Data-mining start-up Kaggle and drug developer Calpain Therapeutics are among the finalists of this year’s Enterprize competition, which will see one company walk away with $100,000 to get their product to market.
Enterprize is a competition held by the University of Queensland Business School, whereby start-ups compete for the chance to win $100,000.
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The competition typically attracts around 100 applicants but only seven or eight teams are chosen as finalists to prepare for the competition’s pitch day.
Competition has been even fiercer this year, with only five companies chosen to participate.
Calpain Therapeutics is aiming to bring to market a world-first drug to delay the onset of cataracts, while HaystackHQ has devised an online tool for international patent searches.
Cloevis has developed a low-cost chemical mix, integrated with dosing optimisation software, to stop corrosion in concrete sewer pipes and prevent associated odours.
Meanwhile, AquaHydrex has developed a low-cost fabrication technology, enabling effective use of synthetic catalysts to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
This will provide an inexpensive, low-carbon footprint to the petroleum, chemical, food and steel industries.
Finally, Kaggle is an internet hub that hosts global competitions to build protective models. Kaggle posts clients’ data on the hub, specifying how it wants to predict the future based on old data.
The global competition effectively matches the client’s problem to the world’s best analyst, who ultimately wins the competition.
The business was co-founded by economic modeler Anthony Goldbloom, now chief executive, and former McKinsey consultant Jeremy Howard, Kaggle’s chief data scientist.
The company’s third shareholder and chairman is Nicholas Gruen, head of Lateral Economics and a former member of the Productivity Commission.
“The idea is to make data science more of a meritocracy. We want to make it easier for people who are really good to demonstrate their abilities,” Goldbloom says.
Kaggle is a virtual company, with its few employees located in Australia and the United States, although it is planning to relocate to Silicon Valley.
Iain Watson, head of the University of Queensland Business School, says the calibre of entries this year was exceptional.
“I would like to thank and congratulate all the entrants for coming up with business concepts and plans that showed amazing innovation and enterprise,” he says.
“All five finalists demonstrated smart, new ideas and an ability to articulate a vision.”
After submitting their business plans, the finalists will receive support and coaching through UQ Business School.
They will then have the chance to impress the judges at a pitch day in October, when the winner will be chosen, in addition to showcasing their plans to venture capitalists and angel investors.