Quickfire Q&A with: 2018 Innovation Challenge finalists


We sat down ahead of the MSDUK Innovation Challenge with 5 of this year’s finalists to ask them about their mission, must-haves and mantras.

The interviewees:

VR:Calm – Provide an interactive and personalised platform for an uplifting social experience using a virtual reality app and headset for dementia sufferers

Audiowings – Nicknamed ‘The Shell’, Audiowings are creating headphones that connect directly to cloud platforms like Spotify, whilst using sensors to track our environment and the body.

Polipop – Created flushable and biodegradable products with a higher absorbability than current disposables and will disintegrate away within minutes in water.

Medixus – peer-to-peer app for healthcare workers across Africa and beyond to connect and collaborate on challenging patient case, in real time.

Twipes – the world’s first truly flushable wet wipes!



What 3 words describe your innovation?

VR:Calm: Reminiscent, Interactive, Personalised

Medixus: Simple, impactful, Scalable!

Polipop: Sustainable, Convenient, Holistic


What is the hardest bridge you have had to cross so far?

Twipes: Convincing others that our invention actually works. Considering the number of products on the market that don’t do what they say, it’s caused a lot of distrust amongst the public about “flushable” products.

Medixus: We’ve built this entire product, and business so far, bootstrapped. Making money go as far as it can and finding ways to bend time to deliver the parts of our vision we so clearly see

Audiowings: Convincing others with the right credibility and experience to buy into the vision and help develop the system

VR:Calm: Having the courage to put our idea forward and getting recognition for doing this, especially because we are three young female co-founders in a tech industry heavily dominated by males.


What is your million-dollar differentiator- what makes you unique?

Polipop: Polipop is launching the world’s first completely flushable and biodegradable sanitary products. Redesigned to have 25% greater absorbability than current disposable plastic pads, Polipop’s pads will disintegrate away within minutes down your toilet!

Twipes: Our product actually works! It breaks down in water in 3 short hours unlike any other product on the market. Others on the market claim to be flushable but can take months or even years to truly break down!


Why did you apply for the MSDUK Innovation Challenge?

Audiowings: To be a part of a diverse, multinational and global community.

VR:Calm: We wanted to be part of a community of like-minded and ambitious entrepreneurs and gain access to great opportunities and exposure. We believe in our product and want to show that technology can also be used for the good and benefit our society’s most vulnerable members.

Polipop: MSDUK Innovation Challenge is a fantastic competition to learn from other start-ups and gain advice through the training day and mentorship. We hope to gain feedback at a critical point in our timeline as we move from working prototype to manufacture ready product.


What tool/app/product can you not live without?

Medixus: Oh, this is a difficult one. It’d have to be a toss up between CityMapper and GoogleMaps (do you spot a theme?).  I blame being a city girl on my poor map reading skills – these two apps make my life so much easier, I can plan when I need to leave and what the optimal route to take is in a few clicks. It’s a great efficiency hack when your time is as limited as ours can be as we spend a lot of time commuting/travelling to meetings!

Audiowings: Spotify!

Twipes: My phone. Less about the social aspect and more about the way its used to help organise and plan my meetings and schedules to help me utilise my time efficiently.


Do you have a mantra or quote that you live by?

Twipes: No woman is an island! Get. Help.

Audiowings: My nan once said to me “Follow your dreams, and Pursue them with Passion”. That’s what I strive to do.

Medixus: With my social entrepreneur hat on: “Always stay married to the problem, not your solution” I think it’s a really key thing to live by – the solution can and will change over time as your understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve evolves. Let go of the ego of ‘my solution’ and stay focused on the problem – otherwise very quickly one may find they are sticking a square peg in a round hole.


What is next for you and your business?

Polipop: We will launch our flushable sanitary pads in 2019 with our brand Polipop. This product launch is the first product on our Polipop platform, designed to help manage your period. Every month, we deliver a complete box of sanitary products and supportive products such as wipes, heat packs and pamper products. We are starting with flushable pads and then onto flushable tampons, whilst we are working on menstrual data driven health research partnered with several universities.

VR:Calm: We are looking forward to being part of an international community after being selected for the 2018 promotion of the Women in Africa Entrepreneurs’ Club – Project 54 under the Patronage of His Excellence the King Mohammed VI. Exciting times ahead for VR:CALM, watch this space!

Audiowings: We want to prove the market for our system, and will be launching a rewards – based crowdfunding campaign in the next few months

Twipes: The next step is to launch a subscription model to promote Twipes to the general public and to make the biggest impact possible.

Medixus: Global domination of course! In all seriousness, we hope to take the pilot live across Kenya and get some useful insights into how it’s being used, where we can optimise and how best to begin scaling.


VR: Calm, Audiowings, Twipes, Polipop and Medixus will be pitching their innovations live at the MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards at the Innovation Challenge.

Register to attend: http://bit.ly/Registerfor2018MSDUKConf