What a night – last night’s RG Challenge18 Dragons’ Den event was a huge success! As the room filled up to capacity, there was a tangible excitement in the room. Over 150 young entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, business people and diaspora joined the event to be inspired by this year’s RG Challenge18 cohort and the audience were not disappointed. All 14 start-up pitches were strong and with so many amazing teams, innovative ideas and inspiring pitches, it was hard to choose a winner.
The pitches demonstrated how the innovative start-ups are disrupting markets, overcoming challenges and making a positive difference to the world. Pobuca kicked off the pitches introducing their PobucaBot virtual CRM assistant which helps companies achieve higher sales. We heard from AidPlex, a HealthTech startup which aims to disrupt the orthopaedics sector with their light, easy to apply and recyclable thermoplastic splints. Blakbear introduced their ultra-low-cost portable sensor, which measures air pollution and water quality. We heard how Community Energy River (“CER”) energy sector start-up are working to support 35% of Greece’s population, who are currently unable to keep up with their utility bills and Tekmon pitched their mobile app which helps to connect the 2.5 billion workers that do not use desks or corporate email. Elumium, who have created a mobile app which connects the people who live and work in residential developments, impressed the audience with their reply to the judges question on how their app could be used in the social housing sector and help in emergency situations such as the Grenfell disaster. It was great to hear how Sustainable Food Movement are planning to help tackle food waste in the fine dining sector and Racecheck, who joined RG Challenge after winning our RG YEP Young Entrepreneurs Programme, presented plans for developing their sports events app and scaling up the business. There were so many amazing ideas but there could only be two winners. The audience voted for their favourite first, which was presented by last year’s RG Challenge Audience Award winner, Pushme.
RG Challenge18 Audience Award Winner … RoboTiles
RoboTiles have created a toy that teaches young children programming. Through playing with an innovative toy robot, children interact with tangible and graphical interfaces, developing mathematical and computational thinking thus helping them to learn an essential life skill easier and faster than conventional web based learning. RoboTiles won one week’s incubation in the Avocarrot office in Greece and three sessions with Joelson law consultants. After winning the RG Challenge18 Audience Award, RoboTiles CEO, Dr.Thedosios Sapounidis, who has many times been awarded internationally for his work on tangible programming, said “Taking part in RG Challenge was amazing. It was a journey; we met wonderful people and have made amazing connections – it will give us the power to continue. Every start-up should have this experience!”
Next the top Judges Award, powered by our award partner Charge Ventures, was announced.
RG Challenge18 Judges Award Winner … Entomics
Entomics waste tech start-up transforms organic waste into high value animal feed, using insects as the bioconversion engine. Their innovative business is tackling two massive interconnected problems – food waste (each year 1/3 of all food produced is wasted) and food production (according to the FAO, we must increase food production by 70% to meet population demands by 2050). Using the Black Soldier Fly, Entomics’ technology achieves a cost-effective, scalable and autonomous solution in transforming organic waste into animal feed.
Entomics won a £5,000 cash prize, six months desk space for three people at Central Working in London and three Joelson law sessions. We spoke to Fotis Fotiadis, CEO of Entomics after he won the award and he said “I’m delighted to win the RG Challenge Judges Award. It was a truly amazing experience – it was fun & stressful but in the end rewarding. I enjoyed meeting new people and pushing ourselves to the extreme. All of the mentors really helped us to develop and it was great to work with other startups as we could share experiences and encourage each other. Winning this award is very important for us because of the introductions we will get to investors and for the support we will gain from Reload Greece. What Reload Greece does is amazing, it is really needed for the youth in Greece.”
At the end of the evening Mike Sotirakos, RG Challenge18 Programme Director, said “This year we had many great ideas and we had more mature startups join this year. Over the 11 days all of the startups progressed tremendously, they worked really hard & I’m really proud of them. It was a privilege to work with the teams and I’m sure that they will make a big difference to Greece.”
After the awards were announced, the Reload Greece community took the opportunity to celebrate and network together. As this year’s RG Challenge18 programme draws to a close, the participating startups’ journeys are just beginning. Today we have set up meetings for the RG Challenge startups to meet with investors who have shown an interest in their business and we will continue to support all of the teams as their businesses develop. Watch this space for photos, videos and news reports from the evening – the winners will be featured on SKAI TV on Monday morning.
We would like to thank our amazing RG Challenge18 partners for their ongoing support; in particular the programme Major Donor, ‘Costas M. Lemos Foundation’, Partners ‘A.G. Leventis Foundation’ and ‘National Bank of Greece’ and Award Partner ‘Charge Ventures’. The support of our donors, partners, community partners and in-kind partners is invaluable.