By Erika Menezes

Curious about this year’s Deakin Start Competition

Here’s everything you need to know from this years’ Competition, from Round 1 to Showcase Night results, to insights from the Top 8 finalists. 

How it went: Showcase Night Results

The Deakin Startup Competition officially wrapped up in October, where the 8 finalist teams pitched their startups to a panel of judges at Showcase Night after 8 weeks of workshops, masterclasses and mentorship.

At the end of the night, the winners and awardees were announced. They were:

Student Stream winner

MOBIT – Lachlan Carboon

Staff/Alumni Stream winner

Eazilee – Rebecca Scott

Student Stream Runner up 

Measure Up – Casey Brimble

Staff/Alumni Stream Runner up 

Deconstructing Diabetes – Cam Johnson

Strong Founder Award

Confidante Apparel – Charlotte Read 


How it started

The SPARK Deakin team was blown away by the Startup Competition’s inaugural cohort. 

Round 1 began in August, with SPARK Deakin receiving 300+ EOIs and 50 applications submitted from 97 Founders. Of them, 29 applications remained after 15 workshops and masterclasses with expert guests and facilitators. 

The judges in Round 2 had the unenviable job of determining the top 8 teams, with each team passionately pitching their startup and explaining how it would positively impact their customers and society. 4 teams were selected from the Student Stream and 4 from the Staff/Alumni Stream. 

The 8 startups chosen were: 

Confidante Apparel – Charlotte Read

A discreet underwear brand, centred on providing support, awareness and confidence for young people as their bodies develop and change.


Deconstructing Diabetes – Cam Johnson

An online telehealth service for the nutritional management of diabetes giving people the confidence to manage their diabetes. The services include meal planning, organisation, daily checklists, and support to help make dietary changes part of everyday habits and lifestyles.


Dry But Wet – Amy Armstrong 

Normalising non-alcoholic drinking in Australia, so everyone can enjoy a positive and inclusive drinking experience. Connecting customers with the best quality non-alcoholic drinks suited to their tastes using extensive knowledge and expertise in the sector; helping them stay on track with health goals and enjoy a social and rewarding life, sans alcohol.


Eazilee – Rebecca Scott 

Helping you and your loved ones find the right technology to solve the challenges you face today and in the future. Eazilee brings together trusted validated experience and expertise, so the Adaptive community can discover, review and manage the AT they need to live life… Eazilee.


Full Care Lifetime – Rambir Singh and Divya Kapoor

Supporting individuals with disabilities to live comfortable independent lives through quality lifestyle and wellbeing services. Full Care Lifetime seeks to empower indigenous communities, refugees, and people based in rural and regional areas.


AllStudent – Justin Olive

A learning design system positioning individual students’ learning preferences and abilities as the central point of learning design and assessment. Guided by student demand, AllStudent progressively unifies desired features into one system, removing education barriers.


Measure Up – Casey Brimble, Marcus Amor-Smith, Alessio Bonti & Manas Kumar 

Using AR and VR technologies to bring the confidence of in-store shopping experience online, allowing users to virtually try on garments and receive accurate and trustworthy sizing, styling and fit suggestions.

MOBIT – Lachlan Carboon

Providing high school students with a digital solution to effectively moderate phone usage in learning environments. The application blocks distracting features, but retain access to classroom-appropriate features allowing students to reach their full potential in an academic setting.



Everyone’s a Winner on Showcase Night

Showcase Night was a celebration of all the finalists’ achievements since they started this 3-month journey. SPARK Deakin believes, and through this Competition imparts, that identifying progress and recognising professional and personal wins are all part of the learning process and an entrepreneur’s journey.

“This competition isn’t about winning, it’s about celebrating your business and learning from people who can help you grow along the way.” – Rebecca Scott, Eazilee. 

It was clear from the pitches delivered on Showcase Night that every founder was a committed and capable entrepreneur ready to take their businesses to the next stage of their journey; which was the Competition’s true goal, beyond the prizes and awards. 

