Seven teams move to the Summer Accelerator program
Last week, 11 teams of young entrepreneurs entered the selection round of the Louis H. Stumberg New Venture Competition with nothing but a pitch and a lot of hard work. The goal? To earn $5,000 to invest in growing their business.
On March 24, the students gave five-minute presentations to a panel of five judges. The judges then asked the students questions about their respective startups. The students have been working on the startups for several months, creating and growing their businesses.
“The structure of the competition was ideal for receiving feedback on our device, business model and pitch. Everyone in the Entrepreneurship department was friendly and eager to help us create a stimulating environment for our start-up,” said said AJ Bishop, senior finance major and co-founder of Range Regenerator.
In this round, seven of the original 11 teams were selected to advance to the competition. Of the original eleven teams – Brainwave, Overcome, Ulmer, Baby To Go, FARO, Pacific Debate Institute, Range Regenerator, Recap, Safelet, and Skeleton – the final seven have moved on.
Eliminated teams received a check for $1,000 to encourage them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The seven groups that moved received $5,000 and a chance to improve their business over the summer through the Summer Accelerator program. The Summer Accelerator allows students to stay on campus for 10 weeks, where they can receive guidance from Trinity faculty to improve their businesses.
The first team to pass is Baby To Go, made up of first years Anusha Sharma, Ivanna Bass Caldera and Sam Carr, who have launched a stroller that can be converted into a backpack for parent convenience. Ivanna Bass Caldera is a journalist at the Trinitonian.
Another team making progress is Range Regenerator, led by Bishop and Neha Kapur.
“The Range Regenerator is a patented shoulder rehabilitation device that helps patients gain range of motion and strength after suffering rotator cuff tears and injuries,” explained Kapur, a specialist in the business and technology analysis.
Recap, run by sophomores Joey Hersch, Ashwin Ramesh, Alex Garcia, Max Hightower, and John Hawes, is an app focused on saving money. Ramesh, a neuroscientist, commented on how the app works.
“We give the user leeway in their budget by providing them with a shopping list that has the ability to use a combination of price comparison and coupon matching to make their overall price as low as possible,” Ramesh said. “So the next step is to help the user change their spending and budgeting habits by applying AI to their data to provide personalized advice.”
Safelet is a bracelet for kids that tracks their location to keep them safe. It is led by first years Clara Smartt and Ellie Curran. Another team is the Pacific Debate Institute (PDI), led by freshman Nelson Rose. PDI offers a debate program that pairs American debate instructors with students in China.
“As a freshman in this competition, I never expected to win, especially to run my business on my own. […] But I was super surprised when I found out I won, so I was very pleasantly surprised,” Rose said.
Juniors Gabriel Ogden, Alfonso Kamel, Paul Kim and Lucas Riley, members of Skeleton, presented two products. The first product was called the Beat Band, which allows musicians to practice through the synchronization of beats. It is an alternative to using a metronome which relies on vibrations. The Warning Light Mount System, their second launch, is a drone that replaces warning lights on towers.
The final team is FARO, which presented a project-based program for primary school students. The members are junior Shelby Atherton and seniors Maria Zaharatos and Rachel Poovathoor.
“Our mission is to empower young people through project-based learning focused on global issues, inspiring them to think globally and act locally, starting with the global issue of environmental sustainability,” said Zaharatos , double major in political science and international studies.
In the fall of 2023, the teams will compete one last time for $25,000. Already, the teams have done an incredible job.
“I think the bottom line is, honestly, it’s really worth doing and it’s super, super rewarding, but you have to love what you’re doing. And you have to be committed to it. Be excited to about it,” Hersch said. “There are times when it’s slow and strenuous and there are so many things that are better to do. But you have to keep working, keep working, keep working.