The Australian Innovation Competition announces five winners showcasing cutting-edge solutions and technological advancements

Five industry pioneers EarFlo, Innofocus, Ripen Tech, Vaulta and Zondii have been recognised as Australia’s leading innovators harnessing technology to solve real-world problems

SYDNEY, Oct. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Australian Innovation Competition has today announced five winners that represent an impressive breadth of industries and demonstrate technologically-driven creativity through solutions with potential to transform their sectors.

Winners EarFlo, Innofocus, Ripen Tech, Vaulta and Zondii will each receive a $30,000 Innovation Prize from Industry Growth Centre METS Ignited to help fund their innovation, build their business, and ultimately benefit Australia, and potentially the world, by improving effectiveness and efficiency of their sectors. Many of the winners and finalists have the potential to address problems across multiple industry sectors.

“The competition has shown again the creative and technological talent locally and the opportunity for Australia to become a world leader in innovation across so many areas. There is an opportunity at a state and national level to overcome the challenges of commercialisation, access to investment and finding a platform to showcase this type of exciting innovation,” said Alex Blood, Head Judge for the Australian Innovation Competition.

METS Ignited’s Kylah Morrison who led the competition was delighted with the number of applications. “We were extremely impressed with the quality and quantity of applications. The competition attracted a wide range of applications from all over the country,” she said.

Health, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, software, social, environmental, resources and industrial applications were represented by over 180 entries submitted to the competition, with the winners selected based on aggregate scores from the seven judges.

EarFlo, a medical device disguised as a ‘sippy cup’, empowers parents to treat young children suffering from chronic ear infections. It can restore hearing faster, thereby helping to prevent cognitive and developmental delays that can result from prolonged hearing loss. “Winning the Australian Innovation Competition will accelerate development so that Aussie kids can access this treatment as soon as possible,” said Intan Oldakowska, CEO of EarFlo.

Innofocus has developed a high-performance flexible film that can cool down any covered object without consuming electricity, with the nanostructure on its surface allowing objects to radiate heat completely into outer space while completely avoiding solar heat absorption in the visible and infrared. Use cases in industries such as agriculture, transportation and energy storage have the potential to significantly reduce carbon footprints.

Ripen Tech has developed an IoT device that weighs fruit in real-time while it is still on the plant, removing the need for wastage and inaccurate measures through visual estimation. This will replace the need to use traditional methods that are inaccurate and lead to common downstream issues such as product rejections, helping growers avoid fruit loss by offering highly accurate yield impacts before harvest.

Vaulta has developed an Australian made, long duration battery storage product using advanced composite materials and a smart, streamlined design for its casing that condenses multiple functions into fewer parts. Vaulta’s simple no-weld design means modules can be easily assembled and disassembled, while cells can be reused and recycled, reducing waste and, crucially, giving batteries a second life.

Zondii’s simple handheld device replaces expensive on-farm legacy technology that woolgrowers have used to-date to class wool. It helps them save time and money on mustering labour and with instant micron measurement, makes on-farm breeding and classing decisions more efficient and effective.

“These companies are not just creating products; they are shaping the future and driving positive change. Their success stories inspire us all to think beyond boundaries and reimagine what’s possible. Together, they exemplify the innovation and ingenuity that Australia brings to the world stage,” said judge Les Delaforce, Head of First Nations Entrepreneurship at Minderoo Foundation and board director of Startup WA.

Early-stage companies or startups were well-represented in the entry pool – of the entries received, three quarters were submitted by companies, with 86 percent of these entrants having an annual turnover of less than $2 million. More than half of the companies who entered had one to five employees at 63 percent.

Australia isn’t a big nation in terms of population, but innovation is part of our DNA, it’s a big reason we can compete on the global stage. We’ve got to do everything we can to foster, support and promote our country’s great innovators,” said judge Arron Wood AM, Chief Policy and Impact Officer at the Clean Energy Council.

Innovations entered in the competition emerged from all corners of Australia, with representative numbers from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and from Western Australia.

Shortlisted finalists included Audioplay, Camp Connect Pty Ltd, Claire Rackely, Emma Charters, Foxo, FreddyBear, Hypersonix, LeapForward, Mustard Seed, Natural Branding, OneVision, OWAD Environment, Scoot Boots, Sensibility, Southern Ocean Subsea, Sprightly, StandbyU and Violet.

About The Australian Innovation Competition 2023

The Australian Innovation Competition 2023 was designed to shine a light on promising innovators all around Australia, with the most creative solution to real-world problems. An exciting prize pool of $150,000 was split between five winners who best exemplified Australian innovation, as decided by our expert judging panel. The competition was open to Australian Innovators – individuals or organisations – resident or registered in Australia. More information can be found at