Five teams of student entrepreneurs at Rochester Institute of Technology pitched their business ideas to a panel of Rochester-area investors during the semi-annual Tiger Tank competition held in November, and challenged each other for cash, scholarships and the opportunity to launch their products or businesses.
The top prize was awarded to the student team representing Omni-Temp, an app that regulates a vehicle’s temperature without running the engine. Omni-Temp is managed by Mark Batorski, a fifth-year electrical engineering student; Andrew Pfeil, a fifth-year electrical engineering student from Adams, N.Y.; and Evan Pace, a fourth-year finance student from Rochester, N.Y.
Omni-Temp is run by using a cell phone app that sets the vehicle to the desired temperature, notifying the user by text message. According to the team, benefits include reduced emissions and reduced wear on engine components. The system is also designed to sense an individual or pet in the vehicle, automatically activating the system to regulate the cabin to a habitable temperature and notifying the user.
The Omni-Temp team received a $2,000 cash prize and a scholarship to attend one of the graduate programs in RIT’s Saunders College of Business.
The other finalists for the competition, hosted by the Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, were:
Teams were required to present to the judges the problem the venture or business seeks to solve or gap in the marketplace it seeks to fill, a description of the target market, what value the venture would add to lives and potential challenges to delivering the product or service. Proposals were evaluated based upon their uniqueness, feasibility and the ability to impact people.
“The RIT Tiger Tank focuses on students’ early-stage products or services with foreseeable commercial impact,” said Anthony Testa, a faculty mentor and coach in the Simone Center. “We want our students to submit products that are unique, fill a gap or solve a problem. We also ask them to identify their target market and what value their product will bring to their lives. The creativity and innovation of our students, along with their entrepreneurial spirit that has become such an important part of RIT’s culture, is awe inspiring. This event is a way of emphasizing that spirit, and also helps us find cutting-edge ideas.”