Pycap Venture Partners had the pleasure of attending Startup Network’s annual Unicorn Cup, the largest global pitch competition. Pycap was invited to the 2020 competition to sit on the international judging panel. A culmination of finalists from Startup Network’s Unicorn Battles, start-ups competed locally in person in late 2019 and early 2020, and in light of the pandemic, some local competitions pivoted to an online format starting in March 2020.
Winners of the local Unicorn Battles progressed through to the finals, The Unicorn Cup, competing against start-ups from across the globe. The event streamed live in 67 countries with thousands of viewers tuning in.
The Unicorn Cup took place over three days in three time zones to accommodate judges in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Representing Pycap, senior consultant and strategy manager Kristen Ferkranus joined the Unicorn Cup judging panel on the American Day.
Each day, the 51 finalists had 5 minutes to pitch their offering and company, as well as field questions from the judging panel. The purpose of the pitch was to convince the judges in the viability of the idea and the strength of the team. As a rule of the competition, direct investments were not solicited from the judging panel and finances were not discussed. The start-ups were encouraged to integrate feedback from the Q&A sessions and make modifications to their pitch before presenting to the next group of judges the following day in the new time zone.
Start-ups ranged from medical devices, to sustainable textile manufacturing to AI driven insurance providers. Judges were asked to rate each pitch from one through five, with a score of five being the most worthwhile for investment. The winner of the American Day who received the highest rating for the day was the start-up Biosolvit. Hailing from Brazil, Biosolvit created a technology to absorb oil spills and other derivates and is the only product that allows for the reuse of the spilled oil.
Totalling the votes from the Asian, European and American days, the following companies took home third, second and first place in the Unicorn Cup Finals:
Third Place: H3 Dynamics
Originating in Singapore, H3 Dynamics offers autonomous expert safety inspections and performance monitoring of dangerous and complex structures or sites through AI processing on cloud, using raw data collected by sensors and cameras on cellphones, aerial drones, and ground or marine robots.
Second Place: Biosolvit
First Place: Submer NextGen Datacenters
Founded in Spain, Submer developed a highly efficient, ultra-dense and eco-friendly, computing immersion cooling technology that saves 50% of this electricity, 85% of the real estate, and it can be placed anywhere, even without the expensive buildings.