Campus and Community

“Vienna” wins the 2nd edition of E. Awards @ Técnico

The idea that combines music and Artificial Intelligence stood out from the 11 ideas presented at the Final Pitch.

Jim Ryun, a charismatic former American politician and athlete, once said “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”, and this is exactly the motto of E.Awards, which aims to support and reward the best projects developed in Entrepreneurship Courses. The 2nd edition of E.Awards ended this Wednesday, 18th November, and the event brought together the best projects carried out during the first semester of 2019/2020.

Professor Luís Caldas Oliveira, Vice-president of Técnico for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Relations, Marcos Soares Ribeiro, Head of Santander Universities, Rodolfo Condessa, Senior Associate at Armilar Venture Partners, Miguel Muñoz Duarte, Executive Director of Nova SBE Venture Lab, and Paulo Dimas, VP of Product Innovation at Unbabel, listened carefully to students ideas. “We tried to reduce the number of projects in the final phase, but it was very difficult because they are all very good indeed”, said professor Luís Caldas de Oliveira.

The twelve team members selected for the final round had to overcome their nervousness and present the project idea in the simplest and most appealing way.

A lab-grown fish, a revolutionary brush with a built-in vacuum and cleaning system, a portable device that removes moisture from sports shoes or a platform that allows to monitor high-quality data in real time were some ideas presented by Técnico students.

The project “Vienna” received the “Best E. Project Award” and a €2.000 monetary prize from Santander Universities. The teams “New Shore” and “Louise_Braille Learning Device” received two honourable mentions by Armilar Venture Partners.

Project “Vienna”, which combines music and Artificial Intelligence, easily captivated jury. The students Ricardo Espadinha, Carlos Silva, José Correia, Gonçalo Santos and Aditya Vikram Jain developed an idea that combines existing market solutions.

“The customer must fill in the input form. Based on customer inputs we decide the music model that better fits your needs through our machine learning algorithms”, explains José Correia.

Aware that “there is a growing demand for personalised music caused by the explosion of the internet and targeted advertisement and for which the music market is having a hard time responding”, the team decided “to use artificial intelligence, because it allows our music producers to create high-quality custom music”, recalls Carlos Silva. The students were able to create “the efficient and creative human-machine symbiosis” that everyone talks about.

The team members met at NEECIST and JEEC. One day “the idea of creating music through artificial intelligence came up”, says Ricardo Espadinha. “We began to focus on problems and solutions that emerged from ‘Vienna’. We received a good feedback from professor José Epifânio da Franca, who helped us to demystify and simplify the way we look at start-ups and to greatly improve our pitch model”, shares Ricardo Espadinha. “Our main motivation has always been the genuine taste for this idea and the desire to see it grow,” he adds.

“We are getting a very positive feedback about our prototype from potential customers and companies”, says Carlos Silva. “Our goal is to reach MVP [Minimum Viable Product] as soon as possible so that we can build our network: customers and music producers” he adds. Keeping an eye on the market, the team created the website

According to the team, the E.Awards “brought them closer to the reality outside Técnico regarding entrepreneurship”. The decision-making, the reformulation of ideas and goals, the risks and the ability to overcome the pressure and challenges helped them “to become better human beings and, consequently, better entrepreneurs”. “Técnico must continue to promote such events and to encourage those who dare to dream”, stresses Ricardo Espadinha.