I entered the Competition with an idea that’d been in the back of my head for years, and I came out of the competition 3 months later with a fully-fledged business model, product designs, the confidence to pitch my idea to anyone – and the network to back it up. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The knowledge I’ve gained about myself, my abilities and limitations as a founder is beyond valuable, and I owe it to this Competition.” – Charlotte Read, Confidante Apparel

Showcase Night is unique because rather than pitching for investment, teams pitched:

  • why they love and care about their customers, and why you should too, and
  • what help their startups need with the next steps.

This night was also an opportunity for the founders to: 

  • share their vision and work with the community as they navigate their next steps, and
  • receive valuable insights and advice from the judges before the Competition’s official close.


Top 8 Wisdom

There’s nothing like hearing first-hand accounts and the 2021 Startup Competition Top 8 Finalists are a generous bunch who were more than happy to share their insights about their experience.

Top 8 Learnings

Drawing on common threads all finalists agreed, they:

  • experienced personal and professional clarity: finalists experienced an increase in confidence in themselves, their abilities, and in their startups.

I’ve come to know myself better and have a greater awareness of my strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I’ve got more clarity about what’s required to start a business. Personally, I’m more confident in my adaptability and ability to juggle multiple responsibilities.” – Justin Olive, AllStudents.

  • gained a deep appreciation of the pitching process and the SPARK Deakin team

By participating in the Competition I gained confidence in myself. The self-belief that SPARK Deakin mentors placed in me to carry out my idea and pitch it consistently, and to practice my skills over time has not only been of great personal and professional benefit but has enriched all areas of my life. The mentors at SPARK Deakin truly helped shine a light on what I wanted to achieve with my idea, where I wanted to go and how to go about it. For that, I will always be grateful.” – Charlotte, Confidante Apparel

  • created powerful and supportive networks

The Start-up Competition introduced me to some fabulous people who have now become friends, mentors and advocates. [The] ongoing support and networks have been priceless to help us move forward.” – Rebecca Scott, Eazliee.

“Although it ended a little while ago, I’m still talking with and receiving feedback from nearly all the mentors I met during the Competition. On a more personal level, this experience has surrounded me with like-minded people and made me feel like I’m part of a community where we’re all dedicated to changing the world through our startups. Seeing everyone work on their ideas with such passion really motivates me to push harder and progress further with my ideas.” Lachlan Carboon, MOBIT.

  • committed themselves and their time to Competition/their startups, to gain the full benefit of the Competition’s process.

“When signing up you need to understand the time commitment. You get out of it what you put in and there are a lot of workshops to get through.Amy Armstrong, Dry But Wet.

Be sure that the timing is right for you to knuckle down and focus on your business. You will get out of it what you put in!” – Rebecca Scott, Eazilee.

The benefits from the Competition can extend far beyond your university experience if you want it to, like it was for Amy and Cam:

The Competition gave me the confidence, tools and experience to push on with developing my business and take action. I’ve left my corporate job to focus more time and energy on building my small business. It’s very exciting, without my SPARK Deakin experience I wouldn’t have arrived at the stage where I felt ready to do so, so quickly!” – Amy Armstrong, Dry But Wet.

“It was great to workshop several aspects of my business, from validation to implementation. The process of attending the workshops, going through the rounds, getting feedback from facilitators and mentors was inspiring. Thanks to the Competition, my business has undergone a few modifications to improve its service and future scalability.” – Cam Johnson, Deconstructing Diabetes.


Advice for Future Participants

Are you a future Startup Competition Participant? Here’s what the 2021 finalists thought you needed to know:

The journey is the destination

It will be an amazing experience that you’ll learn a lot from whether you win or just choose to participate in the first round.” – Lachlan Carboon, MOBIT.

More than the sum of its parts

This experience was so much more than what I envisioned. The depth and breadth of knowledge gained far exceeded my expectations.– Amy Armstrong, Dry But Wet.

Fall in love

It’s important to remember that it’s best to fall in love with the problem, not the solution. The Start-up Competition is more about understanding the customer and finding a solution for their problems, rather than trying to find customers to match a product you’ve already designed.” Justin Olive, AllStudents.


Want to be part of next years’ Startup Competition? Send in your Expression of Interest today!