benefit from tailored advisory.

“All five of our finalists were hugely impressive – but Xylo Systems stood out to the judging panel because of their innovative approach to helping industries, like property development and energy, assess their interface with nature,” commented KPMG CEO Andrew Yates. “We all depend on nature – that’s why our firm has made a public and ongoing commitment to understanding and improving our impact on nature and biodiversity.”

After a successful pilot, KPMG this year extended its Nature Positive program to organisations operating in the South Pacific, and introduced a People’s Choice award chosen by the firm’s staff, with PNG sustainable fishing and crop management association Cooperative Advantage Alliance voted as the $50,000 winner. Three other finalists – Hullbot, Restore Blue, and Wilderlands – will also share $250,000 worth of advisory services.

Xylo co-founder and CEO Camille Goldstone-Henry said: “Winning the KPMG Challenge is an absolute game-changer, and we couldn’t be more excited about what this means for our natural world and for our company’s future. The financial boost and access to advisory services will allow us to fast-track our global expansion plans to key markets in the US and UK, in our mission to transform business for biodiversity globally.”

Future Technology Program

Also first launched last year, KPMG’s future tech accelerator program in collaboration with Stone & Chalk has meanwhile selected its second cohort of participating start-ups, switching the focus from supply chain innovation to space sector technology. The five chosen entrepreneurs will receive a one-year residency at one of Stone & Chalk’s startup hubs in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, along with a personalised growth support package.

“We started the program in the belief that there were many unsung Australian startups with world-changing ideas who deserved more support, and this space cohort selection process has proven that we were correct,” said Sarah Vega, national managing partner o the firm’s venture-building practice KPMG Futures. “From Earth observation solutions to dynamic, wireless energy distribution, the potential of these companies is limitless.”

The five selected start-ups include Aquila, which says it’s creating the “internet of energy” via the use of photovoltaics and directed light beams or safe and scalable transmission. Co-founder William Jeremijenko said: “As a future-focused startup whose technology has the potential to electrify both the space sector and the world, KPMG’s networks, resources and support will help supercharge us in our mission of powering the future.”