Yesterday, x15ventures – Commonwealth Bank’s venture-scaling entity – selected ten startup teams to partake in the Xccelerate21 Community Day, with five chosen to go through to the upcoming final pitch round.

With more than 60 experienced founders and entrepreneurs applying to take part in Xccelerate21, this year’s program was specifically looking for founders whose business ideas reimagined how customers shop, pay and are rewarded throughout their retail experience.

“Xccelerate21 Community Day is a fantastic opportunity for the startups to connect and learn from x15 on a range of topics,” Yish Koh, Head of Portfolio at x15ventures said. 

“It’s a chance for the mentors and speakers to sit down and deep dive with each of the teams, to discuss their company and share insights they might not ordinarily get,” she said.

Whilst this year’s Community Day was hosted online due to the state-based Covid-19 lockdowns, teams were able to network virtually, attend professional masterclasses and partake in mentoring sessions with the industry’s best.

The day included masterclasses on the 11 characteristics of hyper-growth companies with John Batistich, Non-Executive Director, Zip Co; AI and the best use for startups with Matt Sinclair, Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy and M&A, Microsoft; as well as a marketing masterclass on scaling your startup with Rob Perry, Head of Go-to-Market, x15ventures.

The day also included presentations and sessions from: Janey Martino Portfolio Advisor, x15ventures; Rochelle Eldridge General Manager Shopping, CBA; Omaya Robinson Executive Manager, Ecommerce Product Management, CBA; and Yish Koh Head of Portfolio, x15ventures.

Jonny Wallace, Founder and CEO of Sales Optic – a SaaS platform visualising the way sellers see, analyse and understand sales data, and one of this year’s participants – said it was fantastic to connect with other startups and mentors.

“It’s allowed Sales Optic to go from being an idea to a SaaS product with a clear and real problem to solve,” he said.

When asked about his favourite part of the day, Mr Wallace said that Zip Co’s John Batistich was a highlight.

“He’s a trailblazer in the Buy Now Pay Later sector, as well as the fashion retail market and his experience is well aligned with Sales Optic; helping retailers maximise their sales, inventory productivity and profitability.”

Cate Tumewa, Founder and CEO of GimmeNow – a plug-and-play online marketplace platform that turns local stores into a virtual shopping mall – echoed that sentiment.

“We want to make the most of the mentorship sessions, to learn and receive advice on the most challenging aspects of the business, gain industry insights on how best to gain traction, and scale our business,” she said.

Isaac Donnelly, Founder and CEO of Four2 – a customer recommendation platform enabling marketing, sales and product leaders to create personalised interventions for their customers – said hearing about the integration with CBA was most interesting.

“We got a lot of value learning how to improve our outreach to small businesses from Australia’s largest bank," Dr Donnelly said.    

Community Day concluded with five of the 10 teams selected to pitch to x15ventures at its upcoming Pitch Day. The final teams include:

  • Bramp, an all in one branding platform for startups and SMEs;
  • Four2, a customer recommendation platform providing best offer, price or discount for each customer;
  • Splashup, an AI enabled business helping customers find the right product at the right time;
  • Shopyou, an omnichannel experience for shopping centres, retailers and customers; and
  • Sales Optic, a visual way for sellers to analyse and understand their sales data.

Pitch Day – the shark tank-style event held on August 12 – will see the judges asking each of the final teams a number of questions after their pitch before deliberating and announcing the winner of Xccelerate21.

The winner of the Pitch Day will be offered a $150K SAFE note from x15 to get their idea off the ground.

About Xccelerate21: Xccelerate21 is a high touch, high-impact program that provides founders access to mentors and experts to help them accelerate the growth of their business. Founders will learn how to grow their start-up with support from our partners and gain industry insights from CommBank experts on what it's like working with a large corporate. The winning team will be offered a $150,000 investment from x15 through a standard SAFE note. For more, visit: