In summary

  • Swinburne’s 2024 Luminate Pitch Night showcased market-ready ideas from 10 founders

  • Five3One, an innovative card game co-founded by Swinburne lecturer Dr Emily Cook and alum Georgie Aiuto, won this year’s Luminate Grand Prize Award

  • The event marked the end of Swinburne Innovation Studio’s six-week Luminate program

A creative card game designed to improve teamwork, personalised desks for hybrid workers, an online tool to help young people manage their finances, and an advanced platform to enhance document verification were among the winning startup ideas at Swinburne University of Technology’s Luminate Pitch Night 2024.

The event was the culmination of Swinburne Innovation Studio’s six-week Luminate program, where 10 founders worked tirelessly to turn their ideas into a market-ready solution. 

At the Luminate Pitch Night, aspiring founders with fresh ideas took to the stage for three minutes, competing for cash prizes.

This year, their ideas were judged by Swinburne’s Dr Werner van der Merwe (Vice-President of Innovation and Enterprise), Helen Baker (Founder and CEO of Xolvit) and Maurice Schill (Founder of Lab42 and Head of Membership Experience at The Product Bus). 

Emily Cook and Georgie Aiuto, co-founders of Five3One and grand prize winners of the 2024 Luminate Pitch Night. 

A creative solution to enhance success in group projects

Five3One, an innovative card game designed to enhance success in group projects, won the Luminate Grand Prize Award of $2,500. The product aims to revolutionise group project dynamics.

Co-founder Dr Emily Cook, a lecturer and STEM educator at Swinburne, said the idea was born from her insights on the recurring issues students face in group projects. 

“Common reasons for team breakdowns are communication failures, unequal distribution of responsibilities and lack of collaboration, all of which lead to poor outcomes,” Emily explains.

Five3One co-founder Georgie Aiuto, a recent physics graduate at Swinburne, encountered these challenges during their studies, noting that group projects are universally disliked among students.

 "Through a series of interactive tasks, players are assigned role cards, which they embody to complete challenges," says Georgie. 

"This encourages players to anticipate and address potential group issues early on, fostering open discussion and effective teamwork."

Navjeet Singh Nayyar, founder of Assure Docs and finalist of the 2024 Luminate Pitch Night. 

Innovative software addresses rise in document fraud 

Navjeet Singh Nayyar, a Swinburne alum, earned the Luminate Finalist Award of $1,000 for his pitch, addressing the troubling rise in digital documentation fraud – including identity fraud, admission fraud, and the proliferation of degree and paper mills.

Navjeet's solution, Assure Docs, combines hashgraph technology – a system that allows computers to communicate quickly and securely – with Artificial Intelligence. The result is an innovative document authentication software that offers real-time verification and a comprehensive audit trail for enhanced security.

"Assure Docs helps organisations reduce risk, increase efficiency, and maintain compliance with regulatory standards,” says Navjeet. 

“This is an essential tool for protecting information in our digital world.”

Gaurav Krishna, founder of The Wealthy Scholar and finalist of the 2024 Luminate Pitch Night. 

Empowering financial literacy: a gamified solution for young people

Gaurav Krishna, a recent Swinburne Bachelor of Arts graduate, took home the Luminate Finalist Award of $1,000 for his pitch aimed at helping young Australians manage their finances.

Gaurav noticed that many teenagers and young adults struggle with financial management, attributing this issue to gaps in the traditional education system. His solution, The Wealthy Scholar, is a gamified learning platform designed to engage and empower students with essential financial literacy skills.

The platform integrates into primary and secondary education structures, providing ongoing support and training for teachers and schools. 

“The Wealthy Scholar offers interactive courses, personalised learning paths, and a supportive community to teach students how to manage, maintain, and create wealth,” says Gaurav. 

“By making financial education accessible and engaging, we aim to equip the next generation with the skills they need to lead prosperous, stress-free lives.”

Lucy Lumi, founder of Moon Milk Bear and winner of the 2024 Luminate Pitch Night People’s Choice Award. 

The power of personalised desk spaces in an era of hybrid work

Lucy Lumi, a Swinburne digital media design alum, pitched to reintroduce personalisation to desks in the era of shared workspaces. Her startup, Moon Milk Bear, offers a range of transferable desk accessories designed to convert shared office areas from impersonal to inviting and inspiring. 

"Moon Milk Bear is dedicated to enhancing the shared-desk experience, boosting workplace motivation, and alleviating stress through creative design," says Lucy. 

“We seek to transform the way we view and interact with our workspaces, fostering a more positive and engaging experience for all.” 

Lucy’s pitch struck a chord with the audience, particularly in light of employers’ ‘back to the office’ drives post-COVID, earning her the Luminate People’s Choice Award of $500. 

Swinburne's  Innovation Studio to support early-stage founders to take their ideas to the next level. 

Swinburne Innovation Studio's dynamic hub for startup development

Run by the Swinburne Innovation Studio, the Luminate Program is committed to fast-tracking the development of startups. It’s one of the programs on offer by the Innovation Studio to support early-stage founders to take their ideas to the next level. 

Abhay Seth, Director of Commercial Innovation at Swinburne, says the Innovation Studio's startup programs are a catalyst, open to the whole Swinburne community.

“If you're brimming with ideas and eager to turn them into a startup reality, the Swinburne Innovation Studio is your go-to,” he says.

“We're here to empower aspiring founders by connecting them with relevant content, opportunities and networks in the vibrant startup community, both locally and internationally.”

Watch a recap of Swinburne’s 2024 Luminate Pitch Night:

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