On Monday, we saw another outstanding Varsity Pitch Competition Grand Final, in partnership with Tata. Our seven finalists faced stiff competition at this year’s semi-finals as they battled it out to win the grand prize of £10,000.
The business pitches were highly innovative and demonstrated exceptional examples of forward thinking. This was, by far, one of the most challenging Varsity Pitch Competitions ever, as at the opening stage there was no inkling who the winner might be.
Invited guests from all walks of industry, from tech companies to different corporate banks, government departments to PR and design companies, as well as our sponsors, all eagerly looked forward to an afternoon of new and creative ideas, from these young entrepreneurs.
We were delighted that NACUE’s former CEO, Johnny Luk, was able to host the event. Johnny introduced the afternoon by welcoming everyone to our ninth Varsity Pitch Competition, expressing that:
“Every time I attend these, I get motivated, I get inspired, I want to go out there and do something!”
Dr. David Landsman OBE, Executive Director at Tata Ltd, officially opened Varsity Pitch Competition 2018, stating:
“Every year the pitches have been magnificent and hugely diverse. They have an amazing combination of subject matter, domain expertise and business skill and every year it just gets better and better.”
Monday’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated support from NACUE’s supporters and partners. Our gratitude goes to our Headline sponsor Tata Ltd, long standing partner Lloyd’s Banking Group and the wonderful line-up of category sponsors this year, including NatWest, New Beacon Group, Ideas Patch, Ellis IP and ip21.
The pitches were incredible, each idea presented passionately and potentially useful to the market they aimed to penetrate.
Our first pitch was from Adelie Health, who focused on implementing an app functionality within the diabetic industry, aiding easier calculation of medication taken, as well as accumulating other personalised diabetic data. Liam Mc Morrow, founder of Adelie Health, post graduate from the University of Aberdeen, reiterated that: “We are very specific on not adding any additional tasks for people with diabetes, on top of what they already have to do.”
Rowan Minkley’s pitch for Chip[s] Board, was for an eco-friendly alternative to chip board and MDF, made from potato waste, with a mission to “revolutionise the building material industry”, joined by co-founder, Robert Nicoll, graduates from Kingston University, for some tough questing in the Q&A session.
Next to take to the stage, graduating from Imperial College London, was Founder, Bukki Adedapo from Gilassi, who spoke of the world’s first pair of fashionable prescription glasses, that can be adjusted between glasses and sunglasses, with just a tap of the frame.
The duo from Musemio, Kaitlin Fritz, graduate of University College London and Olga Kravchenko, graduate of Kings College London, winners of this year’s Lloyds Online Peoples’ vote, pitched how they aimed to provide children with unrestricted access to arts and culture in museums and galleries around the world, via virtual reality, with the additional benefit that it can be used by schools and parents alike.
Michael Harkins, Founder of Turtle Pack from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, completely blew the judges away with his revolutionary swimming aid for children aged 3 - 6 years old. ‘Bringing children out of their shell’ is the ambitious mission of this exceptional start up and our judges thoroughly agreed that Michael and his team were well on there way to achieving this mission by highly commending them and placing them second overall in the competition.
Post graduate Nawar Al-Zebari, from the University of Cambridge and founder of UroLogic pitched their innovative catheter made from smart materials with a simple design, aiding the recovery of the health issue the patient has without the added threat of a urinary tract infection.
Last but by no means least, was the pitch by Thomas Fudge graduate of Brunel University from WASE, on a mission to provide sustainable solutions to provide sanitation and clean water to everyone who needs it.
Intense deliberation and discussion was held by judges Dr. David Landsman OBE, Tata Ltd, Joysy John from NESTA, Charles Radclyffe from dataPHILOSOPHER and Joanna Derain from Withpr.
Dr. Landsman proudly announced WASE as this year’s Varsity Pitch 2018 winner, saying that:
“They delivered an exceptional pitch and idea, had strong partners and are going to go far.”
When asked ‘What do you hope for the business in a few years to come?’, Thomas’ response was:
“We are hoping that our systems are in rural communities, enabling them to have safe access to toilets and be able to treat the waste water, so they don’t have to worry about it.”
After an intense few months for all involved, the ninth Varsity Pitch Competition comes to its fantastic conclusion and we eagerly look forward to more outstanding brilliance next year. We would like to thank everyone involved and wish all that participated a successful year ahead.