Tata Varsity Pitch 2021 Grand Final
On Thursday November 11th, the 2021 Tata Varsity Pitch Competition, powered by NACUE, came to a close with an outstanding Grand Final that saw our 7 Finalists pitch-off for this year’s national title. Headline sponsor Tata Ltd, partners, and members from the wider NACUE community were in attendance, both in-person and virtually, to see these talented young entrepreneurs take the stage.
Our Finalists had already faced tough competition at the Semi-Finals, where they were each selected to represent their category by judges from companies within the Tata Group including Tata Consumer Products, Tata Consultancy Services, Jaguar Land Rover, and Tata Communications.
And the competition only got more intense as they battled it out to win the grand prize of £15,000 equity-free funding to accelerate their business idea. Hosted at IDEA London by Tim Barnes, the afternoon was full of excitement as everyone waited to find out who would be crowned this year’s #TVP2021 winner.
We were delighted to welcome an esteemed panel of judges:
- Tim Jones CBE — Executive Director of Tata Ltd
- Mandy Nyarko — Co-Founder of Startup Discovery School
- Laura Mimoun — Co-Founder of KALEIDO Salad Rolls
The quality of pitches this year was exceptional, with all Finalists demonstrating clear passion and understanding of their problem areas. The judging panel asked challenging questions, providing candidates with the opportunity to further demonstrate their market knowledge and business models.
The first pitcher of the afternoon was Alex Choi from King’s College London, pitching RIIVAL as representative of this year’s Online Peoples’ Vote. RIIVAL had won the most online votes from the public which fast-tracked them to the Grand Final. RIIVAL is an app that helps you find a sports partner based on your location, ability, and interests. The team had this to say about winning the Peoples’ Vote:
“Becoming the winner of the Tata Varsity Pitch 2021 Online People’s Vote has been an honour. As a startup that brings together students, it’s been amazing the exposure that this competition has been able to provide us as well as give us an extra way to engage with our users. We’re excited to connect even more students through sports!”
Beautiful Voice’s pitch followed for the Digital & Technical Category with Jaguar Land Rover with their integrated digital health platform that delivers modern, at-home speech rehabilitation. Beautiful Voice is led by Oxford University PhD student Yun Bing.
Next up was this year’s Ideas Category with Tata Communications showcasing HydroGrow, who are bringing sustainable smart gardens into the kitchen. Co-Founders Arthur Georges and Isaac McNamara are both from King’s College London.
Srijan Jindal from the University of Liverpool was next, pitching PhenUtest for the Genuine Innovation Category with Tata Consumer Products. PhenUtest’s technology enables 30-minute testing for UTI-suspected samples, ensuring patients get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
The penultimate pitch of the afternoon welcomed Moises Barebara Ramos from University of Liverpool to the stage to present Drill Surgeries for the Tata Disruptive Business Category. Drill Surgeries develops medical devices powered through AI and tracking algorithms to eliminate the guesswork in surgeries.
And last but not least, The Washing Machine Project pitched for the Tata Social Impact Category. University of Bath Alumnus Navjot Sawhney and his team are dedicated to alleviating the burden of hand-washing clothes for low-income and displaced persons around the globe.
While the judges discussed, Dian-Jen Lin, founder of TVP2020 winner Post Carbon Lab, spoke to the audience and Finalists about her journey since winning the competition last year.
After tough deliberation, the Tata Varsity Pitch Competition 2021 Winner was announced. The judges proudly announced The Washing Machine Project as this year’s winner. Congratulations!
When asked what winning meant for their business, Founder Navjot replied:
“Winning the Tata Varsity Pitch 2021 has been a dream come true! The competition was tough and we were pitching with some incredible organisations. We’re so thankful that the judges chose The Washing Machine Project and its mission to empower the lives of those less fortunate and give back the dignity of clean clothes to millions of families across the world. We’re looking forward to working with Tata as a strategic partner to help accelerate our mission and get our machines in some of the biggest markets in the world.”
What a fantastic conclusion to this year’s Tata Varsity Pitch Competition. We would like to thank everyone involved and wish all our entrepreneurs all the best with their ventures. We look forward to what 2022 has in store!