Six student teams competed for $8,500 in prize money Dec. 7 at Quinnipiac University’s Launchpad Competition. The business pitch contest, similar to the hit television show, “Shark Tank,” and co-sponsored by the schools of business and communications, showcased student finalists from this fall’s digital business/entrepreneurial media course.
The team of Omari Battle of Boston, Massachusetts, Quinn Dallai of North Haven and George Hart of Brielle, New Jersey, won the $3,000 top prize for “Hylite NFT,” a NFT company that sells collectible digital cards featuring players, performers and events in the sports and entertainment industries. The company allows customers to obtain rare digital assets that are verified to be unique by a blockchain system.
“On behalf of our team, winning this competition is an absolute honor,” said Dallai, a junior entrepreneurship major in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree business program. “We worked vigorously for weeks to prepare our pitch and learn about the new NFT industry. It was so satisfying to see our project come to life from just an idea to a business that we are really launching.”
Battle, an advertising and integrated communications major, agreed.
“We will use our funding to both expand and strengthen our team,” he said. “It will also allow us to market our products effectively on different social media platforms.”
The second-place prize of $2,000 went to Jess Halley of Glasgow, Scotland, and Tess Rose of Westerly, Rhode Island, for “CampusCars,” which would feature fully electric vehicles available as rentals to students during the day and as a ride-sharing service at night. The business model offers safety, sustainability and a student employment opportunity that works around a busy academic schedule.
“This recognition has inspired us to move forward next semester with further developing CampusCars,” said Rose, a junior applied business major in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree program.
Halley, an entrepreneurship major in the School of Business, agreed.
“We have worked very hard over the course of 14 weeks to make this great idea a solid business plan,” she said. “We plan to use this prize money to start the process of CampusCars’ launch, such as incorporating the business into an LLC and developing an app.”
Rounding out the top six teams were Will George of Lee, New Hampshire, and Lachie Harvey of Auckland, New Zealand, for “Clarify,” an app to help international students apply to U.S. universities ($1,000); Kevin Carbonneau of Charlton, Massachusetts, and Tomas Rodina of Wingdale, New York, for “Approaching Me,” an anime-themed clothing line ($500); Jess Ferraiolo of Orange and Sam Lachance of Wells, Maine, for “Baked by Jess,” which is similar to HelloFresh and provides dry mixes for desserts, including versions designed for people who want to infuse them with CBD or THC ($500); and Tahiya Bade of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Shavonne Chin of Monroe, New York, for “Itopia, an app that allows groups to create a customized itinerary that meets each person’s interests and needs.” ($250).
Audience Favorite prizes of $250 went to “Baked by Jess,” “CampusCars,” Kallie Purdue of La Mesa, California, for “Refashion,” which provides tutorial and marketing services for environmentally focused clothing companies, and Allessia Scaturchio of Wilton for “Bomboniera, which offers customized party favors and flower rentals.”
Scaturchio also earned the 11th Hour Prize of $250 for up-and-coming ideas.