Tiger Tank results in cash winnings for teams

Monday, October 27, 2014


Five teams of student entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas and won a total of $4,750 in cash prizes at Tiger Tank, an RIT program modeled on ABC-TV’s Shark Tank. Tiger Tank, sponsored by Saunders College of Business and hosted by the Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was a featured event at last week’s 11th annual RIT Entrepreneurs Conference.

More than 50 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 Antumbra’s proposal, Glow, which is designed to enhance computing experience through dynamic backlighting that complements screen content, earned first place and $2,000. Team members are second-year software engineering student Adam Walsh from Wellesley, Ma., and first-year software engineering student Nicholas Peretti from Wellesley Hills, Ma.

According to Richard DeMartino, endowed chair and director of the Simone Center and associate professor in Saunders, 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.”

Taking second place was Hog Wild Entertainment’s Hog Wild Jam Box that interprets frequency and amplitude of sound to determine rhythm and tempo for generating instrumental tracks to accompany the musician. Team members Kevin Voellmer, a fifth-year student in information security and forensics from Tacoma Park, Md., and Nicholas Jacobs, a fifth-year student in electrical engineering from Baldwinsville, N.Y., earned $1,250 to further develop their product.

Judges for Tiger Tank were: Tim Talley, CEO of U-Lace LLC (who received an $200,000 investment from billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank last spring)—and four Saunders College alumni: Mary Murphy ’03 (business administration), president of Brick Road LLC; Mark Lucas ’99 (management), executive VP of Entre Computer Services; Scott Valpey ’03 (management), managing director of Valpey Brothers LLC, and Marco DiPasquale ’93 (finance), director of sales at ISEC Partners.