Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peter Farrell Cup winning team Pluvision takes 2nd place at Idea2Product Global in Sweden!

This blogpost courtesy of Niklas Olsson, UNSW exchange student from Sweden and founder of The Entrepreneurial Chase.

As a finalist in the Idea to Product® Global Competitions (I2P), Pluvision is a truly international team – members are from China, France, Korea and Sweden. Eric Wei, inventor of a new generation of eye drop technology, and Niklas Olsson represented Pluvision in the I2P Global Competition in Sweden. 

Held for the first time outside of Texas, I2P is a competition in the commercialization of innovation aiming to fill the gap between university research and business plan competitions. This year, 18 teams competed in three parallel championships: ICT, Energy and Life Science. 

As the first Australian finalist ever, Pluvision represented UNSW and the Brien Holden Vision Institute. It was with great excitement that we accepted our spot, something that turned around quickly as we were told that the airfare would have to be funded by ourselves. All other teams had won intensive pre-round competitions like I2P Africa or I2P Europe and had been funded by their respective universities. With only two weeks to final acceptance this called for a serious hat round.  

As the University unfortunately did not have such a trip in their budget, we raised the money ourselves. Cold calling soon created quite a long list of “No, I am sorry” and we realized that something different had to be done. By creating media buzz and awareness around this recognition of Australian innovation we managed to get the Brien Holden Vision Institute interested enough to sponsor the trip. Excited as ever, we went to represent the institute, UNSW and Australia in a final competitor field that spread across five continents and nine countries.  

I2P is about remarkable innovation and how it is to be commercialised. So those 10 slides of financials were not really useful, but instead we focused on what is most important in any business: What is the market pain you are solving and how are you doing that better than anyone else? Something that is unfortunately forgotten nowadays in the “back-of-the-credit-card” era of trying to find problems for ideas.  

Stepping out of the airport, trading 33 degree Australia for 3 degree Sweden, turned the system on, almost like boxers smelling ammonium before the big fight. Competition in the Life Science track included a nano-mesh product for surgery, an herb-based soap, a psychology-based make-up treatment and an effects indicator used at the early stages of drug development. Two had working prototypes, all but one multiple patents and one even had four PCTs filed. How on earth, in terms of feasibility, did we stand a chance? Well, we had two things that we were sure of: We knew the pain we were solving and we knew that we were doing so in a fundamentally different way.  

The competition was divided in two rounds, the first giving you feedback and the second being the final you were judged upon. The first pitch was, despite well-rehearsed, not spot-on and some major changes kept us up very late. The judges seemed pleased with the revamped version and did not even use up the full Q&A time. Either a very very good sign or a very very bad sign, our fingers were crossed for the former. Something that didn’t make us less nervous, what a fail to travel all the way and come back empty handed! 

"Second place to another innovation involving the human physical properties, more in the eye area … PLUVISION!”   http://www.ideatoproduct.org/global/

Inner joy and pride straightened our spines. As inaugural ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurs Week in Australia we had put Australian innovation on the global map. A big Thank You to Brien Holden Vision Institute, the CIE, friends and the entrepreneurial community who made us compete with such confidence. We are proud to be a part of something big growing in Australia, something creative and something exciting.

We are pleased to confirm Ernst & Young and RosesOnly as sponsors of the CIE. We would like to thank the Farrell Family Foundation and Gary Zamel for their generous donations. We also acknowlege the continuing support of the Australian School of Business. All of our sponsors help provide the means to host networking events, award prizes, and reimburse our suppliers and service providers. In exchange, these donors receive good karma and public recognition as supporters of innovation and entrepreneurship. To become a sponsor of CIE and support our community engagement activity, please contact us at cie@unsw.edu.au.

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