Innovation for the real world

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QUT bluebox Challenge

Every challenge is an opportunity for an entrepreneur.

The 2019 finalists are here

2019 Finalists


An online application that sends physical greetings cards via postal mail, with your own emulated handwriting.


Mobile and autonomous robots capable of painting/coating internal and external walls up to 15m high.


Meeting recording application that uses AI to index, analyse and integrate into other business tools.

Marc AI

An email moderator application that prevents users from sending inflammatory emails.

Baby Give Back

A charity that provides baby essentials to families experiencing hardship.

Vote for your favourite here & help them win the CROWD vote.

Tickets to the Challenge Gala are now open!

Reserve your seat to be part of the exhilarating shark-tank style pitch event that will see five innovative QUT startups pitch for their chance to win funding! Tickets are free but spots are limited. Please note: You cannot attend without a ticket.

Support your favourite startup as you get to vote on the night for your favourite!


This year the QUT bluebox Challenge is set to wow audiences with not only pitches from some of the best emerging QUT startups but also with the line-up of judges. One judge is responsible for creating an entertainment giant; another is one of the most influential women in tech, with the final two judges being part of two of the most successful startups in Brisbane.

The judges are:

  • Marc Randolph - Co-founder of Netflix and first CEO of the company. Marc is a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a founder of more than half a dozen other successful startups, although he is best known for Netflix. Netflix revolutionised the way we watch entertainment, and part of a known idiom – “Netflix and chill”.

  • Leanne Kemp - Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and Everledger CEO & Founder. Leanne is a leader, innovator and most likely the real wonder woman. Her leadership role in technology has been recognised in 2018 Advance Australia Award, Innovator of the Year 2018 at the Women in IT Awards (London) as well as being named in UK Business Insider’s 26 Coolest Women in UK Tech 2016.

  • Anne-Marie Birkill - Anne-Marie Birkill is a Managing Partner and executive director in OneVentures, a venture capital firm that invests in technology companies that serve or disrupt large, high growth global markets. The firm has $330M in funds under management including the recently launched $170M Healthcare Fund III that is focused on growth and expansion stage technology companies in the healthcare sector. She is chair of the board for portfolio company Find-me technologies and a director for Paragen Bio and Madorra.

  • Alex Ghiculescu - Alex is co-founder of Tanda (winners of the 2014 QUT bluebox Challenge) Tanda now has offices in four countries and thousands of customers who are building more productive workplaces and creating more jobs. Alex is responsible for Tanda’s continued product growth and innovation and his goal is to build the best product, ever. Not bad, for the youngest judge on the panel.

Sponsor Prizes

All entrants to the QUT bluebox challenge are also eligible for the following awards and sponsor prizes.

*Terms and conditions apply for all awards

  • Impact Academy

    Change Maker award for the most outstanding Social Entrepreneur - Recipient receives Scholarship for a social enterprise to attend IA worth $15k

  • Sales Ecosystem

    High Potential Award for startups with longevity potential - Recipient receives Consulting time worth $10K

  • Business Depot

    Bright Ideas Award for most innovative idea - Recipient receives services worth $10K

  • Redchip

    Elevate Prize for startups who can raise to an impressive level - Recipient receives Services worth $10K

  • Help The Biz

    Idea Award - Recipient receives services worth $10K

  • Wholesale Investor

    Pending - Promotion and opportunities worth $10K

  • ARC

    Avant-Garde Award for hardware startups ahead of the curve - 3 month membership to Arc for four teams to the value of $2.4 K each

  • Davies Collison Cave

    Innovation startup award - Services for patent and trademark applications worth $5K

The challenge provides

  • Opportunity to present to early-stage investors
    Opportunity to present to early-stage investors
    * Subject to investment readiness and decisions by the QUT Founders Fund and invited early stage investors.
  • Participate in pitching and investment workshopsParticipate in pitching and investment workshops
  • Win cash fundingWin cash funding
  • Gain exposureGain exposure
  • Test your idea with judges, the public and investorsTest your idea with judges, the public and investors


Open to all early-stage startups (startup idea, innovation, product, process or service) with at least one QUT founder (QUT student, alumni or staff).

How it works:

  1. 1. Submit your application to the QUT bluebox Challenge. Apply now
  2. 2. Five finalist will be selected into the QUT bluebox Challenge.

The five finalists:

  • a. will receive tailored workshops to equip them to best pitch their best pitch their startup.
  • b. will get the chance to test their startup with a crowd-vote and win cash.
  • c. may also have the opportunity to pitch in front of early-stage investors*.
  • d. will compete in a shark-tank style competition for additional cash funding at the QUT bluebox Challenge Gala.
  • Additionally, applicants who did not make the finals may still be eligible to receive in-kind services and receive an invitation to the Gala.
* Subject to investment readiness and decisions by the QUT Founders Fund and invited early stage investors.


Challenge pitching cash prize:

  • 1st prize — $60,000
  • 2nd prize — $30,000
  • Crowd Vote — $5,000
  • Best Student Startup — $5,000


  • $50,000 of in-kind professional services
  • $100,000 of startup accelerator program opportunities
  • $100,000 of potential co-investment from the QUT Founders Fund*
  • $100,000 of potential co-investment from invited early stage investors*
*Subject to investment readiness and decisions by the QUT Founders Fund and invited early stage investors.

Frequently Asked Questions


Stage 1: Apply

Submit an online application by 01 June 2019. .

Stage 2: Finalists announced

A judging panel will assess all the applications and select up to five finalists.

Finalists will need to prepare a 30 second speed pitch video outlining their innovation and how it could or is being progressed as a new venture. The speed pitch videos will be available for online crowd voting in the lead up to the full pitch event.

Finalists will also need to submit a slide deck for a five minute full pitch by 12 June 2019.

To help finalists prepare their speed pitch and full pitch, they will have access to pitching and investment workshops in the first half of June 2019.

Stage 3: The Pitch

Finalists will be offered an opportunity to give a 5 minute preview pitch to early stage investors in the second half of June 2019.

Each finalist must give a five minute full pitch before a judging panel and a live audience on Monday 08 July 2019. These pitches will be delivered at QUT Gardens Point campus. The awards, including the crowd voting award, will be offered immediately following at an Awards Event.


This Challenge is open to all novel and commercially-relevant innovation, including products, processes or services, and business models, and associated ventures.

Applicants can be at any stage of development, from a new concept to a new venture formed less than three years before the time of application. Business plans are not required but we will ask for further details about your innovation and venture plans.

Applicants must confirm that the content of their innovation is owned by themselves and/or owned by QUT (or alternatively that they have the exclusive right to commercialise if the applicant is a company).


QUT bluebox Challenge is for individuals, teams and companies. Entrants can apply multiple times; as long as each application focuses on a different venture.

The Challenge is not open to visiting scholars or visiting researchers.

Individual applicants must be either a:

  • QUT student
  • QUT alumnus
  • QUT staff member
  • Team applicants, of up to four members, must include at least one actively participating member, who is either a:
  • QUT student
  • QUT alumnus
  • QUT staff member

The team will need to demonstrate that the one or more alumni/student/staff members are integral to the team have an ongoing involvement in taking the innovation forward as a new venture.

Company applicants must include at least one director and at least one shareholder, each of who is a:

  • QUT student
  • QUT alumnus
  • QUT staff member

Read the full terms and conditions here.


Submit your application online at

How do I find out more?

If you have any questions about your application contact us at

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