As the entrepreneurial community at NC State grows each year in size and ambition, it's grabbing more attention from nearly every population on campus.
And all those groups—from alumni startups to student clubs to faculty and curious passersby—came together last week for the first-ever Entrepalooza
innovation and entrepreneurship festival at the Oval on Centennial Campus.
Popular participants in the celebration were the Social Entrepreneurship Club and Poole College of Management along with emerging startups like Kind, a healthy snack brand looking to spread a kindness movement while selling nutritious treats, and Bee Downtown, a nonprofit trying to create and sell rooftop and storefront hives in cities to help the bee population.
But the main attraction was a “Minute to Win It Pitch” event, in which 15 students were given a minute each to pitch an idea for a company. A prize of $1000 awaited the winner, who was chosen based on crowd support. Here's a sampling of the ideas presented:
Mini Sunscreen Bottles
"Location means everything" is a commonly used quote in real estate development, but apparently also for sunbathing. This new nonprofit would install solar powered vending machines full of single-use sunscreen packs along beaches.
This entrepreneur wants to develop a platform for doctors and medical practices to safely and securely send and transfer patient information of unlimited file sizes online. (Which sounds a lot like the Durham startup ELXR Health.)
Boost Our Team
B.O.T is a crowdfunding platform exclusively for sports teams. Funds are donated based on team performance or scores. For example, a donor could pledge a dollar per touchdown for his or her favorite football team.
Share Fish will provide real time updates on the best places to be in a city or region. The app allows users to anonymously vote on the best places to be on any given night. (Sort of like Raleigh-based Offline Media?)
Many items built out of composite materials are expensive and cannot be recycled. The solution, according to this student, lies in an underutilized plant in the Middle East, from which high quality and structurally-sound components can be made naturally.
The startup offers discounted phone repairs for students by students. The Repair You team comes to clients at their convenience, with all repairs complete in an hour and at prices 20/30% lower than standard repair shops.
Human element robotics
The team of four is looking to develop a lower body exoskeleton to help those in industries where manual labor is a daily occurrence. They believe their exoskeleton could become a suit that will help to make normal people super.
This startup has already built an Android app that allows users to access apps like Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia and Maps along with stock data and news without any data or wifi access.
A simple longboard, now electrically-powered, can travel up to 35mph-55mph depending on the gear settings chosen. It can be charged in less than one hour. Prices start at around $1200.
Primp Life Plan
In order to empower women from all walks of life, this student developed a curriculum for bolstering confidence in women. The book is meant to serve as a guide/workbook.
With the use of a physical board, this student has developed an automated way to play a chess game against a computer. The board even allows two people to play a game of chess across the world.
The Inventive Artist
The Inventive Artist gives painters a customizable aesthetic experience through high quality brush handles and interchangeable brush tips.
As the team after team got on stage, two things became clear—that the top students either knew their pitches well or had a whole crowd of supporters cheering for their ideas despite the viability or presentation quality.
Although I had my favorites, most of those had little crowd support. So it came as no surprise after the five-minute voting period when the judges named crowd favorite Oliver Walsh of Share Fish the winner. As he accepted the prize, Walsh said he'd use the money to complete development of the app and roll it out first at NC State.
Though events like these are more fun than clear indicators of startup success, they give great insight into the bright minds on campus and the talent soon to enter our broader Triangle startup community.