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Blood, sweet, and teams – Meet GlucoActive, Collision’s PITCH startup competition winner

KrASIA is a media partner of Collision from Home.

This article is part of KrASIA’s partnership with Collision from Home. Written by Ciaran Bruder.

More than 1,000 startups attending Collision from Home. 300 startup competition applicants. 50 shortlisted businesses. 10 semi-finalists. Three finalists. One winner: GlucoActive.

PITCH 2020 has seen startups taking pitch battles from the stages of Toronto’s Enercare Centre to the world’s screens. We caught up with the winning startup’s founder and CEO, Robert Stachurski, to discover the story behind the success.

What was the inspiration behind GlucoActive?

GlucoActive was founded as a response to a problem facing diabetics all over the world. Checking blood sugar levels in the body should be simple but, currently, there is no effective health system that makes things easy for patients. A team of three people started out five years ago in a simple lab in Wrocław, Poland, and we haven’t looked back since.

What encouraged you to take part in Collision from Home?

We had planned to exhibit at Collision in Toronto this year, but because of Covid-19, the event was moved online. We think Collision is one of the most important conferences globally and we definitely wanted to participate in it in any way that we could. This is the first large tech event we have joined, and it’s been an amazing experience.

How did you decide what to include in your short competition pitch?

Determining what to include in the competition pitch came down to my experience with investor presentations. You get quite used to pitching your business to others when you start out, especially if it’s a scientific or medical business and you deal with complex problems.

What we presented to the PITCH judges was standard – no special prep or tricks. It’s important that we treated the competition as we would any other funding meeting. All I will say is – be clear about what your startup does. I’m an average public speaker, but I was still able to succeed in the competition because it’s so important that you articulate, in no uncertain terms, what makes your business quintessentially unique.

Do you find it easier pitching your business online or in-person? Why?

It depends on the type of person. Shy people probably feel relieved when they don’t have to stand on stage in front of other people to pitch their business. Meanwhile, confident speakers probably struggle with the lack of emotion and flow that comes with pitching to a live crowd.

Personally, I would have preferred to pitch on stage, as I am far more used to that. That said, online presentations are much more convenient and don’t not disturb my daily work rhythm.

Where would you like to see the business in one year’s time?

Next year we want to start selling our devices to diabetics. Non-invasive blood glucose measurement is somewhat a holy grail in our industry, and we are so excited to get GlucoActive’s products out to those who need them!

What do you think the future holds for medtech?

I believe that, in the near future, there will be a technological boom in the medtech industry. We can already see its beginnings in the now-widespread use of AI-powered algorithms to increase patient comfort, and the efficiency of medical facility administration and treatment.

Further, I think that in the next 30 years visits to a doctor’s office will be replaced by automatic scanning systems in our homes that will be able to scan for medical ailments or conditions.

What unique networking opportunities do you think online events offer?

Online events have an extraordinary power to negate geographical boundaries. I believe, as this year’s event has demonstrated, that many startups globally have had the unique opportunity to show themselves to a larger audience than would have otherwise been possible.

What advice would you give to startups looking to enter PITCH in 2021?

Make new, bold solutions. Don’t take the easy option and find an alternative to an existing one. What makes startups so great is their flexible working processes. Corporations specialize in risk mitigation, while the idea of a startup is to take big risks that can pay off. Tackling issues that others say are impossible to address is the only way we can solve the world’s problems.

I would also advise that, while this competition favors those who are good at public speaking, what’s more important is ensuring that the speakers highlight the whole startup team’s work. The judges want to know that the business is driven by the success of a team.

Reach out to the GlucoActive team if you want to offer your congratulations or get some tips on how to deliver a successful startup pitch from the champions of PITCH 2020.