November 14, 2013

Accelerate Hosts 4th Pitchfest Event

Mike McKeon (BMET) and Chandlyr Jackson (BIND) of the Kold Kup team

A semester’s worth of brainstorming, planning, strategizing, and designing came down to Pitchfest, where interdisciplinary teams participating in the Accelerate Startup Challenge pitched their projects to a group of alumni, mentors, and representatives of Boston’s innovation ecosystem. The event took place the evening of November 14 in Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center.

Alpha Industries (Josh Willis, BSE; Greg Frasco; Ryan Cataldo, BSME; Rae Rice; and Caleb Jackson, BEME) was the most funded team of the evening, awarded $8,000 from the judges’ panel.

Also receiving gap funding to move their early stage ideas to the next level were Aqua Lung (Peter Buckus, BSE; Tyler Castle, BSE) at $2,000, Modular Branch System (Ron Chau, BMET; Rodney Chery, BIND; Robertha Perez, BMET; and Derek Wong, BSCE/BSAM) at $2,000, and Gnar Guard (Scott Venti, BIND; Ian Gagnon, BSE) at $1,000.

Other teams not receiving funding, but recognized by the panel, included ImpactAlert (Alex Schwarzkopf, Electromechanical Engineering; Dylan Powers, Electromechanical Engineering; and Mathew Joyal, Electromechanical Engineering), for product innovation and commercialization potential, as well as Resistance (Scott Bonney, Electromechanical Engineering; Brandon Dryer, Electromechanical Engineering; and Kimberly Silva, Industrial Design, for team cohesiveness and constellation.

Thursday’s Pitchfest was the fourth iteration of the event, which finds teams looking to secure funding in the hopes of making their ideas a reality. Fifty-three ideas were submitted at the beginning of the fall semester as part of the Startup Challenge before they were narrowed down. The 12 teams, which hail from various disciplines and and included first-year student teams, immersed themselves in boot camps, worked with mentors, and prepared their business plans over a ten-week period.

"The ideas put forth continue to showcase Wentworth's strength within product and technology innovations," said Monique Fuchs, associate vice president, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "Many of the teams demonstrated prototypes, which is quite remarkable at such an early stage."

Teams participating included:

  • Kold Kup (An attachment to a Keurig machine that takes the hot coffee and cools it down to ice coffee temperature)
  • Turtle Shell Book Cover (A reusable ridge sock for softcover textbooks)
  • Gnar Guard (An innovative ski racing chin guard that reinvents the way guards are affixed to helmets)
  • Beat Bouncer (A product designed to help boost the volume on any iPhone)
  • Alpha Industries (An initiative to improve both the efficiency and ease of cargo and passenger flight, opening new markets and methods for nearly every industry imaginable)
  • Resistance (An electric bike company delivering a solution to urban communities)
  • C-Twist (A device that rids tinfoil lids on small containers with a simple twist)
  • Modular Branch System (An initiative focused on reducing complications relating to fluid occlusions in medical lines such as intravenous lines and feeding tubes)
  • Aqua Lung (A product that provides anyone the ability to breath underwater without the need for a compressor, classes, or scuba equipment)
  • KDI (Conversion kits that transform your normal bike into a downhill ski bike)
  • ImpactAlert (A system that can detect sports-related concussions and notify coaches or personnel with real-time monitoring)
  • Eulalia (A software product to prevent cyberbullying)

Five judges were on hand for the event including Jeffrey Altschuler, founder and CEO of Altronics Manufacturing; Bagley Ethan, principal innovation catalyst at Constant Contact; Rick Grundy, VP and director at AVTECH Software; Karen Reuther, creative director and brand specialist at Cast Collective; and Larry Blumsack, founder of Zoka Institute and Zoka Training.

“Our teams are makers and it is incredible to see how many of them came with prototypes at such an early stage pitch round,” said Fuchs.

Prior to the Nov. 14 event, 15 teams had been funded through Pitchfest for a total of $78,000. 

For further reading, see the article on BostInno.

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