Launch Weekend 2018, which was sponsored by News UK, invited students from across the College to hear from inspirational speakers, participate in entrepreneurial challenges, and fast-track the development of their innovative ideas.
Students formed multidisciplinary teams and got masterclasses in team-working and pitching to help them hone their skills.
The weekend culminated in a competition where teams pitched their business idea to a panel of judges, including Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School, Elena Corchero, a Futurist at video marketplace Unruly, Rob Hedges, Head of Publishing Development at News UK, and Liz Choonara, Head of Community & Programmes at Imperial Enterprise Lab.
First prize was awarded to MED X, which included Woochan Hwang (Medicine), Eva Lin (Business School), Joao Esteves (Aeronautics), Laszlo Gero (Aeronautics) and Mark Aduol (Computing).
They have developed an idea for an app that would allow people to arrange GP visits to their home or workplace. The team say they are aiming to tackle the issue of people not seeking help for medical concerns because of inconvenient GP opening hours or unavailability of GP appointments.
Second place went to JamLabs, developed by Akhil Shah (Business School), Daniel Ringrose (Materials), Dharanjay Jugun (Business School) and Yunxiao Wan (Life Sciences). Their idea is for an interactive learning game for children aged 5 – 12. The game would encourage children to learn about topics such as space, forests, and the ocean in order to solve quests and acquire in-game rare items.
Third place was awarded jointly to two teams. Factuate, which included Chen Gang Goh (Life Sciences), Hia Ming (Bioengineering), Mohammad Pedramfar (Mathematics), and Pierre Gobet Lalanne (Business School), pitched their idea for an online fact-checking community to tackle fake news.
Fellow third prize winners Whereit, which include Ammaarah Hafejee (Medicine), Yousef Al-Riyami (Chemical Engineering), Puru Vigneswaran (Business School), William Nutt (Business School) and Davide Vaccaro (Aeronautics), are developing an outfit planning app that can help users choose what to wear from their wardrobe and suggest new clothing to purchase.
Ben Mumby-Coft, Director of the Enterprise Lab, said: “Our inaugural Launch Weekend was a fantastic success, with over 70 students forming 17 multidisciplinary teams and working through the weekend – expertly coached by a range of industry and alumni mentors – to develop and pitch their ideas to our judges. It’s amazing to see what can be achieved in such a short period of time and we look forward to working with all of the teams over the coming term to move their ideas forward.”
Rob Hedges, Head of Publishing Development at News UK, said: “It was remarkable what the teams achieved in just a couple of days, and I cannot think of a better way for our partnership to kick off. The energy and enthusiasm across the weekend was brilliant and we can’t wait to work with the students again in the near future.”
Launch Weekend 2018 marks the start of a new academic year of entrepreneurship activities from Imperial Enterprise Lab. These include WE Innovate, the College’s flagship entrepreneurship programme for women, and the Venture Catalyst Challenge, a competition which supports deep science and early-stage tech startups founded by Imperial students.