qutbluebox Innovation Challenge Finalist: Velvet – Q&A

velvet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Velvet Wi-Fi is a Finalist in this year’s bluebox Innovation Challenge.  We spoke to Velvet Founder David Poxon to find out what makes Velvet tick, and what motivates him to get out of bed every morning to realise his entrepreneurial dream.  Read on to find out about the first of our Challenge Finalists!

 

What is Velvet?

Velvet is the Wi-Fi sharing economy.

Who are the people behind it?

I’m David Poxon and I created Velvet Wi-Fi.  More recently Florian Kalbe has joined me to help drive sales and marketing.

What is your connection with QUT?

I’m currently PhD student and Florian graduated from a Masters of Business Process Management in July 2016.

How long have you been operating as a business?

Velvet has been in operation since March 2016 and has recently launched presales of the Velvet Hotshot™.

How did you come up with the idea for Velvet?

I was working in France, and needed to get access to the internet for my PhD work.  However, I found it almost impossible to get decent access on the go, while at the same time having unused broadband capacity at my home in Brisbane.  From this frustration was born Velvet, the idea of the Wi-Fi sharing economy which allows people to share their excess Wi-Fi with people who need Wi-Fi on the go.

Do you have any experiences in startups or business?

Florian and I have some business experience, but as the Velvet team we are first time entrepreneurs.

What has been your biggest challenge with Velvet do date?

There have been a range of challenges that we’ve had to overcome.  Some of these have been technical in nature, and others have been related to the business of doing business.  Getting started was a really big challenge for me and creating a robust technical solution was another.  Making the transition from building something to selling it is one challenge currently faced by the business.

What has been your greatest success with Velvet to date?

Translating an idea into a functional product that gives life to the concept of the sharing economy has been one of the biggest successes of the business so far.

Where do you find inspiration and what entrepreneurs are you influenced by?

I find inspiration in the stories of people who have set themselves ambitious goals and followed through on them.  In terms of entrepreneurs, Bill Gates has been an influence, not just for what he has achieved with Microsoft, but for his subsequent work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What would it mean to you and your startup to win the Innovation Challenge?

Winning the Innovation Challenge would be transformative for Velvet.  The business is on the cusp of growing strongly and the funds and profile created by the win would really help accelerate the growth of the venture.

For more information on Velvet Wi-Fi, visit https://www.velvetwifi.com/#/.

Patenting and the thorny issue of Inventorship

Sometimes it’s hard work keeping everyone happy. This is especially the case when it comes to patenting. At qutbluebox, our managers work hard to ensure the inventorship and ownership of the intellectual property is accurate. If we don’t, down the track the problems that can arise are nightmarish. Not convinced with what fuss is all about? Read this great article: Inventorship and Ownership – The importance of getting it right.

Tangled Web We Weave[4]

 

Enabling women to manage their own wellbeing – The Women’s Wellness Program

Last year bluebox invested Proof-of-Concept (POC) funding in over 10 successful POC applications. The projects range from getting a consultant on board for a short period of time to provide commercial feasibility assessment, collecting data to compare the innovation to current gold standard in industry, and the development and trialing of prototypes.

Professor Debra Anderson was one of the successful applicants that received investment to package and develop an online delivery system for the Women’s Wellness Program. Evidence-based, the piStock_000006244050Largerogram is targeted at midlife women, providing them with tools to manage their own health and wellbeing through a supportive 12-week program, which targets decreasing menopausal symptoms and reducing chronic disease risk factors.

This research builds on the demonstrated success of the existing Women’s Wellness program, which is an intensive consultation and paper-based intervention. The POC investment from bluebox will assist Professor Anderson and her team to update the women’s wellness program paper based materials and produce an e-book/journal, develop an interactive online delivery system to support the program, pilot e-health consultation support and update training materials for health professionals to deliver the program. Three approaches will be trial in a pilot study of the system. The program is aimed at enabling busy women to manage their own wellbeing, whilst on the move!

I am constantly bombarded with information that often contradicts itself. As a busy women myself, I welcome reputable evidence based information that is supportive and accessible whilst I’m on the move. One recent example is becoming a new mother, wow, what an information overload in getting ready for a new life to enter our home. Then once the baby arrives, you completely forget or ignore everything you have read and rely on family and friends for just as contradictory advice… I can say the tools that I did end up using were on my smartphone, applications and websites that were developed based on evidence, helping me understand why I all of a sudden have a screaming child for hours on end.

The POC project is currently underway, the paper materials have been updated and currently developing the interactive online system. Phase 1 of the online system where potential participants can register their interest is now LIVE! In a couple of months time Phase 2, the launch of the program, will occur and the trial will begin – watch this space!

If you want to learn more please visit the website and register your interest to be part of the trial at www.womenswellness.com.au

Otherwise you can always contact me, Lisa van den Berg – Commercialisation Manager at qutbluebox 

What is POC funding?

The bluebox Proof-of-Concept (POC) Fund has been established to enable the development of intellectual property to “proof of concept” and to enhance the ability to achieve QUT’s commercial goal of reinforcing its applied emphasis and securing significant commercial and practical outcomes –social, community or commercial. The success indicator for each investment will be specific, targeted application to measurable commercial milestones. The fund does not operate as a general research support grant.

 

Laminitis Treatment

As Lisa mentioned in an earlier post, the bluebox Proof-of-Concept fund is a great way for bluebox to advance early stage projects where the IP is still being developed and optimised prior to licensing and commercial application  One such project that was recently awarded funding as part of this POC fund is the development of a treatment for laminitis – a common horse disease also known as founder disease.

horse

Laminitis is the most common reason for horse owners to seek veterinary treatment and the second most common cause of death. In addition to horses, laminitis can affect any hoofed animal, including cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. This novel treatment is being designed to be included in the animal’s feed to prevent the onset of this crippling condition.

Currently, the main treatment for laminitis is cryotherapy, which involves standing the horse in buckets of ice water for extended periods – probably much easier said than done! In terms of preventative products, there is one product available in Australia that claims to prevent and manage feed-related laminitis. However, it is not available in several countries overseas due to concerns about the sustained administration of antibiotics to animals. Therefore, if successful, this preventative treatment would be a simple and economical solution for this costly and debilitating condition.

An opportunity exists for industry players to partner with bluebox to further develop this promising technology into a commercial product. Industry partners may wish to engage the technical expertise that exists at QUT to optimise this technology for their specific requirements. For more information, contact:

Erin Rayment – Relationship Manager

New look Immersive Interaction System arrives at QUT

Over the past three years Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed a novel interactive platform, which allows for intuitive direct physical interactions with a digital environment without the need to master a mouse, keyboard or controller.

IIS prototype

The platform has been the recipient of Commercialisation Australia and qutbluebox proof of concept funding which has facilitated a number of crucial advanced towards a commercial ready system. In particular, bluebox in conjunction with a Sydney based Industrial Design firm have produced an innovative system housing for the platform technology. The sleek new design integrates clean smooth lines to offer a polished finish whilst offering a high level of mobility and safety, which is highly desirable in the target educational market setting.

The IIS platform allows whole body immersive interaction and has been initially tailored to fulfill the needs of the early education market sector as well as for children with disabilities. The existing application suite may also be easily built upon to cover market segments such as

• Secondary education

• Corporate training and team building

• Pediatric therapy, assisting in the rehabilitation process;

• Health and fitness, encouraging physical activity;

• Advertising, immersing customers in an interactive environment and

• Disability services, providing previously inaccessible exploratory experiences.

An opportunity exists for industry to partner with bluebox and take this promising technology out into the real world.

For more information, contact

Anthony Musumeci – Commercialisation Manger