Meet the BizPitch Finalists

Dora Kreitzer, Assistant News Editor

The University’s BizPitch annual startup business competition, with up to $7,000 in prize money up for grabs, will be back in person on April 12. 

Sponsored by the University’s Small Business Development Center, five competitors will pitch their products this Tuesday: Maya Brown ’22 with College Buddy, Samantha Sloan ’22 with Frost X Glass, Olivia DeNicola ’22 with Crunch, Cuong Nguyen ’23 with AUGART and Alana Bortman ’22 with HopShop. 

College Buddy

Maya Brown will be pitching College Buddy, a mobile app that provides meal recommendations in college towns based on individual students’ health goals.

“Last semester, I had the honor of taking Entrepreneurship with Professor William Meek and in that class is where I bore College Buddy,” Brown said. “As an assignment, he invited us to write daily idea journals where we created business solutions to our real life problems. The problem I saw confronting myself and others was balancing a healthy lifestyle while dealing with the hardships of school and work.”

“College Buddy would be a support system for students functioning as a mobile application that would provide balanced meal recommendations based on the student’s surroundings, from dining halls to local grocery stores, all within the student’s budget. It would also provide tips on healthy eating along with workout regimens to help students face head on issues surrounding body image and food insecurity,” Brown said.

Frost X Glass: Don’t let the frost cloud your vision

Frost X Glass, pitched by Samantha Sloan, is a polymer coating for car windows so they do not frost when it gets cold, that she conceptualized after her entrepreneurship class was asked to come up with a list of 50 annoying things and pick a few that they were most passionate about to begin to develop solutions for.

“I like to combine my problem solving skills and creativity to help solve everyday problems. I thought of Frost X Glass because after being a car owner in the Northeast I was annoyed by all the time I was spending defrosting my car,” Sloan said.

“Frost X Glass is a really interesting concept and it has the potential to accumulate many consumers. I am so excited to be competing in Biz Pitch and I am really looking forward to the competition next Tuesday. Of course I am a little nervous, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to help propel Frost X Glass forward,” Sloan said.

Crunch: Your perfect job is just a swipe away

Olivia DeNicola’s Crunch is an application that basically serves as a dating app but for job applications, inspired by her experience with job applications.

“I found the process incredibly exhausting, time-consuming and frustrating; from having to create individualized cover letters to retyping the same basic information on each job portal — I knew there had to be an easier way,” DeNicola said.

“Crunch makes applying to jobs fun; much like prompts you fill out on a dating app about your interests and personality, my application provides those as well within your profile so the companies get to know a little bit more about you, and individuals can showcase more about whether or not they’d be a culture fit at that company,” DeNicola said.

“I’ve always been very entrepreneurial, starting my first business in sixth grade,” DeNicola said. “Therefore, getting that very real shark-tank-like experience is so exciting to me — I’ve been watching the show forever. I believe even witnessing that experience for your peers presenting is very valuable…it’s also inspiring to see all the creative things my competitors have come up with, so come on April 12th to see all the hard work we’ve all put into this competition!,” DeNicola said.

AUGART

Cuong Nyguen came up with the concept for AUGART, an app-based platform for 3D artists to turn their works into AR experiences, after taking a digital sculpture class at the University.

“Throughout the semester I had created a lot of fun and interesting 3D designs that I was very proud of. However at the end my works were only displayed as 2D captures on the class website. I want my works to be experienced in the most intuitive and interactive way possible, and I know that classmates would want the same,” Nyguen said. 

“I’m just happy and grateful to be in the finals. I will try to keep that energy and bring it to the competition next week,” Nyguen said. “Augart uses the technology of the future, and trust me you would not want to miss this one and only pitch.”

HopShop: See where “ Closet Tourism” can take you

HopShop is a peer-to-peer platform for renting and swapping clothes in a sustainable, accessible and enjoyable way, pitched by Alana Bortman. 

“I began working on HopShop when I struggled finding appropriate business attire in my closet to wear to my first professional program,” Bortman said. “It was very difficult to find what I needed, especially when you’re far away from stores or don’t have a car and can’t go out and buy it. I figured there has to be an easier way to do this, so the idea kind of fulfills that. You don’t have to turn to more affordable but fast fashion alternatives to get the items that you need.  It’s really helping clothing pieces be more accessible, affordable and sustainable,” Bortman said.

“With interests in fashion and sustainability, HopShop has been an exciting project for myself, and one that I am looking forward to grow!” Bortman said in a statement for the BizPitch Instagram.

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