Four Student Teams Funded In November

December 1, 2017

JACT Engineering demoing their product.

JACT Engineering demoing their product.

On Thursday, November 30th, ten teams took center stage to pitch their startup business ideas. As part of the Startup Challenge, PitchRound serves as a culminating event where student teams showcase the work they’ve put in all semester long. Of the teams that pitched, four walked away with funding to further pursue their businesses.

Funded Teams:

CordCase: This cell phone case not only protects your phone but makes sure you are never without a charging cord again. The team comprised of Rohan Ayachit (BSME ‘21), Spencer George (BELM ‘22), Brandon Merluzzo (BSCO ‘21) and Sean Prendergast (BSEE ‘21) had an impressive presentation. The team will use their funding to create 36 prototypes by April 2018 so they can refine their design and get valuable market feedback. Amount Funded: $5,000

JACT Engineering: JACT Engineering has developed a photochromic film that instantly counters sun glare on windshields, improving driver safety and awareness. Anthony Amico (Gordon College ‘21), Christopher Boucher (BSME ‘21), Jason Cardinale (Everett HS ‘17) and Timothy Ewing (BCOS ‘21) delivered a pitch that included an impressive display of their product’s functionality on an actual car window. With the funding they will continue market research, get high quality chemical ingredients and apply for a provisional patent. Amount Funded: $7,000

Renaine: Renaine is a retro-inspired scrolling action game with a transparent development process fully open to community input and collaboration. The team of Maged Hamdy (BCOS ‘18) and Mason Lieberman (Berklee ‘15) delivered a passionate pitch that showed the judges the impact their game can have on the gaming community at large. With their funding they will continue to develop the game and increase the marketing around it. Amount Funded: $6,300

Tackled: Tackled is a sensor based data acquisition and storage device that detects location of impact on a football player’s head during gameplay. Michael Algieri (BELM ‘18), Kendra Norbaka (BBME ‘18), Sabrina Pasciuto (BELM ‘18) and Alison Siegmann’s (BELM ‘18) pitch included a mockup on a football helmet of different areas of the brain affected by constant impact. They will use their funding to develop a sensor prototype and continue researching. Amount Funded: $4,500

The panel of judges for this event included:

  • Siobhan Dullea: Chief Operating Officer, Mass Challenge
  • Rick Hutton: Director of Customer Success, ClickSoftware
  • Ramon Salinas: Senior Business Strategist, Continuum
  • Ben Sampson: Director, GE Ventures
  • Michael Sattler: Co-Founder and President, Splitzee

Accelerate was fortunate to have such incredible mentors sit on the judging panel this semester. They asked tough questions of the teams and did an amazing job evaluating their progress and determining who should receive funding. The majority of the teams pitching this semester were brand new to the Startup Challenge process. Having one PitchRound under their belt, and with the feedback from this esteemed panel, these teams will continue to iterate on and grow their startup business ideas in the semesters to come.

The judges and Wentworth’s Associate VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Monique Fuchs, had a specific message for teams who were not funded. They were encouraged to not give up, reminded this is part of an overall greater process and challenged to keep pushing, keep iterating and keep innovating. The Startup Challenge exists so student teams can learn how to carry an idea from concept to reality. The learnings these teams experienced along the way will impact their future thinking for years to come. 

Ben Sampson put it best when he said, "The skills you are fostering and enabling are so useful and innovation and entrepreneurship will continue to be fundamental to success in the future.” 

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