Optus announces first investments into Aussie startups – 121cast and Venuemob

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Optus has revealed the first two companies that will receive funding from its Innov8 Seed Program, announcing that 121cast and Venuemob have been selected to receive funding, mentoring, networking and dedicated co-working spaces.

“We are excited to kick off our first investments as part of the Optus-Innov8 Seed Program in 121cast and Venuemob, and look forward to seeing more exciting ideas coming out of Australia,” SingTel Innov8 CEO, Edgar Hardless, said in a statement announcing the investments.

Melbourne-based 121cast is the company behind SoundGecko, which converts text into spoken word and lets users listen to any news article or web page on the go. The company was founded in February 2012 by Andrew Armstrong, Ed Hooper and Long Zheng (who is behind the I Started Something blog). 121cast has raised $250,000, with Optus and Adventure Capital investing.

Venuemob, another Melbourne startup, provides information and booking access to a small, hand-picked selection of Melbourne’s bars, restaurants, reception centres and function rooms including the Golden Monkey and the Botanical. It was also founded in 2012 by David Wei, James Giang and Ying Wang. Wei and Wang previously worked with Groupon. It has raised $450,000, again led by Optus.

Optus has also announced that it will start opening the application process for 2013 in January.

Edit: We previously stated that “Optus invested $450,000 in Venuemob”. In fact, Optus was part of investors that invested $450,000 into Venuemob – it did not provide all of the $450,000. Apologies for the confusion.

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