Friday, November 26, 2010

Peter Farrell Cup competition RESULTS!!

Mobile phone-based taxi booking and payments platform developer TaxiApps took first place in the 10th annual Peter Farrell Cup Business Plan Competition last Thursday. The event was hosted by the Centre of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) in the School of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at the Australian School of Business (ASB). 

The competition offers teams of students the opportunity to create and develop an innovative business idea,  then present it to a panel of five judges comprising business founders and venture capitalists.

“The whole process, from coming up with idea and then thinking through what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it – the whole thing just gathered momentum and then I started thinking `Hey, we could really do this’ and now it’s just really exciting that we’re going ahead with this,” said TaxiApps team member Ned Moorfield, a student of the AGSM. “The contest really gets you going.”

Dr Peter C Farrell with 1st place winning team, TaxiApps. From L to R:
Trung Nghi Tiet, Ned Moorfield, Dr Farrell and Andrew Campbell
Other winning ideas were: on-site toxic halogenated waste recycling, hangover and osteoporosis medications, and an online social network for casual workplaces.
“I was really impressed at the sophistication of not only the presentations but the ideas themselves,” commented Axelle Marjolin, UNSW student and spectator, at the evening’s events. “I certainly wasn’t expecting so many technical ideas with that much development behind them.”

Judge Gareth Dando, founding Managing Director of Southern Cross Venture Partners, also expressed surprise at the ideas presented, saying, “I’m quite impressed with the calibre of the ideas and businesses [the teams] put together. There are some quite good ideas here, and not just for students.”

Teams were judged not only on their written business plan – which determined, from the initial 25 applicants, who would go on to win one of the ten spots in the finals presentation roster – but also on live presentation and their ability to field questions from a tough judging panel.

“The Peter Farrell Cup is about articulating a business idea, and doing that through a brief written plan and verbal pitch. It provides an opportunity to experience what it’s like to actually have an idea, develop a business model around it, and then solicit interest and feedback about the opportunity from real investors - people who know what they’re talking about and evaluate such opportunities on a professional basis,” said Dr Martin Bliemel, CIE’s Director. 

“Sure, the judges are looking for a unique selling proposition, a clear market and risk analysis, and investment attractiveness, but what else they really want to see is that spark in the eye of the person telling them about it, they want to see that passion for the idea,” he explained.

Dr Peter C Farrell, AM, Founder and Executive Chairman of ResMed Inc, sponsor of the competition, was on-hand to announce the winners and present awards.

Ernst & Young and TiE also sponsored the event by offering full membership with the TiE and attendance at Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year ™ awards dinner to the winners.

A special addition to this year’s competition was the unveiling of the new Peter Farrell Cup competition trophy. Jointly designed by Selena Griffith, Lecturer at UNSW’s College of Fine Arts (COFA), Dr Miles Park, Senior Lecturer in UNSW’s Faculty of the Built Environment (FBE), and Industrial Designer Hugh Worthington (BSc. Design UNSW) of Vert Design in Redfern, the uniquely stylized cup is representative of the “crucible” effect of the competition on rough business ideas that are distilled and concentrated through participation in such competitions.

New Peter Farrell Cup trophies by UNSW's COFA and FBE, and Vert Design

Made from recycled aluminium bicycle tire rims, the outside of the hollowed half-sphere has a roughly mottled surface created by a process called lost-foam casting. As the surface turns the edge from the outside, the level of polish increases until it reaches the centre of the hollow, which is almost a mirror. 

“We wanted it to represent the ideas [in the competition] needing to be polished, and be something of value to hold. The polished texture changes the form, and it looks different and feels lighter as the texture changes,” said Andrew Simpson, Principal Industrial Designer at Vert.

First, second, and third place winners each receive a smaller replica of the Cup engraved with their team name to take home. The original Cup will remain on display at the CIE with the first-place team’s name engraved on the highly polished steel plate on which the trophy rests.  

“Although it’s a long evening with ten 15-minute presentations, the level of activity and networking at the event was tremendous,” stated Dr Bliemel. 

“One participant, Sampath from Solbij, which is a provider of solar chargers for mobile devices, did not make the finals but still came to the event and guerrilla-pitched the judges in their break to demonstrate the massive progress he made since his initial submission. Now that’s taking initiative and being entrepreneurial!” said Dr Bliemel with a laugh.

In addition to the prizes initially offered, the winning teams have also been invited to pitch to more investors at Seed Accelerator’s upcoming Sydney Startup Networking event on 9 December. TaxiApps is also going on to compete in the John Heine Entrepreneurial Challenge in Adelaide, and Solbij has received further advice from one of the founders of Sydney Angels. 

Winners were:

1st place - TaxiApps (mobile phone based taxi booking and fare payment platform)
2nd place - ACIRO (on-site toxic halogenated waste recycling) 
3rd place - OsteoPlus (osteoporosis medication)
4th place - Resaca de Borrachera (hangover cure at the molecular level)
5th place - Shiftr (online social network for casual workplaces)

Winning teams of the 10th annual Peter Farrell Cup Entrepreneurship Competition
For more information please contact the CIE at +61 2 9385 9730.

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