By Stephanie Crepeau March 27, 2017
BOSTON, MA – The true value of a Wentworth education was on display Wednesday March 22nd as 35 students across over a dozen majors, making up 10 different teams, pitched their hearts out at the annual PitchRound hosted by Accelerate.
The teams represented at least four months each of idea development, prototype iteration, and more which all took place outside of normal class time. There were a few veteran teams like VariMold, and OCC Youth Unleashed, who returned to pitch their idea for additional funding for a third and second time respectively.
Judges for the night included several notable figures in the Greater Boston community: Lynne Riquelme, Head of Customer Success at Shoobx and Director of Community Engagement at SheStarts; Jerry Casey, life science industry leader, and Wentworth Institute of Technology Trustee; Jesse Camerato, President at JBM Properties, and Wentworth Construction Management Alumni; Martin Streeter, co-founder at streetStat, and Volunteer Judge and Mentor at MassChallenge.
Anyone in the great crowd of attendants surely wasn’t disappointed, as the variation of ideas ranged from a new accessory to enhance a VR experience, an affordable way to motorize a skate or long board, to a service which streamlines registration and data management for both parents and camp directors. Plus, teams showed real moxie with their pitches; getting audiences and judges captivated through humor, passion, and heartrending stories of the origin and purposes of their products or services.
Seriously, what better way to illustrate the importance of cleaning and sanitizing mobile devices than wearing a toilet seat on your head as, Luis Romero (BCOS ’19), did?
And how better to understand the importance of youth centers including the need to increase youth engagement with them, than sharing a personal story of the result of random acts of violence. Remembering a deceased friend in their pitch, OCC Youth Unleashed team members shared their vision for an app to help create more opportunities for youth productivity and decrease community violence.
After all the pitches were said and done, one thing was clear to the judges- deliberation and deciding on which teams to grant funding to was going to be tough that night. However, that’s not all the judges noted were tough; they also recognized the few female team members who participated in PitchRound. According to Lynne Riquelme she emphasized the pride judges had to see “women of different disciplines represented doing work in computer science building software, mechanical engineering, and business management”. Out of the 35 students on the teams, three were women.
In the end, six teams were selected to receive grant funding:
Moonwalks – $8,000
Connor Boris (BELM ’17), Luc Lapenta (BELM ’17), Sean O’Keefe (BELM ’17)
Enhances the virtual reality experience with a multi-dimensional footwear using displacement compensation.
VariMold – $6,000
Maarouf Barry (BSBM ’19), CJ Favazza (BSME ’19) Christopher Birch (BSME ’18) Christopher Brolly (Applied Mathematics ’20) Julio Figueroa (BSEE ’20)
A modular concrete casting machine producing complex shapes and curves in the construction industry and beyond.
OCC Youth Unleashed – $3,500
Kyle Colon (West Roxbury HS ’17), Paul Joseph (UMass Amherst ’20), Devante Mathurin (Bunker Hill CC ‘19), Christopher Michel (BCOS ‘16) Robert Jr. Simon (UMass Darmouth’20)
A multi-purpose mobile application recruiting, engaging and retaining youth in community centers Boston.
Arrowood – $2,500
Ethan Arrowood (BCOS ’20), Sophia Seltenreich (BSM ’20)
A web and cloud-based registration software aim to simplify the currently overwhelming camp registration and management routine.
VEELA – $5,000
Jack Connolly (BSME ’20), Jacques Mararis (BSA ’20), Alyssa Vallese (Electro Mechanical ’21)
Introducing a 5th wheel motor accessory to operate any skateboard.
College Scheduler Builder – $5,000
A mobile and desktop based application producing multiple class schedules to meet individual student needs.
Luis J Bechara Romero (BCOS ’19) Ana Salas (BSCO ’19)
A mobile, tablet and laptop surface cleaning solution using a UV-LED light operated device.
Tim Cheng (BSM ’20) Corey Pierce (BCOS ’29) Chuanhsi Chang (BSME ’19)
Yu Fan Tiu (BSME ’18) Abdullah Altamimi (BSM’19)
A protective Mil-Spec phone case Providing well built phone case sustainable for military and public use.
Leland Alexander (BCM ‘17), Bilal Durrani (BSEE ’17)
A dissolvable capsule activated in clothing to resolve antitheft problems in retail industry.
Pala Learning System
Quinn Morrisette (BIND ’18), Dylan Poirier (BELM ’19),
An online learning platform consolidating information for users to create their own learning path.