Keyloop, the global automotive technology company, today announces the national champion of the Keyloop Dealer Tech - University Automotive Technology Competition. Brian Evans, a 20-year-old Computer Science student in his second year at The University of Exeter, beat teams of students from five other universities to be named national winner of the competition, winning £13,000 overall for his achievement (£10,000 as national winner and £3,000 as regional winner).
Brian, who worked independently throughout the competition, impressed the judges with his web-based maintenance and service tracking solution, also producing a working prototype to accompany his presentation. Similar to tracking the delivery of a parcel, the concept allows consumers and automotive workshops to track and deliver updates on car repairs and servicing via a two-way communication stream.
Tom Kilroy, CEO of Keyloop and one of the judges, commented: “It was an extremely tough decision, but in the end, we thought that Brian’s concept was very effective in solving a real-world problem faced by dealerships, with good potential for scalability. He presented a well-thought-through idea that taps into the consumer trend for tracking and analytics, which is precisely the type of creative thinking and commercial initiative we were looking for.”
“It has been brilliant to see the level of entrepreneurial spirit from the students, particularly at such an early stage in their professional lives. Keyloop is committed to welcoming fresh and diverse talent to our industry, and this competition has helped us achieve that. We have unearthed some exceptional creativity, showcasing our industry to some of this country’s most promising students. My congratulations to all teams involved for making this inaugural year of the Dealer Tech Competition such a success.”
Despite launching in the middle of the pandemic and having to be run and judged remotely, the inaugural Dealer Tech Competition had over 180 signups from students at Bath, Exeter, Buckingham, Warwick, Surrey and Southampton universities.
Since October, these students have been working in teams to research, develop and demo a product or solution to improve the automotive retail experience in line with modern consumer demands and the digitalisation of the industry. Students from each university then had to present their ideas in the university judging round at the end of April, with the top teams from each university going through to the grand final on 12th May.
At Wednesday’s national final, the six regional winners competed against each other to win the grand prize of £10,000 and the chance to be invited to join Keyloop’s graduate programme. The presentations were judged by a panel of industry experts: Tom Kilroy, CEO of Keyloop, Joaquim Croca, VP Commercial at Keyloop, Michelle Wells, Marketing Communications Director at Keyloop, Tim Rose, editor of Automotive Management and Julia Muir, CEO of Gaia Innovation.
The concepts from the finalists included a wide range of ideas, including a driving analysis tool that profiles driving styles to deliver personalised service and purchasing recommendations, a platform that handles the logistics behind the movement of vehicles, and a platform that connects dealership salespeople with customers via live chats and video calls.
Commenting on his achievement, Brian Evans, winner of Keyloop’s Dealer Tech Competition, said: “Participating in the competition has been an amazing experience. It has brought together university students to imagine a better future for the automotive industry and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part. I haven’t thought about how I’ll spend my winnings – perhaps for a deposit on a house! Thank you to Keyloop for the opportunity.”
With diversity and inclusion a key focus for Keyloop in its vision for future talent in the industry, it was also heartening to see the finalists displaying a blend of male and female team members with international students stationed at home as a result of the pandemic. Team finalists joined the national final remotely from countries including Sweden, China and South Korea.
Julia Muir, Founder of the Automotive 30% Club and CEO of Gaia Innovation and one of the judges, said: “It has been a real pleasure to witness the creativity and passion the students have brought to problem-solving for the future of the automotive industry. This was perfectly demonstrated by Brian’s concept, which is an innovative tech solution that improves the customer experience and enables the dealership aftersales staff to work smarter and more efficiently.
“The Dealer Tech competition provides young talent with a taste of what working in automotive and technology could be like. Without real-world experiences or role models, it can be hard to understand what goes on behind the scenes in the industry. I hope that this experience has inspired students to seek out career opportunities they might not have otherwise, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.”
Brian Evans, The University of Exeter
Tandem, The University of Bath: Lilla Polus, Shraddha Shetty, Alex Bilyi, Alaz Erdinc, André Mugliett
Brian Evans, The University of Exeter
Bucklers, The University of Buckingham: Thomas Humphreys, Yoon Cho, Jesper Hansson Liedholm
Duopoly, The University of Warwick: Nkosinathi Khumalo, Yunus Ansari
OmniPerson, The University of Surrey: Murat Yilmaz
Automotiv, The University of Southampton: Si Wu, Ikenna Orabueze, Vaishnav Shinde
Keyloop has worked closely with the SETsquared Partnership, and additional contacts from leading research-led universities to support student teams with their ideas. SETsquared is the enterprise partnership between five leading UK universities (Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Surrey and Southampton) that provides support programmes to help students, researchers and entrepreneurs to turn ideas and innovation into successful businesses.
Find out more about the competition at: http://www.keyloop.co.uk/dealertech/index.html