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Clock starts ticking in Disrupt Unlimited's '500 Hours' challenge

A group of innovators discusses one of the challenges posed at the 500 Hours competition of Disrupt Unlimited

The race to a prize of US$ 50,000 (about Rs 6.5 million) in seed funding, leading to a lucrative business start-up, has begun in earnest for 54 innovators competing in the '500 Hours' innovation competition hosted by Disrupt Unlimited, the Brandix-led start-up seed accelerator.

Launched at Brandix Apparel Solutions Limited - Intimate Apparel in Welisara, the competition brings together external entrepreneurs as well as "intrapreneurs" from within the Brandix Group.

Each participating team has exactly three weeks to develop a technology-driven conceptual solution to one of 15 apparel industry challenges posed by Disrupt Unlimited. The 500-hour clock started ticking at 9am on Monday, 19th January.

The teams have until 29th January to work on their ideas and present them on that day to Disrupt Unlimited at the 'semi-final' of the 500 Hours competition. Selected finalists identified as contenders for the prize money of US$ 50,000 for every game-changing solution, will go on to present their ideas at the final 'Pitch Day' on 9th February 2015.

Six of the challenges have also been posted online at by Disrupt Unlimited, and are open to anyone to solve and submit a solution online.

These challenges are: Tracking fabric throughout the manufacturing process; Capturing real-time manufacturing output; Increasing asset utilisation and eliminating machine downtime; Error-proofing the production line; An 'Apollo 13' style waste challenge; and Automating fabric inspection and stripe matching. Details about each challenge can be found online.

Surendra Karunakaran, Disrupt Unlimited's Chief Operating Officer, said: "If participants can stretch their minds to understand the root problems and develop game-changing solutions, in three weeks they will achieve a level of impact that would normally take three years."

Winning teams would have the opportunity to commercialise their ideas through Disrupt Unlimited's four-month seed accelerator programme, which offers start-ups seed funding, office space, continuous mentorship, experienced advisors, practical workshops, networking opportunities, and legal and administrative services.

Launched in early 2014, Disrupt Unlimited runs a seed accelerator that seeks to inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough, technology-driven solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in the Apparel, Textile and Accessories sectors.



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