[Video]The first ever Start Up Weekend to be run on the Sunshine Coast has been deemed a resounding success with over 40 people pitching their start up business ideas in front of 140 spectators on Friday night, with 17 teams forming and launching 17 of the Sunshine Coast’s newest businesses inside just 54 hours.
The teams survived the 54-hour event (assisted by a lot of coffee and 14 highly experienced business mentors) pitching their final business propositions to a panel of 4 esteemed judges on Sunday night. VR Smart View was announced as the winner of over $15,000 in prizes as well as a range of discounts and other items through Start Up Weekend’s global program, rewardli.com.
VR Smart View is a head mountable display case that utilises the smartphone as a mobile immersive media device. Users can slot their smart phone into the headset, which the team are anticipating will retail for as little as $100, and thereafter enjoy 3D movies, games or engage in other smartphone related activities on a huge screen, hands & cords free!
The VR Smart View team included 3 students from the University of the Sunshine Coast –Wilfrid Watson-Russell (Bachelor of Business & Art), Ben Lowe (Bachelor of Journalism), and Danum Harris-Lusk (Bachelor of Business Marketing & a minor in Entrepreneurship), Stephen Maher (owner of Metaweb a web and digital marketing company) and industrial designer, Neil Waldbaum.
Judges said the idea had the most commercial potential, in a market which is extremely hot right now following the sale of the Oculus Rift to Facebook for $2bn earlier this year, and they were impressed by the fact that the team had developed a 3D printed proto-type, secured $450 in sales, and a potential multi-million dollar distribution deal, all in the course of the weekend.
Incredibly an 11 year old girl from Brisbane, Lili Haigh-Neale came second in the hotly contested competition with her app targeted at 10-15 year olds called IdeallyNow, Layover were announced third and My Shift Match were awarded an honourable mention.
Aaron Birkby, co-founder of Silicon Lakes & lead organiser of Start Up Weekend Gold Coast, who has been involved in six Startup Weekends across Australia and the US, says he believes that the Sunshine Coast achieved the largest start up weekend event outside of a capital city in Australia.
“This weekend has exceeded all other events I have been involved in, particularly being the first one that has been held here, and in terms of the number of spectators, number of participants and the caliber of ideas and outcomes. The participants, mentors, organisers and sponsors should be very proud of themselves,” he says.
CEO of the Innovation Centre Mark Paddenburg says the event, which was a joint initiative of the Innovation Centre and University of the Sunshine Coast School of Business, has facilitated an enormous amount of momentum and networking within the fast growing startup & technology eco-system on the Sunshine Coast.
“The Sunshine Coast has a number of exciting initiatives which will continue to drive this movement including the development of a digital strategy, the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast and USC’s School of Business programs, as well as several networking groups.”
A debrief event for Startup Weekend participants and anyone else interested in joining the movement will be held in the next few weeks. To express your interest in hearing about upcoming events and news related to the growing Sunshine Coast startup & tech eco-system, go to: http://goo.gl/47ZyzI or follow the social channels on https://www.facebook.com/SWSunshineCoast and @SWSunshineCoast(twitter).