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Baby milk thermos a winning formula in pitch contest

Business

A thermos-like device to keep water for baby formula at the ideal drinking temperature has won a Flinders University pitch competition for some of the state’s brightest emerging entrepreneurs.

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Seven finalists from the university’s New Venture Institute’s Venture Dorm Graduation program last night vied for more than $80,000 worth of prizes, including trips to Austin, Texas, for the SXSW start-up festival.

Father-of-two Daniel Lauterio won the gold eNVIe in the Shark Tank-style pitch contest for his device that could prove a parent’s best friend when it comes to keeping bottle-fed babies happy when they are away from home.

Warm’n’Ready is a battery-powered thermos that keeps water warm at perfect temperature for up to seven hours and ready to mix with baby formula.

Lauterio said more than 70 interviews with parents throughout the course revealed three main pain points: trying to cool boiling water kept in a regular thermos; an inability to access warm water quickly when away from home; and, parents worried about using microwaves to heat bottles.

He said his product had an insulated stainless-steel vessel and a built-in 12-volt lithium-ion battery, and could be set to keep water at a constant temperature between 38 and 45C for up to seven hours.

“It features an easy-to-pour lid design so you can fill up your child’s bottle in any location – in a car, on a plane, on a boat or a train,” Lauterio said.

“There’s nothing like this on the market designed for parents – an everyday thermos keeps things hot. Babies don’t want hot. Babies want it nice and warm and they want it instantly. Warm’n’Ready gives you that – it eliminates the guesswork.

“We’ve built a working prototype and we’ve already warmed up our customers; we’ve got parents waiting and ready to buy.”

Pre-orders will be taken soon, with the first units expected to be available early next year for $99 each.

Lauterio said the award would help connect him and his team to experts who could help him to quickly progress the idea.

He said he was looking for potential investors to come on board to fast-track the production process.

The Silver eNVIe went to Grant Bailey and Quuee, a social commerce video platform built for online beauty influencers with 25,000 or fewer YouTube subscribers to improve discovery and better engage consumers in collaborative social commerce.

The People’s choice award went to Alex Tolson, Alex Pearce and Matthew Freeman for their smartBBQ, a cooking system with inbuilt sensors and internet connectivity to help ensure meals are cooked to perfection every time.

NVI director Matt Salier said the Venture Dorm Program helped develop the next generation of start-ups and gave the winners the chance to take their ideas to a global audience.

“Exposing our passionate entrepreneurs to global markets is an important part of the Venture Dorm program. We believe this will ensure their start-ups survive and thrive in a changing market”.

Earlier in the day, InDaily hosted the Disrupters event, which featured a panel of entrepreneurial success stories including Vinomofo, Uber and Expr3ss!

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