In Summary

  • Venture Cup is an annual pitching competition hosted by the Swinburne Innovation Precinct
  • The competition has been running for 20 years and given many startups valuable support
  • This year, twelve early-stage startups will compete for $20,000 in seed funding

Twelve early-stage startups are preparing to pitch their ideas in the hope of clinching the grand prize at this year’s Venture Cup final on Thursday 17 October.

Now in its 20th year, the Venture Cup is an annual pitching competition led by Swinburne’s Innovation Precinct.

Staff, student and alumni who are founders of pre-investor funded ventures are invited to compete for the opportunity to win $20,000 in seed funding plus one-on-one coaching from successful founders.

This year, there are four entries from staff, five from students and three from alumni including:

  • Capsule Vehicles - a two-wheeled electric vehicle designed to carry one person and luggage by alumni Davis Tolley
  • DigitalDetection - a smartphone program that allows users to safely identify chemicals in their environment by student Meaghan Smith
  • Project Milk - a new breast pump design that allows mothers to collect more milk with less pain by staff member Alexandra Sinickas

Opening doors

Last year, Swinburne PhD student and startup co-founder, James Esdaile, won the Venture Cup for Dreamers, an app-based venture that creates personalised sleep plans to minimise jet-lag and improves wellbeing for travellers.

Emergency medicine physician and Swinburne PhD student, Dr Andrew Dyall, was awarded the People’s Choice Award for his startup Bowline Medical, which is developing Cathease Catheter Forceps make inserting urinary catheters safer and reduce infection.

Since his win at the Venture Cup, Dr Dyall has travelled to the United States and was selected by the Innovation Precinct to participate in an incubator program at India’s top engineering institute, IIT Madras.

“In India, I had meetings with clinicians which made me realise the mechanism underlying my device has much broader applications than I initially thought, so I've been actively working on them,” Dr Dyall says.

“In May, I also went to a urology conference in Chicago, where I was able to pitch to several medical device companies and network with other medical inventors in a similar space.”

Dr Dyall says participating in the Venture Cup and winning the People’s Choice Award has opened many doors for him and he encourages startups to enter the Venture Cup.

“Participating in the Venture Cup was a really valuable exercise in distilling down the most important points about the company and being able to communicate them effectively to a lay audience.”

Getting the skills to succeed

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) and Venture Cup sponsor, Professor Aleksander Subic, says the competition both celebrates and supports innovation and startups.

“We are developing and nurturing our international research innovation and commercialisation ecosystem. We want to produce research with impact and be an innovative enterprise,” Professor Subic says.

Innovation Precinct Executive Director, John Morrison, says the Venture Cup is just one of many programs Swinburne offers to nuture entrepreneuship.

“Our Innovation Precinct opens a stage for startups. The Venture Cup, along with our Accelerator Program, Student Ambassador Program, Hackaton, Open Mic nights and Innovation Fellows programs are just some of the ways we are building an innovative culture and supporting entrepreneurship,” Mr Morrison says.

The 2019 Venture Cup takes place on Thursday 17 October and is a free event open to the public.

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