The top winners at the Entrepreneurship Club's TigerLaunch Competition were FireStop, a mobile application for firefighters, and SignSchool, an online learning platform for American Sign Language.The final two rounds of the month-long competition took place this weekend.
The annual competition began with 80 teams that belonged to either the Entrepreneurship track, which includes for-profit proposals, or the Social Entrepreneurship track for mostly nonprofit proposals.
In the first round of competition, teams submitted a proposal for their startup idea. After first-round judging, the top 10 Entrepreneurial track and top 14 Social Entrepreneurship track teams worked with mentors to refine their ideas. The second round took place on Friday when the teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges. In the final round on Saturday, the top five teams of each track pitched their ideas to judges and a live audience.
The winners of the Howard Cox ’64 Entrepreneurial Prizes received $20,000, $7,000 and $3,000 for first, second and third place, respectively. The winners of the Social Entrepreneurship track received $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000.
The first-place FireStop team included Darshan Desai '16, Charlie Jacobson '16, Jeff Silverstein '16 and Eddie Zhou '16.
For the Social Entrepreneurship track, the first-placeSignSchool team was made up of Evan Corden '16, Jack Hudson '16, Liam Hudson, Delaney Granizo-Mackenzie '14 and Colin Lualdi '17.
Shompa Choudhury ’15, the Director of Competition for the Entrepreneurship Club, said that this competition hopes to inspire entrepreneurship on campus.
“TigerLaunch was first conceived as a business plan competition,” Choudhury said, “but it has really evolved into a competition geared towards more developed startup plans and startup companies with a special focus on the product or the services they are delivering. “
Jacobson, a member of FireStop, said that his company started out of personal experience.
“I’ve been a firefighter for the past four years. Every day running to calls and fire emergencies I realized that there was a whole wide array of information that departments and firefighters need to know when they’re at an emergency and there was no quality solution to provide them mobilely,” Jacobson said. “That’s what inspired us to create this web mobile, cloud based platform for fire fighters to have access to important information…. We are launching on Tuesday.”
Corden, a member of the SignSchool team, also stated that his team's idea was based off personal experience. He said that the idea came when he and others met Lualdi, a deaf member of his team.
"He lives in our dorm. We met him, wanted to talk to him. I guess that's the way startup relations should start, is that we encountered our own problem and were extremely motivated to fix that problem … Our product is an online video learning platform for American Sign Language," Corden said. “It’s organized in a modular structure so depending on your relationship to the deaf community you pick that module."
Corden said that SignSchool plans to launch at the end of August.
Rishi Narang ’15, co-president of the E-Club, said that he believes TigerLaunch is the E-Club's cornerstone event.
“We believe that this is the program that helps students take their startup to the next level,” he said. “If everything we do is to get students to get involved in startups, this is the one to inspire students to keep working on their passions.”
CryptoCard by Radiant Enterprises LLC, created by Nader Al-Naji '13, Lawrence Diao '14, Joe Goss '14 and Eric Rehe '14, won second place in the Entrepreneurship track. DreamFigures, created by Bradley Pelisek '14 and Shane Molidor '14 won third place.
Music is Medicine, created by Leora Friedman '14, Victor Hsiao '15, Juliette Levine '15 and Hope Lorah '17, won second place in the Social Entrepreneurship track. mShiksha won third place and was created by Vaasvi Goyal '16 and Kasturi Shah '16.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the name of the company mShiksha. The 'Prince' regrets the error. Due a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misquoted portions of statements given by Charlie Jacobson '16. Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly indicated the number of teams that passed on to the second round Social Entrepreneurship track.