Date Doctor wins Bundaberg Startup Weekend

Amber Lutter created the Date Doctor app concept after realising a gap in the market.
Amber Lutter created the Date Doctor app concept after realising a gap in the market.

The Date Doctor was the winning concept at the second Bundaberg Startup Weekend.

Amber Lutter, who works in Council’s economic development team, was the brains behind the pitch.

Describing herself as the owner, founder and creator of the idea, Amber said Date Doctor was so much more than just an app.

“Date Doctor is a revolutionary way to date in a time poor society,” Amber said.

“It is a trend, it’s a lifestyle, it’s the new way of dating.”

Building on the success of dating apps like Tinder, Amber said the Date Doctor was for people in a relationship but with no clue about how to set up a romantic evening.

Bundaberg Startup Weekend
Amber Lutter, Heidi Brown, Nathan Cogoi, Jack Copeland and Jared Silcox won the Bundaberg Startup Weekend with their Date Doctor concept

“I recognised there was a need in the market because people are time poor and they don’t necessarily have the time or the energy to dedicate towards the creation of dates for their loved ones.

“Once I identified that need I came up with the idea to create pre-made packages consisting of catering requirements, entertainment options, a venue.

“All you needed to do is put it in the date and time and rock up and have it happen.”

Amber said the judges recognised that the concept was a sustainable business model, even including an integrated buy local ethos.

“It’s all using existing local products and services.

“I recognise that creating a strong local economy promotes sustainability and local jobs.”

Amber was thrilled with her team’s success on what was her first startup weekend.

Her team members included Heidi Brown, Nathan Cogoi, Jack Copeland and Jared Silcox.

Bundaberg Startup Weekend
The Bundaberg Startup Weekend was well attended by budding innovators.

In what is essentially a real-life Shark Tank, budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to fellow participants with the goal of putting together a team to further develop it over a 54-hour period.

During the weekend the teams go through a series of rigorous planning and prototyping before a final pitch in front of a panel of judges who select the winning concept.

For the Bundaberg Startup Weekend, five teams were formed working on a wide range of concepts from app development to mental health awareness and social inclusion.

Teams work together on innovative ideas

While Dr Sarah Li was unable to get her anti-magpie helmet pitch off the ground she said she was thrilled to join the team working on Legit Check.

The concept for the app, which would help buyers to verify the legitimacy of goods for purchase, was pitched by a 14-year-old Bundaberg Startup Weekend participant.

“We help buyers to detect genuine or fake products.

“We prevent poor choices by providing them a platform of peer review support.”

Sarah said the team had clicked really well and “smashed through” their workload.

They had quickly identified there was a market for their concept.

“Because, first of all, I think there is a need for something.

“We don’t need our users to pay us money, we can generate money based on advertising.

“Our revenue model can sustain itself.

“It’s minimal effort, minimal initial cost on the business side.”

Bundaberg Startup Weekend
Lots of innovative ideas were pitched at Bundaberg Startup Weekend.

Sarah no stranger to startup events

The 30-year-old trainee radiation oncologist said she was no stranger to Startup Weekends as an alumni of Startup Catalyst.

“Which is a scholarship for young people to go to Silicon Valley.

“I was in the 2017 cohort.”

Selected from budding entrepreneurs all over the world Sarah said you had to have some technological background and know some programming to be successful.

“If you show signs of good problem solving and an opportunistic entrepreneurial streak then you qualify to get an interview.”

During the two-week trip Sarah visited a range of companies including Google, Facebook and NASA before participating in a startup event in San Francisco.

“It was a lot of things in two weeks.”

While she wasn’t sure if Legit Check would go any further Sarah said she would keep in touch with her fellow Bundaberg Startup Weekend team.

“Usually the things that are pitched here you don’t reveal the real things you want to work on.

“It’s just to learn skills to think differently and then you can use these skills to work on something in your field.”

IT advice on hand for participants

Bundaberg Startup Weekend coach
Mitch Miller from Bundaberg Regional Council was a Bundaberg Startup Weekend coach.

Bundaberg Regional Council Chief Information Officer Mitch Miller was one of the mentors on hand to offer information technology related advice.

With a number of app-focussed pitches Mitch said he enjoyed contributing over the weekend.

“I’ve had a few discussions around how they might be able to monetise their idea and possible revenue streams,” Mitch said.

“There’s a few cool ideas that lend themselves to some future data driven models that might be another way to make money – a bit like Facebook.”

He was able to offer some helpful advice to the Legit Check team as well.

“I gave that team a few tips and hints on how to get the computer working harder for them and take out that human element so that over time their profit margin can increase.”

He said the Techstars Startup Weekend had been highly enjoyable and he’d like to see them continue in Bundaberg.

“The teams are super energetic which is pretty crazy considering how long they’ve been there.

“Some teams wrapped up at midnight on Friday and were back by 8 am on Saturday.”

Bundaberg Startup Weekend coaches learn from event

Queensland Computers owner Geoff Augutis also offered his advice to participants throughout the weekend.

Startup Weekend coach
Geoff Augutis from Queensland Computers was a Bundaberg Startup Weekend coach.

While much of his work is centred around IT Geoff said he was there to provide business advice.

He said the positive and energetic atmosphere of the event was really enjoyable to be a part of.

“People are really passionate,” Geoff said.

“They’ve chosen to work with other people who are passionate about the topics they are passionate about.”

He said the diverse range of ages, life experience and occupations within the room had made for a highly collaborative weekend.

While he was there in the capacity of mentor Geoff said he would be taking something away from the Bundaberg Startup Weekend as well.

“When you’re working with people on their ideas you always learn a lot as well.

“It’s not a one-way information transfer.

“The mentors giving their time are learning something as well.”

Geoff said facilitator and the region’s first entrepreneur in residence Michael Norton had provided a great working environment.

“He has run a lot of these events so he’s really good at keeping people on track.”


  1. Congratulations to Date Doctor! We loved holding the event up at The Generator and excited to follow the journey of all teams in the coming months.

  2. If you’re looking for a way to catch up quickly on technology, be there at the next Techstars Startup Weekend.

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