Fishburners Startup Blog

Fishburners Startup Xceptional Wins $1 Million in Google.org Impact Challenge

After being selected as top 10 finalists in the Google.org Impact Challenge just a few weeks ago, Fishburners startup Xceptional took out one of the winning spots and received $1 million in funding from Google.

Xceptional helps connect people with autism to life changing employment opportunities through their app and technology services company.

The competition had over 350 applications and Xceptional took out one of the winning spots along with fellow winners Hireup, Orange Sky Australia and Humantix. Fishburners startup Radiant also received $250,000 for being selected as one of the top ten finalists.

We caught up with Mike Tozer the founder and CEO of Xceptional to find out more about the important work they’re doing and how they’ll be using the funds to grow the company.

“For me, this award is a massive vote of support for our company. And it is also a vote for people who think differently and for too long have been locked out of contributing to society.” – Mike Tozer CEO of Xceptional

A few years back Mike’s son was diagnosed with autism and he saw first hand what impact this had and knew he wanted to make a difference.

“My son Josiah has autism. I see it hold him back. But I also see his strengths; his potential. In 10 years time he will enter the workforce. By then we want to see Xceptional become ordinary, because of the change that we have caused in society.” – Mike Tozer CEO of Xceptional

Around the same time of the diagnosis Mike was on the hunt for employment himself and seemed to keep getting knocked back from interviews.

He’d come along to Fishburners Friday Night Pitches but never imagined that one day he’d be pitching for $1 million dollars.

It wasn’t until a pivotal conversation he had with a close friend and mentor where everything changed.

The friend asked: “If money wasn’t an issue what would you do?” and Mike shared his vision for Xceptional.

As fate would have it both Mike and his mentor ended up joining forces and starting Xceptional with the vision to change the world for those with autism and as they say, the rest is history.

With the recent support from the Google.org Impact Challenge Xceptional are planning to build out their app and continue to help to recognise, celebrate and harness the unique strengths of people with autism.

We want to say a huge congratulations to Mike and the Xceptional team on such a fantastic achievement and wish them all the best as they continue to grow Xceptional here at Fishburners.

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