RIT48 contest searches for the next big app idea

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Lack of sleep isn’t a problem for student entrepreneurs at Rochester Institute of Technology who will create a business plan, produce a prototype and launch a Web or mobile startup in just 48 hours flat.

RIT48 returns to campus this weekend from Nov. 7 to 9—and there will be plenty of coffee available to keep the more than 40 students awake as they compete for nearly $6,000 in prize money. Students begin their final pitches to a panel of judges at 1 p.m. Sunday, with awards following in RIT’s Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Student Innovation Hall.

Multidisciplinary teams—spanning expertise in programming, engineering, design and business—will create and design Web-based applications that provide a new service or leverage an existing business opportunity.

John Robinson, fourth-year accounting major in RIT’s Saunders College of Business, is organizing the RIT48 logistics—a student-run event created in 2009 by Ian Mikutel and Greg Koberger, former students and graduates of RIT.

“RIT48 is one of the many ways in which RIT supports a mindset of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus,” said Robinson. “As a past participant, it was a blast to plan out a business and receive feedback from some of Rochester’s most prominent business people.

“This year it is being co-hosted by one of RIT’s leading student startups and an internationally recognized business fraternity, Skyvo LLC and Delta Sigma Pi, respectively. Both of these two groups have worked wonderfully together to ensure this year’s RIT48 is the best version yet.”

Winners will be selected based on evaluations from a panel of experts. Judges include Eric Loyd, founder and chief executive officer at Bitnetix; Peter Bruu, partner and chief operating officer at IV4 Inc., and Richard Notargiacomo, director of New Ventures and Commercialization at RIT’s Venture Creations Incubator and adjunct professor in Saunders College.

Austin McChord ’09 (bioinformatics), CEO of Datto Inc., is a sponsor for the event, along with RIT sponsors that include Saunders College of Business, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Technology, Kate Gleason College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts.