- Unicorn CUP Finals determined the final winner of Unicorn Battles Q1 2023
- 11 winning startups from industry-specific battles competed for the absolute winner’s title in two sessions
- The final winner is Soliddd and its AI-powered eyesight correction
On March 16th, winners of all the Unicorn Battles Q1 finally met at the Unicorn CUP Finals Q1 2023. Nine industry-specific Battles that had been going on since January have determined eleven finalists. Looking back, they went as follows:
- January 12th – Robotics & Hardware Battle
- January 19th – eCommerce & Logistics Battle
- January 26th – Software & Services Battle
- February 2nd – HealthTech & BioTech Battle
- February 9th – AR/VR & Metaverse/NFT Battle
- February 16th – Industry Agnostic Battle
- February 23rd – AI Battle
- March 2nd – Crypto & Blockchain Battle
- March 9th – Fintech Battle
For the convenience of the judges, experts, and attendees from different time zones, the startups pitched in two sessions: at 9 AM London time and 9 AM San Francisco time. Unicorn Events’ CEO Anna Fedorova hosted both sessions, aided by Unicorn Events’ Chief Partnership Officer Maria Myleiko in the first session and the company’s event manager Viktoriia Stepanenko in the second session.
Network.VC, Silicon Valley Syndicate Club, and Startup Inc. were the unchanging sponsors of the evening, and the list of judges at the Finals was expectedly expansive. They were:
- Oleksandr Soroka – Partner & CEO at Network.VC
- Daniel Teo, Managing Partner at Hunniwell Lake Ventures (The USA)
- Gabriel Žanko, Venture Partner at Urano Capital (Colombia)
- Yurii Sereshchenko, Managing Director at QPDigital (Ukraine)
- Dr Peter Boras – Managing Director at The Change Innovation Services (Germany)
- John Kojiro Moriwaka, Director of Startup Grind Fukuoka (Japan)
- Michal Lasocki, Partner at EEC Ventures (Poland)
- Gaurav Shah, Managing Partner at Arete Ventures (India)
- Michal Zalesak, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Lighthouse Ventures (the Czech Republic)
- Selçuk Ergin, Managing Partner at Boza Ventures
- Omar Abedin, Project Director at National Incubation Center Karachi and CEO at PakTekHub (Pakistan)
- Aldo Schenone, Founder and CEO at Palgo Peru (Peru)
- Kelly Luo, Founder and Investor at Mans International (Canada)
- Dr Andreas Schenk, Venture Partner Germany for Digital Technologies at Seventure Partners (Germany)
- Kay Gruenwoldt, investor at Midgame Fund (The Netherlands)
- John D. Evans, GM at SEIML Ventures (China)
- Walied Albasheer, Founding Partner at Intuitio Ventures (the UAE)
- Nurul Hai, VP at SEAF (Bangladesh)
- Tobias Bauer, Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund of ScaleX Ventures (Singapore)
- Rafeh Saleh, Founding Partner at Cubit Ventures (Egypt)
In both sessions, the startups took three minutes each for pitching and three minutes more for Q&As. Once all the pitches and Q&As were done and all the judges from all the time zones finalized their votes, Ms Fedorova announced the absolute winner of the Unicorn CUP Finals.. Soliddd came first through a fierce competition as Stirlingshire and CTRL ENERGY had to share the silver and the bronze.
According to the Industry Agnostic Battle’s winner CEO and co-founder Raouf Remidan, only 5% of batteries in the world get recycled while the remaining 95% end up in nature, creating a massive source of pollution. It happens because their recycling is not financially justified.
CTRL ENERGY’s solution is called Lepo – a reusable battery made from recyclable materials. The startup makes the batteries from plastic bottles. The batteries can sustain for up to ten years.
Aside from the apparent benefits for the environment, Lepo has benefits for the user themselves (it is 30% the weight of a regular Li-Ion battery, for example). CTRL ENERGY encourages users to send them their used batteries in exchange for vouchers.
The batteries can get stored in special boxes and connected to household appliances, thus saving electricity bills. This makes them attractive for the B2B2C model where energy vendors, real estate developers, etc. can become major clientele. For them, ‘battery-as-a-service’ is subscription-based.
This American startup won the Fintech Battle. Its goal is to change the full service asset manager’s model. Steven Woods, Stirlingshire’s founder and CEO, can boast a 13-years experience as a broker on Wall Street. His team built a platform that should increase the take-home way of financial advisors significantly and reduce the firm’s risk and liability when employee’s work from home. According to the CEO, it makes a lot of nefarious things that happen in the industry impossible. It also ties the comp directly to performance as opposed to tying it to AUM, allowing advisors to help people make money more efficiently instead of looking for money.
Stirlingshire’s platform is already up and running and integrated with Apex Clearing. The startup’s patent-pending trade confirmation process allows the platform’s advisor to make a recommendation to the client, then the client can hit the confirm button on their computer or phone, – and the trade gets executed. Thus, the client remains in complete control of the account.
The company doesn’t charge the clients as such and instead makes money from margin interest, the credit balances, fully paid stock lending and stock borrow, the traditional broker-dealer discount revenue streams. The entire front-end revenue goes to the advisor. It is meant to attract the advisor and bring their clients over with them.
Neal Weinstock, the co-founder and CEO of the American startup that won the HealthTech & Biotech Battle, started with a claim that his company is giving sight to blind people, no less. Naturally, it isn’t about curing blindness as such, but about the kinds of vision correction and confronting macular degeneration that have only become possible now.
Soliddd came up with its own optics enhancement tool – the multi-patented Plenos lens – that serves as a platform for software and helps minimize the effects of various sight disorders. In other words, it directs light to specific areas of the eye where it lacks, thus helping to project a pixel-clear picture. Analyzing the wearer’s retina (including the peripheral areas), it can also diagnose health issues, not necessarily directly related to eyesight. Moreover, it doesn’t require FDA approval.
Other honored participants were:
- Cook-E from the Robotics & Hardware Battle – a French manufacturer of cooking robots
- Lambda Supply Chain Solutions from the eCommerce & Logistics Battle – an American AI-powered last-mile logistics facilitator
- Radiolife from the HealthTech & Biotech Battle – an American developer of mobile universal diagnostic devices
- Aradena from the AR/VR & Metaverse/NFT Battle – a British web3 PvP game developer
- ActiveChat.ai from the AI Battle – a Ukrainian chatbot provider
- Umoja Labs from the Crypto & Blockchain Battle – an American decentralized credit protocol aimed at emerging markets
- Zeemcoin from the Crypto & Blockchain Battle – a Spanish blockchain-powered sustainable mobility community
- Enerdrape – a Swiss developer of geothermal panels for underground to generate renewable energy
You are welcome to watch the complete Session 1 and Session 2 of the Unicorn CUP Finals at the Unicorn Events’ official YouTube Channel.
Kostiantyn is a freelance writer from Crimea but based in Lviv. He loves writing about IT and high tech because those topics are always upbeat and he’s an inherent optimist!