Henry Chong’s Revelo LIFEbike wins $10K Up-Start Prize
One year after graduating from OCAD U's Industrial Design program, Henry Chong is still making waves with his thesis project, Revelo LIFEbike.
Henry Chong riding his LIFEbike around Toronto. Photo: Marika Rab.
This week his 10-minute business model pitch to the judging panel of the 2012 Up-Start Competition, hosted by MaRS Discovery District, earned him the $10,000 grand prize.
The competition is the capstone for the MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 program, a free, 30-week, non-credit introductory course on entrepreneurship that introduces individuals to the nuts and bolts of building a business.
Chong's LIFEbike (Lightweight, Intelligent, Flexible, Electric bike) is designed to be the commuter's solution for urban environments. An innovative, agile, foldable electric bike that weighs just 15 kgs, LIFEbike can travel up to 30 km on a single charge, at a top speed of just over 30 km/hour. The bike's smaller rear wheel makes it compact, and it includes a storage box for carrying goods.
"This win is a culmination of all the great skills I learned at OCAD U," said Chong. "I learned how to identify a need, how to research my design, how to create my idea, how to validate it, and how to communicate it. This holistic approach is what makes OCAD U's Industrial Design program so unique."
OCAD U can now boast winning Up-Start for two years running. Last year's winner was Industrial Design graduate Jessica Ching, with her company Eve Medical, creating innovative healthcare solutions for women. Chong's pitch to Up-Start was nurtured through OCAD U's new entrepreneurship and innovation incubator/accelerator, the Imagination Catalyst, under the guidance of Executive Director, Business Development & Innovation, Steve Billinger.
"The support I've been getting through OCAD U's Imagination Catalyst has been tremendous," said Chong. "The Up-Start prize is a huge endorsement of my vision for Revelo Bikes Inc., and there is still much work to be done. Now I have the education, the team and the self-confidence to make it happen. It feels great."
Henry building his LIFEbike prototype in the OCAD U metal fabrication studio. Photo: Marika Rab.
"Henry's elegant and smart LIFEbike is a great example of what OCAD U and Imagination Catalyst are all about: getting fantastic ideas driven by brilliant, creative and passionate people out into the world!" said Billinger.
The Up-Start competition is open to individuals or teams in four business categories: Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Cleantech, Life Sciences and Healthcare, and Social Ventures. Competitors have 10 minutes to pitch their business ideas, and they must apply concepts from MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 to make a compelling business case to win. This year's panel of judges were Peter Evans, Founder and CEO, Speakerfile; Raymond Simmons, Tech Entrepreneur and Volunteer Advisor, MaRS; William Brown, Managing Director, BCW Ventures and Cathy Steiner, Managing Director, Nucleus GC.
Congratulations to Henry!