Startup 4eyes takes out the top prize at UNSW Founders Pre-accelerator Showcase  

Accessible vision system, 4eyes took out the top prize of $10,000 at the inaugural UNSW Founders Pre-accelerator Showcase event held recently.

4eyes is a transportable and affordable kit that contains everything needed for an untrained person to test for and dispense prescription spectacles on the spot. It includes a patented device for testing refractive error, customisable frames, pre-cut optical lenses and an app with the ability to record and audit results which in turn aids inventory keeping and distribution.

“The idea behind 4eyes came after a trip to the Solomon Islands in 2017 where I noticed no one was wearing glasses”, says Sarah Crowe, co-founder 4eyes and Sydney based ophthalmic surgeon.  “In the low resource eye clinic where I worked, unfortunately, due to limited testing resources, people being geographically isolated, and relatively high costs, I found many are unable to access much-needed treatment (glasses).

Addressing this huge need for accessible glasses, Sarah developed the 4eyes system. To date, the team has conducted a successful pilot study in Papua New Guinea where over three days six locals were trained.  Four hundred people were then tested, and 220 pairs of glasses dispensed.  

“In the follow-up study, 98% of patients gave it the highest rating for improvement in their vision and also in their quality of life”.

Sarah continued to refine and develop her startup over the past 10 weeks, participating in the Pre-accelerator program, alongside 180 participants who formed 74 teams. Together, they learnt from experienced speakers and mentors with real-life domain expertise and insights and were introduced to the tools and strategies to test their ideas and scale their business. Forty-five of those teams participated in the tailored health-focused stream, delivered in partnership with The George Institute, as preparation for consideration in the Health10x accelerator program. 

On conclusion of the program, 50 teams battled it out in front of 15 industry judges for a coveted spot in the top eight to pitch at the Showcase event held last Wednesday with the winner taking home $10,000.  

Joining 4eyes, the other seven teams included: 

  • Aurora MedTech – James Gaston
  • Bandicoot Imaging Sciences – David Monaghan
  • MUVI – Murray McDonald
  • Plugged – Micah Maglaya
  • UnicornShift – Jacob Lescove
  • UNITY Martial Arts – George Roditis
  • Walking Tall Health – Dr Matthew Brodie

The Pre-accelerator Showcase Award was selected by three esteemed judges – Alan Taylor, Executive Chairman, Clarity Pharmaceuticals, Eliza Jackson, Venture Associate, MacDoch Ventures and Suchitra Narayan Director SGInnovate Venture Fund, Singapore.

“While all the pitches were outstanding, 4eyes is doing something for social good and we found that quite honourable”, said Showcase judge, Suchintra Narayan. “We would love to help Sarah progress her journey.” Special mentions were also given to Plugged and Walking Tall.

Other prizes announced at the Pre-accelerator Showcase Award included a $3,000 People’s Choice Award and $1,500 Founders Community Spirit Award.

4eyes has been selected to participate in the 2020 Health10x accelerator program which kicked off recently.

  • Pre-accelerator Showcase Award:  4eyes – An accessible and affordable system kit with everything needed for an untrained person to test for and dispense prescription spectacles to correct refractive error.
  • People’s Choice Award:  Aurora – A discreet way to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to alleviate the negative stigma and attitudes surrounding sexual health, and streamline the diagnostic pathway in healthcare. Aurora was the runner up in the 2019, Peter Farrell Cup.
  • Founders Community Spirit Award:  Makala Castelli