What a week! This past Wednesday, November 16th, NACUE hosted the Grand Final event which brought the 2022 Tata Varsity Pitch Competition to an exciting close. We saw our 7 Finalists pitch-off for this year’s national title, giving their all to present their businesses and best demonstrate their opportunity and traction. Headline sponsor Tata Ltd, partners, and members from the wider NACUE community were in attendance 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 ideas. Hosted at Six Park Place, home of the Royal Over-Seas League, the afternoon was full of excitement as everyone waited to find out who would be crowned this year’s Tata #VP2022 winner.
We were delighted to welcome an esteemed panel of judges:
● Tim Jones CBE — Executive Director of Tata Ltd
● Kay Kukoyi — Founder of Purposeful Group
● Lauren Bell — Founder of Cosi Care (Tata VP2019 Winner)
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 Finalist of the afternoon Gaëlle Chatelard, from Oxford Brookes University, pitching Ethosa as representative of this year’s Online Peoples’ Vote. Ethosa had gathered the most online votes from the public, which fast-tracked them to the Grand Final. Ethosa is revolutionising the way people produce and consume beauty & personal care products, reinventing the shower category with waterless products in powder format. The team had this to say about winning the Online Peoples’ Vote:
“We are incredibly happy to be the Online Peoples’ Vote Winner of Tata Varsity Pitch 2022; we’ve been overwhelmed by the outstanding support we received not only from our network but from all the people that voted for us. This is a real testament to our mission, and what ETHOSA are standing for: we’re really proud to see that more and more people want to be a part of our journey; ultimately be a part of the change we’re driving in the Beauty & Personal Care Industry. Together, we will make a huge positive impact. Welcome to the Waterless Revolution!”
Fibe pitch followed for the Tata Early Stage category, presenting how they produce textile fibres from potato harvest waste, cutting environmental impact without compromising garment quality or cost. Founders David Prior Hope (CTO), Idan Gal-Shohet (CEO), Hazel Gonda (CCO) and Premal Gadhia from Imperial College London.
Next up was this year’s Creative & Design Category with Tata Consultancy Services showcasing REALITY who create 3D printed mono-material footwear automatically generated from a 3D foot scan to provide optimal fit and reduce CO2 emissions. Founders Shafae Ali and Alfie Mcmeeking are from Imperial College London.
Daniel Horborne from Cardiff University was next, pitching Route Konnect for the Digital & Technical Category with Jaguar Land. Route Konnect provides anonymised vehicle and people movement insights, the first computer vision company to develop an anonymised alternative to facial recognition.
Next we saw BoxxDocks for the Genuine Innovation Category with Tata Consumer Products. Through the design of smart, collapsible logistics boxes, BoxxDocks allows clients to economically package, increasing operational efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and slashing the shipment price of air. From University College London, Alessandro Attanzio, Amarjit Pall and James Della Valle, co-founded BoxxDocks.
The penultimate pitch of the afternoon welcomed Moises Barbera Ramos from University of Liverpool to the stage to present Drill Surgeries for Health & Wellbeing with Tata Communications. Drill Surgeries develops medical devices powered through AI and tracking algorithms to eliminate the guesswork in surgeries.
And last but not least, Himayat for the Tata Social Impact Category. University College London student Anushka Desai and her co-founders Arya Diwase and Riya Patil are creating a digital benefits and human resource management platform supporting female domestic workers and their employers in India.
Tata Varsity Pitch 2022 Winner
While the judges deliberated, Navjot Sawhney, founder of The Washing Machine Project and last year’s winner, spoke to the audience and Finalists about his journey since winning the competition last year.
After tough deliberation, the Tata Varsity Pitch Competition 2022 Winner was announced. The judges proudly announced Drill Surgeries Ltd. as this year’s winner. Congratulations!
When asked what winning meant for their business, the founder Moises Barbera Ramos replied:
“Tata Varsity Pitch is one of the most challenging startup competitions in the UK so, I couldn’t be more humbled to be this year’s winner. Since I launched Drill Surgeries in my dorm at university, with a vision to Improve Healthcare through AI, back in 2019, we have grown to be 7 people in the team, have secured the support of INNOVATE UK and other investors, we have our own offices and we will start trials in patients in the next couple of months. We have worked really hard to position ourselves as the leading company creating real-time surgical navigation through AI, and thanks to the support from Tata Varsity Pitch, we are closer than ever to bring this technology to market, reduce operating time by 75%, radiation by 60%, costs to hospitals and recovery time for patients.”
WIRED Award Winner
This year’s Final also saw the introduction of the #VP2022 WIRED Award winner, in partnership with WIRED Magazine. João Medeiros, Features Director, presented the award. Congrats to BoxxDocks who won this year’s recognition.
Upon receiving his award, James Della Valle said:
“The whole team at BoxxDocks is thrilled to receive the WIRED Award as part of Tata Varsity Pitch 2022. As we prepare for our exciting next round of investment in early 2023, this Award is another major milestone for our bold vision to deliver a flexible, real-time tracking and sustainable box solution and create a new industry standard for the logistics supply-chains globally.”
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 2023 has in store!
Want to take part in Varsity Pitch Competition 2023? Join our newsletter here to be the first to know when the competition opens again.