Lenovo and INCUBATE have recognised some of the key achievements of the latest class to undertake the 14-week startup accelerator program at the culminating Demo Day event last night. The big winner was Fluid Education which won the Lenovo Choice award of more than $10,000 hardware.
The event saw a final pitch from each team to three entrepreneurs and an audience of about 200 attendees, to attract funding from potential investors in a tertiary education version of the Shark Tank.
Designed to build support for Australian startup ventures, INCUBATE’s program ensures the partnership between educational institutions and business, fosters talent that can thrive in the digital age.
The accelerator program has backed 48 start-ups so far, enabling them to raise over $5 million in capital with the combined value of the startups reaching $23 million.
Lenovo has supplied technology to all the teams to enable innovative thinking on the go and awarded the Lenovo Choice Award, a package of its high-tech and innovative hardware to the value of $10,000, to the team it felt showed the most promise, arming the team with technology to drive success.
The company has also committed to a long term partnership with INCUBATE.
Lenovo managing director A/NZ, Matt Codrington, said, “After much deliberation, and being truly astonished by the concepts from all the teams, it was Fluid Education that showed the greatest acceleration and innovation during the program and at the final event.
“Having said that, I think we’ll see great things to come from all the participants in this class. At Lenovo, we know our future will be built by the highly creative and capable minds that are continuously pushing the limits of what can be done while they’re still at university.
"We have always supported education and entrepreneurship - INCUBATE is something we feel is critical to encourage those with big ideas to come forward and develop them.”
INCUBATE program manager, James Alexander, said, “Entrepreneurs have a distinct ability to look at how we live day-to-day and identify real areas of pain and the opportunities for change – we have seen this in practice from our mentors who founded successful companies themselves and now with our graduating startups.
“INCUBATE backs these first-time entrepreneurs to help them in their first few months. We know how hard it is building something innovative and trying to sell it to the world, let alone doing it for the first time, so we support our startups with a community of dedicated and experienced mentors, grant funding and co-working space.”
Among the other ventures started by peers in this year’s class, Masood Naqshbandi uses 3D mapping and drones to provide over 400km of imaging and modeling for a major water company through his autonomous inspection and analytics provider, Abyss.
Others chose to look at human services with technology as the backbone. Dr Jay Spence is empowering people in the workplace to access preventative mental health solutions through his online platform, Uprise. The service allows employees to access proven psychological skills from their smartphone with its trial results equivalent to best practice face-to-face therapy while reducing workplace absenteeism by half.
Matthew Mills is looking to defragment the human resources technology industry, having successfully secured a number of partnerships with major platforms including SEEK. Hireflow integrates multiple platforms in the hiring process such as screening and sourcing etc. into one easy to use platform.
INCUBATE is now accepting applications for its next 14-week program that begins in December.