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Waikato students win big at NZ Startup Bootcamp

29 May 2019

RH Innovation took out the ASB Best Startup category.

After 48 hours of innovation and hard work, two University of Waikato teams came out on top of the NZ Startup Bootcamp, each taking home $10,000.

The winner of the ASB Best Startup category was agri tech team RH Innovation.

The team was made up of Waikato students: Rahat Hasan, Tyler Crabtree, Bismarck Simeon, Daniel Blair and Cooper Stephenson.

The students have developed a revolutionary way to measure soil moisture, salinity and fertiliser content, using cost effective sensors to effectively gather information with ease. The information is stored in their database and made available to their clients via the Cloud. This information will later serve as the backbone of their Artificial Intelligence model which will help farmers save money by providing precise information on soil condition.

RH Innovation CEO and Engineering PhD candidate Rahat Hasan says the team’s range of expertise was what set them apart.

“We all met at uni a year ago, and we work really well together. We all have different backgrounds and experience, which fuelled the synergy that made our team so great.”

University of Waikato team Crisis Management took out the Gallagher Best New Idea category. The four students, Namrah Siddiqui Carpio, Callum Macdonald, Chun Ho Tse (Leo), and Jiabao Zhao (Boa) beat out the other nine teams in their category to win $10,000.

Gallagher Best New Idea winners Crisis Management.

Crisis Management’s product, Chameleon, is a gel-based colour changing product that helps to detect gas leaks in industrial-level refrigeration systems and reduce emissions.

Bachelor of Management Studies (Honours) student Namrah Siddiqui Carpio says their product’s real life applications stood out.

“One of the most valuable things we learnt is that it’s really important that your product is solving a real-life problem,” Namrah says. “Refrigeration is one of the leading causes of emissions, so our product is helping to combat global warming.”

The team members were all management school students, but each had a different area of expertise. Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Management Studies (Honours) student Callum Macdonald credits the University’s practical papers with giving them presentation skills and experience.

“A number of our team members have been involved with the big case competition papers, and that gave us the confidence and experience to fine-tune our presentation and communicate our case well,” says Callum. “The judges commented on our pitch quality, and I think that’s a direct result of the some of the experiences we’ve had at uni.”

Both groups will invest their $10,000 into their respective businesses, and plan to launch their products in the near future. They recommend the Startup Bootcamp to anyone who wants to test out a new business idea.

“There were winners, but there are no losers,” says Callum. “It was such a great competition to be involved with, and the networking and experience we got is probably worth even more than the prize money.”

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