With the UT Challenge 2020 behind us, it is time to look back with the winners. We have asked the teams what their key takeaways are, what tips they have for future participants and about their future plans.
When you look back at the UT challenge journey, what are your key take-aways from the UT Challenge? What was the most important thing you learned?
A lot of key takeaways regarded presentation skills. Deniz (Cenbot BPSI (Cenbot Blood Plasma Stabilization Instrument) explained that he improved his presentation skills, where he found a challenge in compressing the whole project into a one-minute pitch. After practicing, he overcame that challenge. Koen (Awaves) & Hristo (PLAEX) agreed. Hristo added that he also learned the core insights of how to design and present an elevator pitch. Hristo also considered being a part of a networking platform very helpful. He explained that with the UT Challenge Chat function, the students are given the opportunity to improve their product/service and at the same time build a network with potential customers & investors. Jelle (Orbitrary) and Anna (IP Pal) agreed that it is not necessary to know exactly what the end product will look like, because in the end you will figure it out! The most important thing is to be invested and passionate about your project. According to Deniz, the most important part of the challenge is that he and his team learned a lot about the significance of market research. They figured that out after focusing on the technical side of their project too much. Marketing is important to get to know the people in your potential market. Bhanu Teja (LogiXair) thought that the most important aspect they learned is that ‘expressing the idea to people and connecting to them is just as crucial as working on the idea itself!’
Do you have any tips for students taking part in the next year’s edition?
Our winners have a lot of great tips for you! Jelle (Orbitrary) explains: “Passion is the most important thing. If you think you have a good project, even if it’s not fully ready, just go for it.” He urges future participants to be clear and honest on the state of your project, and on where you still need to improve, “Know that everybody is here to help you!”. Hristo (PLAEX) adds that you need to be prepared to be flexible: “Be open and curious to the feedback of the coaches/mentors, the partners and the companies involved in the UT Challenge and make sure to be present at all workshops.” Bhanu Teja encourages you to believe and hold on to your idea/business; “Things will fall into place sooner or later and you will achieve your goals. The UT Challenge trains you to think, act, and perform like an entrepreneur.” Thus a lot of good things come from participating in this challenge! :).
What are your future plans regarding your project?
As for future plans, every project team is ready to take the next step. Orbitrary plans are to build a full-scale prototype and conduct several pilot studies. If those turn out successful, they will start introducing the project on the market. After that, the next step is to find commercial partners for pilot projects, and potential manufacturing partners to make the product. This in addition to further refinement of the business case for Modular. Also, growing the team is another goal. Additionally, Orbitrary won the ASML Makers Award which gains him engineering advice from ASML’s professionals, which is exciting. They also participated in the national finals of the Dutch 4TU Impact Challenge on the 19th of November.
Cenbot BPSI almost finished the CAD model of the device. The next step is about making an MVP (minimum viable product) and testing to discover possible issues. The design will be improved again after that. They also focus on aspects like marketing and are currently trying to find potential customers. On the other hand, they are going to design and produce auxiliary lab equipment to extend their product range.
PLAEX’s plans include funding pilot projects, data acquisition, and then tailoring their product. In the end, they aspire to enter the market. Besides, they took part in the CSU Innovatie Award 2020, and won! CSU cleaning services offers start-ups this platform to showcase their innovations to the world and accordingly, expand and improve their project. To learn more about this award, visit their website.
For IP PAL, the future plans are to make their project as big as possible. They are continuing with their project and are first going to do a number of user tests to check how much people like the current website. Together with this, they are going to look for partners and after that, launch their first official prototype.
Awaves is building a next generation artificial DJ that will be the new wave of global Dutch DJ innovation. They are starting to improve their research and become more state-of-the-art regarding their machine learning models. Meanwhile, they want to iterate the web-app and gather traction.
LogiXair tested a prototype and are optimizing the parameters for an MVP that can be tested in the market to get client feedback as well as serve as a Beta version of the whole idea. They are currently seeking funding and looking for partnerships. LogiXair also participated in the national finals of the Dutch 4TU Impact Challenge last November.
Look at the candidates page to learn more about their projects: https://www.utchallenge.nl/candidates.