Pitching can be terrifying, especially to unfamiliar faces. Even accounting for common (and very reasonable) fears of public speaking, asking for something from strangers is a daunting experience.
“I don’t like having a conversation along the lines of ‘Hey I’m Chris, we’ve never met before but you should give me a bunch of cash’,” Germinate member and street food app StreetEats’ Chris Illuk said, before smiling, “my mother would be horrified; it seems really unsubtle and indiscreet to me.”
Luckily, the room of investors, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs at ilab’s pitch night last Wednesday was large enough to dilute the issue, and the casual nature of the event meant teams could simply indicate where they were headed instead of asking for anything directly.
Illuk, who hopes StreetEats will corner the local food truck market, appreciated the balance the night struck.
“This is a great opportunity to speak to a big group of people, and out of a group of a hundred maybe two will get it and know something about that space and add value,” Illuk said. “I met some people who I didn’t even know existed in Brisbane, who have come out of the woodwork and who have done stuff in similar and adjacent markets”.
After three months of validating and building their businesses as part of ilab’s sixth Germinate program, the early-stage startups were ready to take their next leap forward. Each team pitched their idea, journey, research, revenue model and future aspirations, and included show and tell exhibits for one-on-one discussions.
Held for the first time at Customs House, the night was hosted by ilab director Bernie Woodcroft. Speakers included SafetyCulture’s Luke Anear, who discussed his company’s journey to become the most used safety app in the world, and Artesian Capital’s managing partner Jeremy Colless, who spoke on the ilab Venture Fund and how investment models are evolving to match the increasingly democratised startup ecosystem.
Check out our summaries of the startup teams below:
The Problem: Long lines at food trucks, uncertainty over stock for customers and lost revenue for busy vendors.
The Solution: StreetEats lets users order and pay for street food via their app, then tracks the order and notifies users when their food is ready.
Status: They have developed a native app, have partnered with five Brisbane-based businesses, and will officially launch April 16th. Further rollouts are expected throughout the year.
The Problem: Headphones currently offer standardised sound and do not address individual hearing.
The Solution: Audeara makes headphones that “listen to you;” the team of doctors and engineers have developed technology that optimises and personalises sounds to a user’s specific hearing profile.
Status: They have developed a proof of concept and hope to finish a prototype by July. Audeara has also begun talks with the Weinstein Company, JBird and other New York investors.
The Problem: Lost or inaccurate contact information in business databases.
The Solution: InstantContact creates full-detail contacts automatically through email correspondence, and auto-updates address books as correspondence continues.
Status: Currently undergoing beta testing and operating through Gmail; they hope to have 1000 users and expand to Outlook over the next six months.
The Problem: Australians throw away a huge proportion of food products, roughly 40% according to Rumbl’s research, and retailers lose revenue through unsold items.
The solution: Rumbl’s geo-tagging app connects customers with retailers as their surplus food becomes discounted.
Status: They are currently undergoing beta testing and aiming at a hard launch in June.
The Problem: Difficulty in collaborating and tracking changes on spreadsheets, i.e. Microsoft Excel does not offer the editing option of Word.
The Solution: Aimed at the finance and engineering sectors, ModHub integrates with Excel to upload modules to the ModHub library, which are then available for access across workbooks.
Status: They are currently undergoing beta and are looking to implement over the next six months.
The Problem: People don’t have 3D figurines of themselves!
The Solution: AM Shelfie can fix that; their technology takes 3D scans of customers, then manufactures and ships out the models. The initial target markets are fitness and body-building industries.
Status: They are currently surveying customers and building the product, and are looking to ultimately franchise.
The Problem: Travel sites profit from stories shared freely by unpaid writers.
The Solution: Journery shares travel stories and pays writers when consumers then book hotels, restaurants or tours through the stories. The social media platform is aimed at encouraging quality stories but will include sponsored content.
Status: They are currently undergoing beta, looking to launch in May through the App Store.
The Problem: Turbine engines are assembled from multiple, ill-defined components that age and breakdown at idiosyncratic rates, and are in turn expensive to monitor, disassemble and update.
The Solution: Based off machine intelligence technology, EMI Turbine MachineGenes’ mathematical software monitors turbines by reconstructing the engine’s internal dynamics, which provides early warning of anomalies and reduces operational risks and costs (such as unnecessary disassembly).
Status: They have patented their technology, and are about to sign with one of the top three engine manufacturers (GE, Rolls-Royce or Pratt & Whitney; they were unable to disclose which one) and are holding non-overlapping talks with one of the others. Currently looking for engineers and investors.
The Problem: 65% of people with mental illness are not finding help.
Status: After months of collaboration with government, industry and education bodies, the Mindstar team are looking at a national launch in August.