BlueChilli’s Hot Spot on the Panel
Founder and CEO of Blue Chilli Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin is a serial entrepreneur and has fast become a father of entrepreneurship. His brainchild BlueChilli has become an extraordinary hatchery for innovative startups allowing ingenious ideas that may otherwise have remained infertile, to be incubated, injected with technical expertise, essential funds, developed and taken to market. Taking the hotspot as a major sponsor and expert panelist on the Big Pitch, Eckersley-Maslin is more than qualified to identify standout innovation and a startup worth $5 million funding. As Eckersley-Maslin says: “The Big Pitch is Big! It’s great to be involved in Australia’s largest pitch competition of its kind and already the entries are looking very exciting.”
The unlikely former Naval weapons engineer is blessed with the rare combination of seeing both the technical detail and the big picture. Whether it’s inventing groundbreaking landing systems for military aircraft, globetrotting to become the smallest multinational company on the planet in a matter of days, or launching a viable business with just $500, Eckersley-Maslin has earned his stripes in both the military field and the treacherous minefields of start-ups. Besides being awarded military medals, he is decorated with titles such as Entrepreneur of the Year, Most Inspirational Engineer of the Year and he deserves a platinum card for his frequent listing on the Anthill 30 Under 30 Top Entrepreneurs manifest. As for BlueChilli, it too is gaining ground as BRW’s 3rd most innovative company and Deloitte's 7th fastest growing company in Asia Pacific.
With a team of technology and software developers, BlueChilli is a technology venture firm, built entirely around innovation. As Eckersley-Maslin says: “BlueChilli has built a model that de-risks early stage startups. We set out to empower non-technical entrepreneurs by providing them with a complete product team to build their business, educate and train them through a 156-step accelerator program, support them with global incubators and fund them with venture capital.” The innovation, Eckersley-Maslin explains, “is in combining the services of a digital agency, the training of the accelerator and the funding of venture capital into a single program”.
This winning combination has seen BlueChilli start 40 companies in 24 months with a goal to invest in 100 companies by 2016. Eckersley-Maslin contributes its success to one of his core values – empowerment. “At BlueChilli we empower entrepreneurs and our own team to be the best they can, rewarding failure and celebrating individual success.”
Eckersley-Maslin says he is looking forward to being able to empower more startup businesses throughout The Big Pitch and jumped at the chance of being part of the event. “Every one of us in the startup ecosystem has a responsibility to grow and promote events that share our successes with the broader community,” he says. “We’re involved in the event because it’s a great way to support that ecosystem, which requires help at all stages in the startup process from seed, angel and venture funding.”
Having started 40 companies to date, and being in the business of building businesses, BlueChilli has plenty of advice for startups entering the The Big Pitch. “We have amassed a wealth of information and learnings on how to successfully commercialise early-stage innovation and ideas,” Eckersley-Maslin says. “BlueChilli helps small businesses by building the tech behind a startup and training the founder on becoming a better CEO. We have a risk-mitigated approach to early-stage company development that increases the probability of success.”
As for advice on how to ‘perfect your pitch’: Eckersley-Maslin says: “The pitch needs to capture our attention, have a story arc that explains the proposition and succinctly addresses the problem you solve, the solution you have and opportunity you've identified.”
Most importantly he says: “Get started and good luck.”