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How would you feel if your best friend in your twilight years was a robot? It’s one of the many thought-provoking questions being posed at QUT’s Robotronica event on Sunday.
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WineMinder, a Brisbane-based start-up that was co-founded by QUT Law student Sam Sheehan, seems destined for success after being awarded funding and incubator-style support from Advance Queensland and the Chinese Government.
WineMinder is a digital system designed to help inform consumers about the current condition of their wine and its optimal consumption date. Using hardware, algorithms and data analytics, the WineMinder app protects the investment of casual and serious collectors alike.
The sensor captures and stores temperature readings which are then combined with information on the specific wines in the cellar. This data is sent to the app, where users can manage the wines and receive notifications when they are best to drink.
WineMinder was taken through a Kickstarter program in 2015. In a demonstration of its success, the WineMinder team then launched the product in the market within months and has since won several innovation and entrepreneurial competitions.
Advance Queensland (an initiative of the Queensland Government) has partnered with the Chinese Government’s Ministry of Science and Technology to support Queensland innovators develop technologies that are scalable to Australia’s main trading partner, China.
The Commercialisation Partnership Program will expose innovators to investment opportunities, enable them to conduct competitor analysis and seek foreign investment opportunities through placements in Chinese incubation programs.
According to Sam, CEO of WineMinder, WineMinder’s success has been due to the appeal of the device and its ability to service retail and logistics management in the Chinese and other markets.
During the incubation program, Sam will be based in Guangzhou working out of the Guangzhou International Business Incubator.
“It is a great opportunity for me to test my business skills in a completely different culture, and to attempt business across borders for the first time,” said Sam.
“Hopefully I will be able to make some great distribution contacts for WineMinder, as well as developing the performance and features of the device to make it even more attractive to consumers.”
Sam will be the only team member of WineMinder in Guangzhou for the whole time period, however he will be visited intermittently by his team members throughout.
“Studying law has given me a different way of thinking and taught me how to successfully action objectives. I feel like I am ready to take on real life scenarios because of the hands-on, practical experience my degree has given me thus far,” said Sam.
Executive Dean of the QUT Faculty of Law, Professor John Humphrey is proud of Sam's achievements.
"I never cease to be impressed by the dedication and excellence of our students, whether it is while studying law or pursuing other endeavours. WineMinder would be a welcome accessory to many in the legal profession, myself included, and I can't wait to see how Sam can develop it further in China," he said.
Please visit the WineMinder website if you would like to find out more.
QUT Law student and CEO/co-founder of WineMinder, Sam Sheehan.
Sam Sheehan with members of the Australian Chamber of Commerce at the InterWine China Fair.