Hosted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, a Celebration of Innovation Challenge: The Seed Pitch and Hult Prize was held on Wednesday, November 20. An audience of more than 100 students, faculty, staff, and community members were on hand as the top four Seed Pitch teams and the Hult Prize winner and runner-up were recognized and gave minute-long pitches of their ventures.
Competing in the Seed Pitch for $15,000 in equity-free funding, 17 teams gave five-minute pitches of their venture ideas and participated in Q&A with the panel of industry-expert judges. Held simultaneously, Hult Prize consisted of five-minute pitches and five-minute Q&A sessions with its own judging panel – on the line, advancing to the regional competitions in Boston in the spring.
Improved Insulin Delivery (IID), developed by Connor MacFarlane (freshman, chemical engineering), was awarded $5,000. IID is an improved insulin delivery system for all insulin-dependent diabetics that reduces pain, plastic waste, the amount of supplies need to carry, and the amount of time spent managing the disease.
Pitched by Hadley Beauregard (sophomore, biochemistry and molecular biology and German and Scandinavian studies), Hailey Charest (junior, biochemistry and molecular biology) and Bryanna Lexus Freitas (senior, chemistry and psychology), Bac-Be-Gone focuses on MRSA, an antibiotic resistant superbug that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year in hospitals across the world. Awarded $5,000 by the judges, Bac-Be-Gone creates products that immediately eliminate MRSA on contact.
BizzyBox, created by Camillo Archuleta (MBA ’17), is a micro-franchise greeting card business model that empowers children while also teaching them financial literacy. Awarded $2,500 by the judges, BizzyBox teaches kids how to create value.
Kiefer Games, developed by Matthew Kiefer (junior, marketing) and awarded $2,500 by the judges, builds games that are easy to learn and focus on fun and unique gameplay mechanics. We believe challenge in games should come from your competitor, not from remembering the rules.
The Hult Prize winner, Ripe – pitched by Harsha Prakki (finance), Satish Pokuri (OIM, economics) and Alvin He (economics) – provides a chemically-activated sticker that monitors and provides users with insight on how climate change affects shelf life of produce. Consumers will not only be able to utilize often unnecessarily wasted food, but will also lead healthier lives and allow for lower greenhouse gas emissions through reducing waste.
Nutriply, developed by Minqi Wang (food science), uses patented technology to produce tasty functional beverages carrying absorbable nutrients commonly missing from plant-based diets. Earning the runner-up nod, Nutriply supports UN strategy of saving the world from hunger and climate change by adopting plant-based diets with enhanced nutrition.
Next up in the four-part Innovation Challenge series is The Semifinal, set for Wednesday, Feb. 26. This competition simulates the closed-door pitch process and teams will compete for a spot in The Final.
Judges:Seed Pitch: Gabrielle Gould (Amherst BID), Eric Rogers (TINC), Arjun Saraswat (EY); Hult Prize: Jim Geisman, Julian Lustig-Gonzalez (AuCoDe), Alaina Macaulay (Isenberg School of Management)
Up Next: Innovation Challenge: The Semifinal (Feb. 26)
Sponsors: EY, The Heiser Family, Norman “Bud” Robertson, Kumar Ganapathy, Jeff Glassman, Darn It!, John & Sally Burke, Joe Suyemoto, Jerry O'Connor, Valerie Post, Engel & Volkers, Boston, Larry Post ‘75, Post Hospitality Group