Arizona State University students Brinlee Kidd and Sylvia Lopez took top honors at the Red Bull Basement Global Final with their idea for an automated study tool aimed at empowering students to overcome academic challenges. Offering inspiration and insights from game-changing thought leaders and expert mentors, the collaborative event in Istanbul, Turkey was the culmination of eight months of work by student teams, whose ideas to drive positive change had been selected from more than 4,000 submitted worldwide.
Inspiration was in the air as finalist teams from universities worldwide converged in Istanbul to pitch their ingenious ideas at the climax of the postponed Red Bull Basement Global Final 2021. The program empowers student innovators to kickstart their ideas to drive positive impact on campus and disrupt the world tomorrow. And while it was a team from the Arizona State University who made the biggest impression with their “Jotted” idea, the four-day collaboration revealed ingenious concepts for everything from climate action to career tools. Here’s all you need to know:
- The more than 4,000 applications received for Red Bull Basement in 2021 was a new high, and in all, 44 finalist teams from 43 countries worked for months to bring their ideas to life, supported with access to workspace and mentors. The vast majority of the finalists attended the Global Final in person, with a handful participating virtually.
- The event in Istanbul was an immersive experience that allowed the student teams to network and engage in workshops with visionary thought leaders. Just a few of the sessions in a schedule packed with opportunities included: a keynote speech and Q&A session featuring Kudzi Chikumbu, who is leader in community and creators at one of the world’s biggest entertainment short form video platforms; a workshop on digital storytelling and social media with SuperSocial founder Mathias Haas; and a surprise parkour and freerunning workshop with inspirational Turkish athlete Hazal Nehir, who sees her sport as a tool for self-recognition.
- The event concluded with the top 10 teams making their final pitch to a judging panel of prominent global visionaries, and the winning Jotted idea from Arizona State University made a deep impression. Brinlee Kidd and Sylvia Lopez are developing an automated, real-time note-taking tool that also generates flashcards, creates practice quizzes and more. The students believe that Jotted could revolutionize the way that people around the world find and aggregate knowledge, and the team will now benefit from additional resources and contacts to more fully bring their idea to reality.
- Describing their experience at the Global Final, the Jotted teammates said, “Everybody wins when you come here. The people we’ve met are some of the best and brightest in the world – so exciting and interesting and active. With the things that we learned, from the business point of view and the technical perspective, we feel so much more confident moving forward in our venture. We’re turning a new page in an incredible book, and we’re excited to go on this journey.”
- Rounding out the top 10 were: Circle One (IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems), a reusable packaging solution for online retail orders; Digital X-Ray Glasses (University of Johannesburg), eyeglasses that perform and transmit x-ray scans; H2Whoah (University of Manitoba), a consumer app that monitors water usage; NCMS (Mie University), a new take on noise-cancelling headphones; OpenGrid (University of Melbourne), a platform that would enable households using solar power to sell their excess energy to other homes; Smart Capacit System (Hotelschool The Hague), an energy-saving scheduling system for digital devices; Starry Light Tiles (Loughborough University), walkway tiles that light up pedestrian pathways when stepped upon; Vego (University of A Coruña), an app that helps users transition to a vegan lifestyle; and Wrest (Third Faculty of Medicine at Charles University), a smart mousepad designed to help users avert repetitive motion injuries.
- Most ideas centered on categories based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with the top three areas of focus being Education, Smart Cities and Body & Mind.
- Following events in Berlin (2018) and Toronto (2019), and a virtual Global Workshop in 2020, the Red Bull Basement Global Final in Istanbul was highly anticipated, especially due to postponement of its original 2021 date due to worldwide health concerns.
- The keynote speaker was entrepreneur Sam Jones, the founder and CEO of the innovative Gener8 web browser, whose appearance on the UK version of Dragon’s Den went viral and was dubbed by the media as the ‘best pitch ever’. “I would have loved to have been able to have an experience like Red Bull Basement when I started Gener8,” Jones said. “Everyone is getting the chance to learn from amazing speakers, to meet other entrepreneurs with new ideas, and to build their network. So whether you win or you don’t, everyone has the opportunity to learn a lot and to have an amazing time.”
- Jones was also one of the global judges who heard the students pitch their projects, along with Chikumbu (see above), Marcus Kennedy (general manager for the Gaming and eSports Segment at Intel), Manjula Lee (founder/CEO of World Wide Generation and the G17Eco Platform), and Ceri McCall (senior vice president of Marketing Operations at NTT Ltd.).
- Over the years, Red Bull Basement participants have gone on to realize their ideas for global impact. Among them: The winning team from 2019, Audvice, have made important strides, receiving six-figure funding in the first investment round for their learning and collaboration tool. Meanwhile, the 2020 winners Lylo are now working to bring their ecologically friendly reinvention of the clothes washing machine to market.
Find out more about Red Bull Basement and explore all the finalist team ideas at redbullbasement.com