unsw

Fintech startup Dime was yesterday announced as the winner of UNSW’s Startup Launch pitch night. The night saw a diverse range of student startup ideas from social and pure business platforms, to fintech and foodtech. Students embarked on a fast-tracked startup journey where they built teams and ideas into viable prototypes within in less than a month.

The UNSW Innovations team received almost 70 video applications from a range of students or recent alumni with backgrounds in marketing, engineering, science and finance looking to take part.

From those applications 25 students were chosen to develop their ideas, which were pitched in front of a panel of judges including Walta Kazzi, investor and entrepreneur, James Smith, managing director of Masters Academy, Melissa Ran, cofounder of China Ambition, and Shahe Momdjian, director at Young Wisdom.

“The purpose of the program is to give students who are interested in entrepreneurship the opportunity to experience it for real. The idea is to create real startups and give them a taste of what it’s like to run their own businesses,” said Joe Allen, Associate, Student Entrepreneur Development at UNSW Innovations.

Among the products and services pitched on the night Dime was a clear standout, working with concepts and technology in the most innovative way. They were clearly a crowd favourite, receiving applause and audience gratification half-way through their pitch.

Dime is a fintech startup that has created a platform to facilitate the exchange between AU and Yuan, using bitcoin and blockchain’s distribution database to save people the money they typically pay big banks for these types transaction.

With a team of four students, one of which was a former intern for Bitcoin, Dime took out first prize, a $3,500 grant from student union ARC and UNSW Innovations Alliance MVP Grant Fund, and a two hour workshop with Deloitte valued at $2,500. The workshop will provide the team with shared experiences from industry leaders on a range of topics including compliance requirements, how to scale, and common pitfalls to look out for when developing a business strategy.

Allen said he was exceptionally happy with the performance of all the teams. “They had 25 days essentially to build their startups and form their pitches. So it started with 30 individuals meeting each other and coming up with an idea and forming teams. A lot of them only settled on an idea on day 15, so they only had 10 days to produce what they did.”

“What they were able to produce in a short time is really exceptional and we’re very proud of them for that. In terms of the quality of pitches, we were very impressed,” he added.

Coming in second and winning $1,000 in funding was Fresco, a healthcare food services partner that provides hospital patients with an alternative menu, sourced from local chefs. The startup has already partnered with an established hospital food service.

Third place and $500 was awarded to Keyhub, a physical key sharing solution for companies like Airbnb to securely store and transfer keys between guests and hosts. Keyhub provides a secure box located at the nearest restaurant or convenience for guests to retrieve upon arrival.

A special app award from FounderLab was presented to HangThyme, a social media platform that finds date ideas for couples. The award will help the startup to create and further develop their MVP.

The key focus of the Startup Launch program is teaching student entrepreneurship and putting their skills into practice outside the classroom. On the night each group proved the market potential for their product and or service by showing research they had collected in the real world. Some startups had already formed partnerships with existing businesses and others had engaged interest within their community.

Startup Launch 2016 partnered with Deloitte, Innovations Alliance MVP Fund and FounderLab, who provided the program with grants, mentoring services and workshops.

After the program Allen says UNSW Innovations team will continue to support the startups and help them to further grow and build their ideas.

Image: Startup Launch pitch night. Source: Supplied