Well, it’s been just under a fortnight since the judging of the QUTbluebox Innovation Challenge. Now that the dust has settled, we thought it would be worth reflecting on the third edition of one of the most significant innovation competitions in Australia.
This year’s Challenge was the third – and definitely the biggest – competition run by QUT to date. Over 160 teams entered, which was more than twice as many as last year. And with $250,000 in prizes on offer, there was plenty of incentive to throw a hat into the ring!
The quality of the entrants was also incredibly high. Narrowing them down to the final five was tough enough, but the judges faced the even more difficult challenge of choosing one of the five outstanding entrants to award the major prize of $50,000.
Just to recap, the five finalists were;
- Conweigh – a novel mobile container weighing system
- Med Augment – augmented reality to assist in medication consumption
- Velvet – creating the Wi-Fi sharing economy
- LookBooker – book hair and beauty salon appointments online
- Field Orthopaedics – bringing relief to suffers of wrist pain
All five finalists displayed the qualities we look for in startups at QUT – creativity, a strong business model wrapped around an innovative idea, capable teams and strong pathways to market. Every finalist delivered on these through compelling pitches, making the judging extremely challenging.
“The finalists in this year’s QUT bluebox Innovation Challenge were of an incredibly high standard” said lead judge Jane Andrews, director of TechnologyOne and the advisor for the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre in Brisbane.
“The pitching was of a very high standard, all the finalists had compelling business propositions and each understood their markets extremely well” she said.
“Field Orthopaedics impressed us with their technology, the depth of their team and the market potential for their wrist replacement innovation”.
“Separating them from the other teams was really challenging, but in the end we had to choose a winner, which this year was Field Orthopaedics.”
QUT bluebox CEO Tim McLennan also noted that there has been a groundswell of entrepreneurialism and startup activity at QUT, with that groundswell flowing directly into the number and quality of entrants in the competition.
“We are incredibly proud of the tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship at QUT and we see the Innovation Challenge as a chance to really showcase the leading position QUT has taken in this space” he said.
“QUT bluebox will continue to sponsor the Innovation Challenge and we look forward to an even bigger and better event in 2016.”