Winning ideas to help drone operators and maths students
A new control device to fly a drone with one hand, and an online maths-tutoring program for high-school students that provides a personalised learning experience, are the joint winners of the IBISWorld 3P Innovation Competition.
The competition gives UTS students the chance to develop and pitch innovative start-up ideas that consider ‘People, Planet and Profit’, with the winners sharing $25,000 in prize money.
“For the first time in seven years, there were two submissions that couldn’t be split, so they both received first prize,” said competition organiser Professor Zoltan Matolcsy from the UTS Business School.
“UTS is a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, and this competition really brings out the best in our students,” he said.
UTS MBA student Annette McClelland founded Tekuma with mechatronic engineering student Michael Griffin to solve the difficulties of flying a drone and operating a camera or other device at the same time.
“It takes a lot of training and experience for one person to both fly a drone and operate a camera – usually you need two people,” McClelland said.
“Michael conceived and researched a solution but wasn’t sure how to commercialise it. I completed the UTS Hatchery Ideate program in 2016 and thought I could help.
“We decided to apply for Hatchery+ (now Hatchery Accelerate) and I made the choice that if we got in, I would quit my job and really make a go of it and see what happens,” she said.
They were accepted into the three-month accelerator program, which provides a workspace, mentoring and seed funding, and have been working on the project full-time since then.
“We’ve had a long year bootstrapping (starting a company with little capital) so it’s really great to win the 3P Competition and get this cash injection, which will keep us going until we can get further investment,” McClelland said.
“We’ve made significant gains in the last year and we have developed the technology well enough now that we can begin creating alpha units and asking investors for money,” she said. Read more about their journey here.
Joint 3P Competition winner Mahya Mirzaei, founder of maths tutoring business Learned Hub, has an honours degree in aeronautical space engineering and a PhD in engineering and IT. She also completed the UTS Hatchery Accelerate program.
“Current online maths programs take a ‘one size fits all’ approach that is not personalised to each student’s learning needs,” Mirzaei told the finals audience.
“During our video lessons students answer questions and then depending on their answer our system identifies the gaps that they have in their knowledge. The video will then teach students those concepts first before continuing on with more complex topics.
“Using our method, our average student has been able to go from a failing mark of 30 per cent to a mark in the 80s,” she said.
Mirzaei fell in love with maths when she was 12 and is passionate about helping others see the beauty of maths and also understand how it can help society.
She recently discussed her start-up journey with the UTS Innovation and Creative Intelligence Unit. Read her story here.
Third place in the 3P Innovation Competition went to Kindershare, an online peer-to-peer lending platform for baby equipment, co-founded by Vanouhi Nazarian, that aims to reduce costs for parents and make travelling with young children easier.
Tekuma and Learned Hub both received $10,000 in prize money, and Kindershare received $5000, through the generous support of competition sponsor IBISWorld, and founder Phil Ruthven.
Experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals also mentored the entrants as they developed their business plans over the three-month span of the competition.
Other 3P finalists included YourTern, a peer-to-peer service to solve airport parking and car hire dilemmas, Your Party Project, to help people hold safe parties in their homes, and Bot Saver, an app that helps detect people trapped in a fire.