Five teams of student entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas and won a total of $4,750 in cash prizes at Tiger Tank at Rochester Institute of Technology. The top three winning teams also earned scholarships to attend graduate studies at Saunders College of Business.
Modeled after ABC-TV’s Shark Tank, the Tiger Tank competition was hosted by the Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
More than 40 teams of students applied, but only five made it to the final round. Their job was to convince Rochester-area investors to part with their hard-earned advice and give participants a thumbs-up to launch their own businesses or products.
Team LiftForce’s proposal, which is a motion-capture device and software that analyzes the movements of weightlifters and provides direct, real-time feedback on performance, earned first place and $2,000, and a full scholarship to pursue graduate studies at Saunders College. Team members from RIT are Evan Oslakovich, third-year mechanical engineering student from Lockport, Ill.; Jared Simonelli, third-year game design and development student from Avon, Conn.; Anthony Vullo, a second-year mechanical engineering technology major from North Chili, N.Y.; and Ian Young, a finance and economics alumnus from Henderson, N.Y.
Taking second place was Breezyon, produced by Easylife Product LLC, a face protective device and a scarf accessory using the same concept of technology in surgical masks worn by doctors. Team member Anthony Garcia, a freshman in biomedical engineering from Riverside, Calif., earned $1,250 to further his product. Third place was SmartTubes, a sustainable energy/recycling product/service to use in sound systems and high-power radio base stations. Team member Steven Wardell, an RIT graduate student in computer science from Spencerport, N.Y., earned $750 to continue his product development.
According to Richard DeMartino, endowed chair and director of the Simone Center, the proposals are judged on their uniqueness, feasibility and ability to impact people. “The RIT Tiger Tank focuses on students’ early stage ideas, unlike Shark Tank where people pitch more mature ideas,” DeMartino explained. “This event is a way of building an entrepreneurial innovation spirit, but also helps us find ideas out there that we never knew existed.”
Judges for Tiger Tank were: K. Bradley Paxton, chairman and co-founder of ADI LLC; Dennis DeLeo, founding partner of Trillium Group; and Cindy Cooper, entrepreneur.
For more information, go to http://www.rit.edu/research/simonecenter/ or contact Rupa Thind at 585-475-7487.