2018 Startup Weekend Creative Tech Winner Announced
PRESS RELEASE – March 5, 2018
A team of six enthusiastic entrepreneurs took home the winning title at last weekend’s 54 hour marathon Startup Weekend Creative Tech competition.
Solus Health beat out a record number of 46 pitches and was crowned the winning startup before a crowd of nearly 130 participants.
The judging panel appointed by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) was very impressed with the calibre of pitches but ultimately chose the innovative concept behind the Solus Health product.
The company created a shoe sole with built in technology that when finalised, would be able to detect changes in the gait of the wearer’s feet which may help to identify the development of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or dementia.
Project Leader and CoFounder Dr. Eduardo Jorgensen said that he was inspired to create a preventative measure to avoid the late diagnosis of those diseases and went to work conceptualising the device.
“As a medical student I discovered that the process of dementia assessment wasn’t an easy process and very rarely yielded good results. I wanted to create a solution for an earlier assessment model”.
“Diagnosis of dementia often happens far too late and at this stage there’s often very little that can be done to stop it. An earlier diagnosis could mean access to support at crucial stages of the disease’s development to encourage better outcomes for the patient”, says Dr. Jorgensen.
He met one of his co founders through his profession and together they decided to attend Startup Weekend Creative Tech to voice their concerns about the disease and how they could bring awareness to early prevention.
“Diego and I were amazed at how quickly people came to us to collaborate. So many of our team had been impacted in some way by the effects of dementia. We grew a really passionate team who understood the need and saw the vision we had in Solus Health”.
“While we knew what we wanted to achieve, it was always just an idea I’d had. I didn’t have the capability or the resources to do this on my own. Solus Health would not have happened if we hadn’t come to SW Creative Tech”.
“When you have the idea and you want to take it forward, you need support and a nod of validation. People trusted us to do this and together we just threw everything into those very intense 54 hours – the outcome has been extraordinary”, says Dr. Jorgensen.
The startups were assessed by a panel of five judges who were looking for something special across three key criterias including validation, execution and the design of the business model.
CEA’s Acting CEO Mark Gustowski said that the team stood out above the field owing to their drive to solve a ‘real world problem’.
“The team had an incredible vision to better our community and demonstrated that they were able to validate their market opportunity not just nationally but internationally”.
“They formed a well rounded team with deep domain knowledge spanning hipsters, hackers and hustlers and showcased a standup pitch that received an almost unanimous vote from our judging panel”.
“Without our judges, partners and sponsors, this event would not have been possible. Thank you to Professor Margaret Sheil AO, Brett Chenoweth, Michelle Eastwell, Cole Wilkinson and Garry Visontay for supporting our startups through their panel feedback and advice”.
The winning teams across the weekend took home a prize pool of tech swag and in-kind services valued at more than $30,000. This was comprised of business development services and tickets to major festivals including The Design Conference. Other major contributors to the prizes included Pitcher Partners, QUT Business School, HopgoodGanim Lawyers, Digital Brisbane, Red Bull, BOP Industries, Optus Innov8, Changer Studios, Free Space VR, Myriad, Future Business Council, Future Business Generation, Vivo and OQCE.
As for the future of Solus Health, Dr. Jorgensen says that their next steps is to work out how the team will split responsibilities and resources and to source more strategic partnerships to drive their business forward.
“It’s clear we’re doing something important as people keep approaching us for information and investors have said that they’re keen to follow up. It’s a very exciting time”.
The 2018 winners have already received support from the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, received a letter of intent from a Spanish hospital and engaged an Australian medical entity that has expressed interest in collaborating.
*Image courtesy of Nicholas Sterkenburg Creative
Photo caption: Solus Health – Dr. Eduardo Jorgensen, Diego Peinado, Jose Vicente Lobo, Lexi Crouch, Kimberley Daveson and Leo Fairclough. CEA’s Executive Team – Acting CEO Mark Gustowksi, Investment Fund Manager Shelli Trung and Executive Manager, Finance and Operations Gail Lemon.
About Startup Weekend Creative Tech:
CEA has teamed up with Techstars to bring you Startup Weekend Creative Tech. This Australian only event specialising in creative tech is a 54 hour collaboration that brings together designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts to do amazing things.
The model is tried and true – it’s been run more than 3,000 times worldwide. All attendees are encouraged to pitch their startup idea and get feedback. Teams are then formed to work on the top voted ideas and embark on a ‘three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation’. The weekend finishes with participants pitching their startups to local entrepreneurs and investors.