The competition is heating up in the latest episode of RiverPitch as we get into the first elimination round where our semi-finalists battle it out for the win.
This week, we catch up with our Brisbane winners from episode 1, Dan Swan of Realar, James Fielding from Audeara, Yasmin Grigaliunas from World’s Biggest Garage Sale and Alex Moss of Canaria Technologies.
With their pitches now fine-tuned, the contestants had to get past the next round of judges, who took a closer look at whether they can combine passion with solid business practice.
Judging the semi-finalists with the help of veteran investor and former Shark Tank co-host Steve Baxter are ACS chief executive Andrew Johnson, ACS president Yohan Ramasundara and Siobhan Hayden, chief operating officer of digital brokerage HashChing.
First to pitch is James of Audeara, back to discuss a set of headphones that can tailor soundwaves to an individual’s level of hearing.
Combining his background in medicine with a passion for music, James says his product can help to prevent hearing loss, which he explains is the leading preventable cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s an issue faced by younger and younger generations due to noise-induced hearing loss. There are one in five teenagers with an identifiable hearing loss and we’ve decided to do something about it,” he tells the judges.
Next in the spotlight was Yasmin and the World’s Biggest Garage Sale, which she dubs the “the TEDx of Garage Sales”.
Pointing to recent work by Virgin founder Richard Branson, Yas says her work is all about “profit for a purpose,” or as she puts it, making money and “saving the planet along the way.”
“In the start-up space, everybody loves a unicorn. Well, we’re a different kind of unicorn, we’re a rainbow unicorn for people, for planet and profit for purpose,” she tells the judges.
Meanwhile, Dan from Realar offers a virtual reality walkthrough of properties before they’re built – a possible boon to the $70 billion off-the-plan real estate sector.
And the judges seemed impressed with the idea.
“Having knocked down and rebuilt myself just in the last 12 months and having a walk-in wardrobe that I couldn’t walk down, I really like what you’re doing,” judge Johnson said.
Finally, we see the new pitch from Alex Moss of Canaria, who blew mentor Steve Baxter away in the first episode.
“Originally designed for NASA,” Moss’ earpiece can predict cognitive fatigue and heat exhaustion to alert people working on dangerous sites.
While her pitch has enthralled the judges, Moss also reveals the emotional toll the work has taken during the development phase.
“Sitting there talking to people who have lost loved ones in their lives, this isn’t just a cool gadget for them, this actually could be life-changing,” Moss explains.
“It’s not ‘oh what kind of cool thing can I get from this what’s my return on investment if I’m purchasing,’ it’s that I don’t want another one of my friends to die.”
Following the round of pitches, the judges had the job of deciding who gets to go through to the next round.
And with four stellar ideas, the judges admit it’s no easy decision.
While Alex and Yas were given top points for the most enthusiastic pitches, the judges are looking for more than passion.
In the end, it came down to scalability, readiness for commercialisation and who they believe can make the biggest impact in the next 12 months.
Congrats to our Queensland finalists Yas Grigaliunas and James Fielding.
Stay tuned for next week!
Full episode coming soon. Catch up on past episodes and guest appearances at www.yourmoney.com.au/riverpitch