The Swinburne Venture Cup debuted its first ever international cohort this year.
Hosted by the Swinburne Innovation Precinct, the annual pitching competition for Swinburne’s most innovative start-ups featured nine teams from Melbourne, Sydney, Sarawak and Hanoi.
The event drew its largest audience yet – with 377 attendees from 14 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Italy, Turkey and USA.
“Our 2020 cohort represents the best of Swinburne’s ingenuity and the force for good that our entrepreneurs and researchers can be,” said Lisian Teh, Director of Commercial Innovation Programs at Swinburne Innovation Precinct.
From tracking and reducing carbon emissions to helping victims of domestic violence, this year’s cohort of start-ups was a diverse pool of exceptional founders working to solve the most pressing problems in society.
Among the ideas were circular economy solutions – such as kitty litter made from recycled diapers – and health-tech products like Cue Sleeve, a mechanical sleeve that provides hand eye-coordination training for people with visual disabilities.
In addition to pitch coaching, participants stand to win a grand prize of $20,000 in seed funding to grow their start-up idea.
Melbourne dance start-up wins top prize
Bringing home the trophy this year was Burn Nation, a Melbourne-based start-up.
Their online dance and fitness platform connects users with world class dancers for dance tuition, boasting an international business model that provides massive job creation in this pandemic-era.
“I applied for the Venture Cup to learn something new and to challenge myself in an area I never thought I could succeed in,” said Jorja Freeman, co-founder of Burn Nation.
“Winning the Venture Cup has changed my entire year and I walk away feeling so grateful, proud and motivated to see what is next!”
Hubridy Company, a start-up based in Sarawak, Malaysia, won the People’s Choice Award.
Hubridy, the first participant from Swinburne’s Sarawak campus to pitch in the Venture Cup, provides quality accommodation for international students studying in Southeast Asia.
“We are delighted to be the People’s Choice of the night,” said Alvin Lee, co-founder of Hubridy Company.
“Knowing that the audience loves what we do and seeing this validation has given us an extra confidence boost.”
During the evening’s broadcast there was representation from across Malaysia – Kuching, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru and a wave of support for Mr Lee and all the Swinburne founders.
Ms The says it was especially exciting to see such a strong and positive response from the Swinburne community in Malaysia.
“We want to build on this momentum and continue to grow and support our global community of Swinburne founders.”