Monash University Fastrack
The Monash University Fastrack program is in full swing, with eight dynamic teams from diverse backgrounds making remarkable progress halfway through the year. It was all about demonstrating their initial prototype and stories of pivoting to get there.
Fastrack is a 24-week entrepreneurship and innovation program that sees 30 of Monash's top students form cross-disciplinary teams to solve real-world challenges.
These teams, driven by innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, last night at Monash University had the opportunity to present their ideas and achievements to industry experts. Ashleigh Camm from Luna Marc Teichtahl and Jasmine Koh from "Frank" Hall & Wilcox., who all have a wealth of experience in the Innovation, Product, Legal and Start-Up spaces, provided invaluable feedback to the teams.
Let's take a closer look at the incredible journey of each team and the exciting developments they've made so far.
Veggie Next Door
With an impressive presentation, the Veggie Next Door team captured the attention and received constructive industry feedback about their approach and the problems they are solving.
The team's focus on incorporating feedback and their enthusiasm for the future holds great promise, leaving us eagerly anticipating their next steps. They are trying to solve two problems: 7.6 million tonnes of food waste each year whilst addressing the issue that 95% of children are not getting enough of their daily nutrients via vegetables by taking 'ugly' vegetables and creating nutrient powders that can be infused into other food dishes and recipes.
Emurge has made a fascinating pivot away from just being another fitness App after engaging with various gym owners and customers. Making the smart decision to navigate from the crowded general fitness app market to focus on a niche area of emerging athletes, a third of whom retire early due to strength and conditioning issues.
Their thought-provoking presentation showcased deep problem analysis and data-driven insights into why emerging athletes get injured and retire early. The team's engagement with coaches and market research sets a solid example for others in defining their product > market fit.
Industry feedback emphasized the need for clarity on differentiation, value proposition, and integration with other technologies, such as AI.
The Nude Bar
The Nude Bar team is committed to engaging customers through continuous prototyping and iteration. Their vision for providing clean and healthy eating options was well received.
The Industry feedback highlighted questions regarding market size and the team's potential involvement in the educational process. Additionally, leveraging social media and specifying initial customer segments were suggested for greater market access. Can't wait to try their next round of samples.
With a highly charged presentation, LOCO showcased its passion and a high-fidelity prototype for bands, artists and musicians to make a start. The team's pivot towards promoting bands and venues using Instagram as a single marketplace impressed industry experts.
While still in the early days, feedback from the industry crew emphasized the need for a clearer pivot and value proposition through recommendations and exploration of additional revenue streams beyond ticketing. I can't wait to see my first band that has been booked via their solution.
Sugar Cane Juice
The Sugar Cane Juice team shared their journey of exploration and successfully pivoting, focusing on introducing sugar cane juice as a healthy alternative to soft drinks. Feedback from industry professionals was intrigued by the concept and questioned how the team plans to differentiate themselves in the market.
I can't wait to test their first batch.
Addressing the challenge of planning birthdays for parents, Plan My received industry feedback that found their idea interesting. However, concerns were raised about the size of the market and the need to excel in one area before expanding.
Monetization strategies and the viral potential of the solution were also discussed, with competition potentially limiting growth into other areas. They are looking to help organise as many of the 1.8 million children birthday parties held each year.
The Big Brain team aims to revolutionize private tuition by providing an interactive, structured and enjoyable platform for both the tutor and student. Their organised, high-quality presentation outlined their plan to engage 100 students and develop an app that could be used in a Beta form for further testing and enhacement. Industry experts praised the prototype while encouraging the team to differentiate from learning management systems. Feedback also suggested exploring potential connections to mental health and expanding the scope of their solution.
I am really looking forward to where the team can take this opportunity.
Barely Milk presented a left-field approach to tackle Australia's carton waste issue in the plant-based milk industry. 250 million plant-based milk cartons are not recycled each year even though customers thin they can be. Their presentation impressed the industry panel with its depth, honesty, and compelling storytelling through video and other clever forms of communication. Industry feedback emphasised the need to consider packaging options to enhance recycling and highlighted the potential of powdered plant-based milk as a sustainable solution.
A tight group that is ready to go to the next stage and I can't wait to have my first Barely Milk Soy Latte.
The journey of these eight diverse teams participating in the Monash University Fastrack program is nothing short of inspiring. Each team has made significant progress, leveraging industry feedback to refine their ideas and strategies.
As they move forward, their passion, creativity, and ability to address market needs will undoubtedly shape the entrepreneurship landscape in their respective fields of interest. I, for one will eagerly await the next chapter in their entrepreneurial journeys, eagerly anticipating the impact they will make in their respective industries.
About the Author
Adam Ryan is a Professor of Practice (Adjunct Professor) at Monash University and is a principal at Watkins Bay. Adam has over twenty years of start-up experience in Australia and the USA. An expert in Company Structuring for Innovation, Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Capital for early and growth-stage businesses.
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