Lean Startup Challenge

Brisbane startups prove true innovators, taking out Brisbane competition before going global


BRISBANE startup ClickDish began life trying to sell home cooked leftovers but ended up in the corporate catering industry. It is a dramatic example of truly being “nimble.” That ability to change quickly has seen them take out a Queensland competition for great innovations and now they’re headed for the USA where they’re in line for a global award.

ClickDish’s change in direction is what is known in innovation circles as a “pivot”, a move which can spell the life or death of a startup or even established companies that can’t learn to change in rapidly evolving business environments. ClickDish and web-enabled food delivery service Airfood received prestigious awards in Brisbane’s first Lean Startup Challenge, designed by Era Innovation and supported by McCullough Robertson Lawyers and the UQ Business School.

“Through a series of pivots and rigorous testing, Team Cooshe (now ClickDish) went from a business for people to sell excess meals cooked at home in their neighbourhoods to a new approach to servicing the corporate catering market,” Era Innovation Partner, Kate Morrison, said.  “It was quite extraordinary and a tremendous example of what can be done by using the lean launchpad method.”

Winner of the Learning Prize, Team AirFood, won for their web-enabled food delivery service for university campuses, while Commercial Prize winner Team ClickDish won for a web-based service to provide greater variety and reliability in catering options for corporate clients.

Team ClickDish has also been announced as a semi-finalist in the International Business Model Competition, sponsored by Brigham Young University, Harvard and Microsoft. As a result, they will travel to Microsoft HQ in Seattle to take part in the final stages of the contest which will land them $30,000 if they win.

The Lean Startup Challenge was a competition in which 17 teams spent the past weeks competing to develop validated business models for their entrepreneurial ideas using the ‘Lean Startup’ approach.

“The Lean Startup method focuses on rapidly testing business ideas through customer development and feedback. “It uses rapid sprints to gather insights and evolve the idea until either a feasible business model is developed or the evidence points to the idea being unworkable, faster,” Ms Morrison said.

The Challenge saw teams pitch ideas ranging from a new differential technology for 4WD vehicles, to a global upcycled clothing market to support fairer trade, and even a virtual reality art auction complete with prototype VR glasses.

It kicked off with a full-day workshop for over 80 with two of Australia’s innovation thought-leaders, UQ Business School’s innovation expert and Era Innovation Partner, Associate Professor Tim Kastelle, and Nick Rackis who advises Australia Post on innovation and runs the Lean Startup program at Startup Victoria. Mentors, including experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and successful business leaders from the Brisbane community supported the teams on their journey.

“We wanted to create a competition that contributed to Brisbane’s innovation ecosystem and provided an opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs to develop and validate their ideas with expert support from generous volunteer mentors,” Ms Morrison said.

Mentor of Team Airfood, Belinda Brosnan, Telstra Business Women’s Awards – Qld Startup Winner 2015, praised the competition and the lean startup approach. “Using the lean startup method on a real business idea accelerated the learning for my team, and resulted in low cost testing and development of an exciting and viable business idea they can continue to develop,” Ms Brosnan said.

Team ClickDish member Greg Jones said the competition gave the team a fantastic opportunity to rapidly develop new business idea through two major pivots, all with the support of mentor, Peter Laurie. “In four weeks, Chandramouli Vyagrapuri, Anand Rajendran and I not only figured out what not to do, we also secured the first paying customer for our new and improved business model.

“To be recognized as a semi-finalist in such a prestigious competition is an absolute honour,” Mr Jones said. 

Reece Walker, Partner at McCullough Robertson was excited to see the quality of business concepts emerging from this event.“It has convinced us that hypothesis-based entrepreneurship is the right way to go to limit risk and improve the probability of favourable outcomes for investors. We’re looking forward to supporting the teams on their journeys from here,” Mr Walker said.

Era Innovation is a Brisbane based innovation consultancy building innovation capability for Australia’s leading organisations. Providing idea generation programs, lean startup business accelerators and strategic portfolio development, Era Innovation works across sectors including food, education, manufacturing, asset management and resources.

Read more about the Lean Startup Challenge here.


2016 Lean Startup Challenge Winners


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