Coventry Triumphs In First Ever Varsity Pitch

This week six teams of Coventry and Oxford student entrepreneurs competed for a total of £10K prize money in the first Varsity Pitch competition. The Varsity Pitch is a showcase for the best entrepreneurial ideas of the brightest students at Oxford and Coventry. The student teams had just two minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of celebrity business moguls, followed by a gruelling seven minute Q & A.

The panellists included:

  • Peter Jones (Entrepreneur of Dragon’s Den fame)
  • Martha Lane Fox, (Co-Founder of
  • Michael Birch (Co-founder and CEO,
  • Ian Lobley (Senior Partner, 3i)
  • Jim Lawn (Head of Microsoft Innovation Strategy in the UK)

The University of Coventry came out on top winning two of the three prizes, and Coventry student venture TouchSight awarded the grand prize of £5,000 and a trip to Monaco.

The two runners up prizes went to RemRom Medical Devices of Coventry and Matoke Matoke of Oxford. “I am delighted that the overall winner, TouchSight, is from Coventry,” commented Rahul Vohra, President of Coventry University Entrepreneurs. “TouchSight will improve the lives of millions of blind and visually impaired people across the world.”

TouchSight have developed a unique mobility aid for the blind and visually impaired. The glove-based system, called the TouchSight Vision Mitt, enables the user to ‘sense’ their surroundings using ultrasonic sensors and vibration feedback actuators, providing a low cost alternative or supplement to guide dogs or white sticks.

Pete Davies of TouchSight commented: “We're absolutely delighted to win the Varsity Pitch 2007. It's brilliant that competitions like this are organised by student societies to enable entrepreneurship and let all these amazing ideas that would not otherwise see the light of day have exposure and involvement with business and investors in the real world.”

“TouchSight will now take next steps to bring the product to market - we will build more prototypes, protect our intellectual property and work closer with distribution channels to make this happen. TouchSight will bring real change to the lives of the blind and visually impaired across the world.”

Rajeeb Dey, President of Oxford Entrepreneurs, Oxford University’s student society for entrepreneurs said, “The competition was a huge success and we had an exciting and inspirational evening of commercially viable entrepreneurial ideas. We look forward to seeing this competition go from strength to strength in coming years – and to watching the success of the winners.”

The Coventry University Entrepreneurs runners up, RemRom Medical Devices, specialise in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of path breaking medical devices designed for surgery through the mouth (minimally invasive surgery or MIS).

The Oxford Entrepreneurs runners up, Matoke Matoke, have set up a fair trade company to sell embroidered napkins made by women displaced in the civil war in Northern Uganda.

The Coventry students of TouchSight will be further spreading their business ideas on their trip to Monaco, where they have the chance to access additional funding in a competition called The Next Generation Entrepreneurship Forum.